The generosity of Oberlin alumni and friends truly changes the lives of our students. Belle Espinal '16 is just one example. This is her story.
Financial challenges have been a constant in my life. Being chosen as a QuestBridge Scholar alleviated economic barriers I faced in pursuing an Oberlin education. Likewise, as a Bonner Scholar, I receive a stipend each semester while working as a tutor with America Counts. This helps me significantly, and I’m able to work with youths and share my knowledge of and ability to envision a new world.
As part of the Border Studies Program my sophomore year, I learned about migrant struggle in the southwest U.S. I worked with Corazon de Tucson, an organization committed to keeping mixed citizenship status families together. Tucson opened my eyes to the importance of ethnic studies in the lives of migrants and people of color in our country.
I was also profoundly impacted by my studies with Professor Gina Pérez. Thanks to her, I became a comparative American studies major and am committed to changing the K-12 public school curriculum in the U.S. to include ethnic studies. I hope to have the same kind of influence on the lives of my students as Professor Pérez has had on mine.
My goal in life is to empower students with a more diverse and inclusive history of people, legacies, and deeds, and to work continuously toward increasing opportunities for underrepresented peoples.
Gifts to Oberlin are allowing me to have these experiences and discover the path to my own future: making a difference in the lives of others. I know I am not alone in being grateful for the difference Oberlin has made in mine.
Photo by Tanya Rosen-Jones '97