Francisco Fernandez

By: Troy Wilde

June 7, 2016

Phoenix, AZ – Francisco Fernandez is planning on working as an attorney for the government and then may take a shot at running for POTUS, “I’ve told a couple of people that I want to run for President and they laugh, because it seems unrealistic, but I know down the road I probably will, but I just don’t know when or how.”

Francisco is 21 and expects to graduate from Arizona State University (ASU) next year with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice. He’s currently studying for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and hopes to attend the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU.

Francisco says his long-term goals, which could be made easier from high political office, involve building educational nonprofits and working on improving public policy, “I want to be a prosecutor and hopefully work for the government for a couple of years but not too long, and then I want to do my own thing. After I build a (career) platform I just want to build a whole bunch of nonprofits and give back to the community. I want to create scholarship funds for students that are in the same boat that I was. I also want to help schools and give meals to people who don’t have meals.”

Francisco says he sees a possible political career as a means to help the most people.

He may have big goals, but Francisco says he also understands that a lot of hard work lay ahead, “I’m working at the ASU Downtown Campus as a student worker for the criminal justice advisers and I’m also doing my internship at the Superior Court for the summer. So I switch off one day at ASU and one day at the Superior Court, and I work eight till five. I just force myself to go to a coffee shop from six (pm) until ten (pm) to study almost every day. It’s really stressful but I really want to get into law school, so it’ll be worth it in the long run.”

Francisco was born in Mesa and graduated from McClintock High School in Tempe. He earned a scholarship from College Success Arizona which provides up to six-thousand dollars per year for educational expenses. Students also receive specialized mentoring services from “Success Advisers” who help them work through challenges at school and in their personal lives.

Francisco says his success adviser, Barbra Scrivner, is a good coach:

“She’s a really, really big help. Every time I meet up with her she reinforces my goals. Every now and then I’ll text her and just let her know what’s going on. If I feel that I’m stressed out she’ll just kind of bring me back down to earth and tell me that it’s going to be okay, and remind me that the sacrifices will pay off in the long run. So she’s extremely helpful.”

He adds that the scholarship has helped to limit student debt, “If everything goes well I will graduate without any debt. So I’m really, really thankful for that and that’s thanks to this program. If it weren’t for that scholarship I would probably be taking out loans.”

College can have a maturing effect on students and Francisco says he is no exception to that trend, “It’s matured me a lot. When I was in high school I worked at Taco Bell and QuikTrip. I was one of those really rude employees that was talking whenever – I thought it was cool to talk back to people. Once I entered ASU and I got my job as a student worker in the office, I got a reality check right away. So it’s really helped me out and I’ve learned that you have to carry yourself a certain way, at least in the academic world, because you never who’s looking.”

Francisco says one of his biggest ongoing challenges is his mother’s health, “She has always been sick and she’s actually scheduled to get surgery soon. It’s difficult because of the health insurance issues and my family doesn’t come from a strong income. In the back of my head I’m always thinking about my mom’s health issues and it doesn’t necessarily make me sad, it just motivates me to keep going.”

Meanwhile, middle and high school students considering college may benefit from Francisco’s advice, “I know that school isn’t for everybody but for those who school is for, you definitely have to push yourself because if you don’t you’re going to end up as a regular person, and I don’t think anybody wants to be remembered as a regular person.”

Francisco is the brother of former College Success Arizona Scholar, Lindsey Fernandez, now working in law enforcement with the Tempe Police Department.

Listen to the audio PodCast of Francisco’s entire interview

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