Salvador Macias

A Focus on Public Service in Arizona

While in middle school, Salvador knew that most of his classmates were not taking the path to college. Born in Mexico, the first generation student watched as most of his middle school friends went to their designated high school, one without a track record for sending kids to postsecondary education.

Because of his experience with Barrett Summer Scholars, Salvador knew he needed to take a different path. “As a 13-, 14-year old kid, I was exposed to the sort of college classes I would take. I knew college was no longer this fantasyland. It was a tangible place where I knew I wanted to be.”

Instead of attending the neighborhood high school, Salvador decided to attend a different public school across town. “Even though it was farther away, I wanted a school with more advanced classes. I was enrolled in their International Baccalaureate program. I realized not only did I need to get an education, but I needed to develop my leadership skills.”

At his IB high school, Salvador served as president of both the sophomore and junior classes. As a senior, he was student body president. As he developed those leadership skills, Salvador also focused on his future.

“I didn’t want to get stuck, like a lot of my friends did,” he said. “I wanted to succeed. I wanted to have the right tools.”

As a College Success Arizona Scholar, Salvador earned two bachelor’s degrees from Arizona State University, one in political science and one in trans-border Chicano Latino Studies. He also minored in Spanish while being very active on campus.

Without College Success Arizona’s financial and emotional support, Salvador fears he may never have gone to college and if he had gone, he might not have had the help he often needed to navigate through the challenges he faced. “I would have tried to go to community college, but I would have gotten the idea I was a grown adult who needed to settle down. I would have given up on my dream. I know that sounds weird, but I know that is exactly what would have happened. They never let me give up, they never stopped reminding me of all I was capable of achieving.”

After graduating from ASU in 2013, Salvador served as a program coordinate for the AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute, a program that helped him while in high school. He enrolls in ASU Law School in the fall of 2014, with plans to focus on immigration law and public service.

College Success Arizona not only changed Salvador’s life, but it impacted his entire family. In 2014, his younger brother was named a Scholar. “It hasn’t just helped me, it has helped my entire family,” Salvador said.

“College Success Arizona opened an entire country to me. It opened an entire world,” Salvador said. “It is the best type of scholarship you could ever get. It goes beyond the money.  It stays with you. It makes sure you succeed.”

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