Phoenix, AZ – Cyrstal Peralta is well on her way to becoming a landscape architect.
Crystal explains, “As of right now I’m thinking about working under a licensed landscape architect until I get my licensure after graduation. And then I plan on going back to school immediately after graduation for my master’s (degree) in architecture. That way I can be dually accredited and eventually open up my own firm.”
Crystal, age 20, graduated from Westview High School in Avondale. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape Architecture at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
Crystal says that architecture is a natural fit for her skill set, “I’ve always been very crafty – so, I wanted to go to college and find a job where I would come into the office and find something different every day, which is exactly what I got from the design program. So, I basically started out with architecture, and started working with landscaping and learned that I could become licensed with my undergrad. I then realized that I could double up with architecture and be able to do both, for the price of one – essentially.”
Crystal adds that she has long had a knack for constructing things, “I started a hand-made jewelry business during my sophomore year of high school. That kind of just blossomed into model making, which was just perfect for my major since I had to create little buildings with landscaping. Now, I started blogging with one of my best friends and we’ve started selling some stuff online, and in stores here in the Valley. So, I guess I’ve always gravitated towards things that are more hands on.”
Crystal is among the many hard working students who have earned a scholarship from College Success Arizona, which provides up to six-thousand dollars per year for educational expenses. Students, such as Crystal, also receive specialized mentoring services from Success Advisers, who help guide the scholars through academic, and sometimes personal challenges.
Crystal says the scholarship has given her peace of mind about money and provides a lot of support, “I’ve been able to attend ASU without having to worry about finances, which is amazing – and it’s one less thing to worry about. I have regular meetings with Barbra (Scrivner), my success adviser, where I check in and let her know where I stand academically, and also what I’m doing with life. It’s been great knowing that I can reach out in the event that I need some extra help.”
So far as challenges, Crystal says she could use more time:
“One of my biggest challenges is making good use of my time to get the most out of my experience, and knowing that I only have 24 hours in a day to take advantage of the all of the great opportunities that school offers.”
So far as role models, Crystal says watching her siblings prosper in college had a big influence on her, “Seeing my older sisters go to college and develop a life on their own was very encouraging, and helped inspire me to attend college. It was a great example and helped me understand that college was, and is, a positive path for me to take.”
Crystal says she considers college an investment in herself, “I know that what I’m doing here is going to set me up for life, and is definitely going to benefit me in the future.”
Crystal has some advice for middle and high school students considering college, “Just go for it! Start getting involved as early as you can, whether it be in a small club or making connections with your professors, or your teachers in high school. They have the networking skills that you may not have and in the event that you’re interested in a certain career field, and you want to know more about it, they’re going to help you out.”
Since 2005, College Success Arizona has worked with nearly 1,300 students, and provided more than 16 million dollars in scholarships and success services to help increase the college attainment rate in Arizona. If you would like to be part of the mission of providing educational opportunity to high potential students from low income backgrounds, your tax deductible contribution can be made through the “Donate” button on the top of this page.
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