Phoenix, AZ – Elizabeth Arevelo is working toward her career goal of becoming an occupational therapist, so that she can help people like her little brother who lives with autism.
“An occupational therapist can work with people with autism, schizophrenia, or they can work in clinics, schools, or in homes. Currently my brother has autism which is motivating me to become an occupational therapist. Right now I am my brother’s caregiver and provide him with habilitation services and respite services.”
Elizabeth was born in Ventura, California and lived in Mexico for five years before her family relocated to Phoenix. She is 19 and attending Estrella Mountain Community College, and plans on transferring to Grand Canyon University in Phoenix to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.
If the past is an indicator of the future, Elizabeth will likely get good grades after graduating from Dysart High School with a 4.0 Grade Point Average. “I graduated top ten in my class and it was a good experience for me. It definitely helped me gain scholarships to attend community college.”
She adds that the perfect GPA resulted from hard work, “I study a lot and ask for help when I don’t understand the work, and I always give a 110-percent effort on all of my assignments.”
Working hard is nothing new for Elizabeth who started school in Phoenix not speaking English, “Yeah, it was really difficult when I first came here, starting first grade and not knowing English. It took me about a year to learn the language and by second grade I already knew how to talk it, but I lacked fluency and grammar, so they would always make me take these tests and go to E.S.L. classes to improve. I’m also motivated and determined because my parents have sacrificed their life, and they don’t have an education. My parents know that knowledge gives you power, and they wanted to give me that.”
Elizabeth is among the many hard-working students receiving specialized mentoring services from College Success Arizona. Essentially, “Success Advisers” work with the young scholars, helping them overcome academic and personal challenges.
Elizabeth says her success adviser, Matt Sotelo, has been a big help, “Yes, he definitely helped me with my resume. It looks nice now. In middle and high school they didn’t teach me much about resumes, so he definitely helped me out there. Matt has also helped me get some scholarships and narrow down my classes. It’s actually helped me to know that I want to become an occupational therapist, which helps you finish school faster (knowing your educational goal).”
Elizabeth has some advice for middle and high school students considering college, “I think they should just definitely come to college and it will definitely be a good experience. At first, you may not know what you want to be but there are so many classes that can help you to develop new interests that you didn’t know you had.”