Jennifer Luna is 22 and grew up in the Yuma area. She is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Nursing at Chamberlain College of Nursing in Phoenix. Jennifer’s lifelong desire to help others was only made stronger by the tragic loss of her mother and young nephew in a car accident last year.
She says there is nothing that prepared her for the biggest and shock and loss of her life:
“I saw my mother and three year old nephew three hours before the accident, and I never saw them again. It’s been the hardest – just not seeing them again, it’s been so hard.”
At the time of the tragedy, Jennifer was transitioning to the University of Arizona (UA) after completing her associate’s degree at Arizona Western College (AWC) in Yuma. She explains that Matthew Sotelo, her success adviser with College Success Arizona, helped to provide strength and encouragement, “I believe they (College Success Arizona) were the number one motivators through this transition. They stayed in touch and have not stopped communicating with me. Matt has been the biggest help, I feel so blessed.”
Jennifer took a semester off school and with assistance from College Success Arizona was able to maintain her scholarship, and continue her studies at Chamberlain College of Nursing. Jennifer adds that the loss of her mother and nephew has made nursing more of a passion than before the accident, “The doctors and nurses were so helpful after the accident which also injured one of my sisters. At some point I want to work in a hospital in Yuma and be able to help people in need, the way that my family was helped.”
Jennifer first learned of College Success Arizona in high school and went on to earn a scholarship which has helped to cover most of her tuition and educational expenses. From a young age Jennifer says her parents encouraged her to get an education, “My mother got her degree in accounting in Mexico and continued her education here in the U.S. My father didn’t go to college but always worked hard to support us, and always encouraged me to get a college degree.”
Jennifer’s story may prove inspirational to other young people facing challenges. She says getting an education can help to solve a lot of problems, “I’m thinking about getting a master’s degree and eventually a doctorate. Education can help us to overcome boundaries and make a major difference for the positive in life.”