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Jovanna Figueroa

Phoenix, AZ – Jovanna Figueroa grew up in South Phoenix, and is now a student at Arizona State University, well on her to becoming a veterinarian.

Jovanna explains, “Initially, I wanted to be a secondary education teacher in biology. But after starting at ASU, I fell in love with biology and also started volunteering at a pet shelter that’s close to campus. I just completely fell in love with these amazing animals and decided to combine it with my love for biology, and become a veterinarian.”

Jovanna, age 20, was born in Phoenix and graduated from Metro Tech High School. She’s currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences at ASU.

Jovanna explains that growing up in South Phoenix comes with some negative expectations:

“Being Mexican American from South Phoenix, and female – a lot of people don’t expect you to go to college or to even graduate from high school. But, I was very lucky to have teachers that helped me, and believed in me, and helped me apply to go to college.”

So far as her long-term veterinary career, Jovanna says at some point she hopes to specialize, “I’m not sure yet if I want to pursue being a veterinarian in terms of wildlife and wild animals, or if I want to stick more with domestic animals. At some point, I do want to be a traveling vet and care for under-served populations of animals around the world.”

Jovanna is among the 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 also receive specialized mentoring services from “Success Advisers,” (mentors) who help guide them through academic and personal challenges.

Jovanna says the scholarship has been a great help in multiple ways, “It’s helped me immensely – my expected family contribution is zero. And it’s just not about the financial aspect, but the fact that they’re willing to give us an educational adviser that is helping us get through college is very encouraging, and I really appreciate it. My educational adviser (Barbra Scrivner) helped me put together my resume, and cover letter. for the internship that I got for this semester.”

Jovanna has some advice for middle and high school students considering college, “It’s never too early to apply for scholarships, and also to apply for as many scholarships as possible. I think that I applied to about ten scholarships and only got four or five. So, even if you don’t get them, don’t get discouraged, because there will be something out there for you.”

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