Nelly Arroyo

Glendale, AZ – Mexico City is where Nelly Arroyo was born and lived until age 4 when her family immigrated to the Phoenix area – and now, at age 19, she is well on her way to achieving her goal of becoming a paralegal.

Nelly explains, “I’m going to Glendale Community College to get an associate degree so that I can transfer to ASU, and eventually get a bachelor’s degree in Justice Studies, and then work as a corporate paralegal.”

Nelly adds that her interest in the Law is a fairly recent development, “I took a class last semester called ‘Civil Rights’ and I just really liked researching and reading the various court decisions that were part of the class. So, I found it interesting and want to learn more about the law.”

Nelly expects to transfer to Arizona State University and start classes in the Fall of 2018, and graduate in 2020. Nelly, the first person in her family to attend college, says getting a good education is critical to achieving her career goals:

“I know that there are some people that don’t need college to do what they want to do. But, for me to do what I want to do, I feel like l need a college degree.”

Nelly is among an elite group, those college students who maintain a perfect 4.0 Grade Point Average, “I work really hard and I just took a summer class, and I had to do a lot of studying and I had to make note cards and just go over everything, every single day – so that’s how I keep my four-point-oh.”

Nelly points out that her work ethic is inspired by family, “Just seeing my grandparents work really hard – my grandpa is 80 and he still wakes up every day and goes to work.”

Nelly is among the hundreds of high potential students from low income circumstances who have earned scholarships from College Success Arizona, which provide up to six-thousand dollars per year for educational expenses, “It has really helped me with buying the books that I need and the programs that I need for my classes. Some of the money from the scholarship that I’m getting right now and not using, I’m saving it for when I get to ASU, so that I can use it there.”

In addition to financial support, the scholarship also provides students with specialized mentoring services through a team of talented (and really cool) ‘Success Advisers.’ Nelly says her success adviser, Matt Sotelo, provides valuable guidance and encouragement, “I meet with Matt twice per semester and sometimes more if I need extra help, of if I have questions. He has helped me keep track of my goals and has motivated me in my classes, and has told be about different things that I should try in college.”

Meanwhile, Nelly has some advice for middle and highs school students considering their own college options and opportunities, “They should try really hard in high school and take classes that they think will benefit them and help prepare them for college. They should also consider doing a dual-enrollment and start applying for scholarships as soon as possible, so that they don’t have that much of a struggle when they get to college, when it comes to financial stuff.”

Many College Success Arizona students, including Nelly, give a lot of credit to college-readiness programs they experienced in high school for helping to ease their transition into higher education, “Being involved in programs like AVID and ‘Be a Leader’ when I was in high school provided me with a lot of advice on how to study for exams, and other things that I should do to prepare for college. So, for me, transitioning from high school to college wasn’t really that difficult.”

Beyond the books, Nelly is learning to play a popular musical instrument, “When I’m not busy I like to play guitar, and I’m actually learning how to play. I’ve been wanting to learn how to play guitar since I was little, but I just decided to buy one now, because it’s summer I want to take up a new hobby.”

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 circumstances, your tax-deductible contribution can be made through the “Donate” button on the top of this page.

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