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Yocasta Moreno

Tucson, AZ – Yocasta Moreno has a goal of starting her own jewelry business after graduating from the University of Arizona. She’s 22 and already owns a home.

Yocasta says, “As a career I want to be an entrepreneur. I am a big fan of everyday accessories like necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets. Essentially, I want to make my own (product) line and I don’t want to be working for anyone else. I want to start fresh with my own ideas and put that out there for customers and for everybody to see.”

The aspiring entrepreneur is already working up a business plan, “I need to research it and I need the investment to start my own business. I would also need to partner with somebody who has been in the field for quite a while, and they know what it takes to start this type of business. I would also need a designer to help me put the ideas that are in my head on paper because I’m not the world’s best drawing person – I’m not very artistic.”

Yocasta is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Retailing and Consumer Sciences at the University of Arizona. The business-minded student is already a home-owner, “I had really good credit and it actually was a lot cheaper to make an investment in buying a home than to just rent an apartment. So I decided that I would make the investment and purchase my home and use it while I live in Tucson and if I ever move I can always use it as an investment and rent it out. It’s just part of business.”

Yocasta was born in Mexico’s Sonora state where she lived until moving to Tucson at the age of ten and started the sixth grade not knowing English, “Yes and no and food – that was about all I could say in English. It was very challenging to try to communicate at school and to try to learn what everybody else was learning. The most difficult part was leaving my grandparents and my dog. In Mexico we all grew up together, we all knew each other, we all played with each other and we were all friends – and coming here it was kind of having to make friends one by one and being admitted into a little group.”

Yocasta graduated from Sunnyside High School and went on to earn a scholarship from College Success Arizona. She says the scholarship, which provides up to six-thousand dollars per year for educational expenses, was a big break, “That was a huge, huge impact and the number one reason why I was able to get to college because I didn’t have the resources originally. I’ve been very fortunate to get through college debt-free. It’s taken that whole weight off of having to graduate and pay off student loans.”

The scholarship also provides students with specialized mentoring services through “Success Advisers.”  Yocasta has high praise for her success adviser, Matt Sotelo, “Matt is an amazing person and an amazing mentor. He’s helped me grow a lot academically as a student, and also as a person, because he’s not only there to mentor you through your academics but he also understands that you are human – that you have a lot of other things going on. He tries to be there for you in any way he can and he’s always trying to encourage me to do better, to set goals for myself and to take some time for myself on occasion.”

Yocasta has some advice for middle and high school students considering college:

“Don’t stop until you get where you want to be, and when you get where you want to be then keep on working – work even harder. There’s always room for improvement and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it, or that resources are limited or that you’re not made for college. There is no excuse to not go to college and not be a better person and not grow as a professional. If I can get through college – then everybody else can.”

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