Prior to my sophomore year in high school, I never envisioned myself as a University student; in fact, I had never set foot on a University campus until most recently when invited by the UW Office of Minority Affairs to attend a pre-college event. I am a first generation American. I was born in Mexico, and twelve years ago my family relocated to the United States. I recently became a United States Citizen. Both of my parents are employed as farm workers, and our family income is considered to be poverty level. My family has a rich history, steeped in the Mexican culture and traditions. My parents still speak mostly Spanish at home, and my mother raised me and my two brothers the same way that most traditional-conservative Mexican families raise their daughters – very strict. We work many hours in agriculture labor so our social time consists of food, recreational soccer games, church activities and conversation. From our deep sense of family and loyalty, to the foods that we prepare, and the celebrations we maintain, our culture is ingrained in everything that I am. My family ethnic and socio-economic level may be what helps shape me but it is also what inspires me to pursue my educational goals. I am confident with the help of programs such as the Office of Minority Affairs and the diversity of the U.W. staff, faculty and students, all sharing in each other’s backgrounds, experiences and interests that my educational dreams are indeed within reach. I now know I do belong at the University of Washington. I look forward to continuing to define who I am at the university. I am convinced this is the community where I will thrive and contribute to the diversity of the campus.