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Maria Guadalupe Morales

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Maria Guadalupe Morales, affectionately called by her family "Lupita," is the daughter of migrant farm workers from Michoacán, México. She came to Santa Maria with her mother and three younger siblings to reunite with her father and four older siblings in 2003.

Arriving in the US as a young adult meant that she had to start over—personally, but most importantly, academically. She had completed her second year of undergraduate coursework as a business student at the Technological Institute of Jiquilpan in Michoacán. Unfortunately her coursework was not transferable. However, her strong academic foundation, and unmatched self determination were key to overcoming primarily the language barrier—Lupita learned to speak English in less than a year. And, less than five years later she will graduate with honors and two AA degrees—Liberal Arts and Transfer Studies.

Despite her demanding academic schedule, Lupita finds time to be a role model to others—who such as herself come from low income families with low college attendance rates. As a participant in the California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP), she tutors/mentors junior high school students in mathematics, social studies, and sciences. In addition, she tutors her peers at Allan Hancock College in mathematics, Spanish, and English, and has been recognized with a College Reading and Learning Association certificate (CRLA). Lupita is also the recipient of an Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS) award for her strong grade point average—and she made it to the "Who's Who Among Students" in 2007.

Lupita is an amazing young woman whose academic discipline and maturity is unparalleled. Despite the personal and financial obstacles she has faced as a first generation to attend college, her hard work and determination is paying off. She has been offered and has accepted admission to the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) as one of 38,000 undergraduate applicants—the largest pool of applicants in the school's history. At Cal Poly, she plans to study Business with a concentration in financial management.

Lupita's admission to Cal Poly is a remarkable milestone—she is not only living the dreams of her parents who immigrated to the US to provide a better future for their children, but she also hopes to be a role model to the future generations of young women and Hispanics in Santa Maria.