(Published on The Guardian 3/20/2018) The immigration journey of AnnaLaura Arredondo, USC chemical engineering student
The immigration journey of AnnaLaura Arredondo, USC chemical engineering student
AnnaLaura Arredondo left Mexico on her own at the age of 15 because her mother believed the United States held the better chance for her to reach her dreams.
She learned English in a few months, got her GED and went to community college – all the while working full-time at jobs like cleaning houses and nannying. Early on, she even sold sweet bread door to door for a while. Within a few years, she’d earned a full scholarship to attend USC. She decided she’d go into the engineering field that had the least women and start to change that. Of that story arc, she says, “You only get one opportunity and you have to take it all the way. I saw one door closing and I went and knocked on another one.”
She wants to share her land of opportunity with scores of future immigrants, too, to “pull them up, push them up and help them to achieve their dreams, because people did that for me”, she says. “I’ve had so many people throughout my life that supported me and believed in me. I want to do that, too. People deserve to be believed in.”
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