Mariella FreireAfter using her Governor's scholarship and completing our PACE program and B.S. degree at CSUN, Mariella and her family spent a month visiting family and hiking in her native country, Ecuador. Here she is at the top of the highest volcanic peak, Mt. Cotopaxi (She is the one on the right).

Working two jobs and raising two children, Mariella needed a program to help her return to school and earn her degree in the least amount of time. CSUN referred her to the GCC Pace Program. She found PACE Director Bob Taylor to be especially helpful in opening the doors to other resources for her. She attended classes one night per week and all day Saturdays, and continued working full-time as a clerk for the City of Los Angeles. Taylor also assisted Mariella with her financial aid forms and suggested ways to search for possible scholarship funds. Much to her surprise, she became the recipient of the Governor’s Opportunity Scholarship, competing with applicants from all over the state. She was one of five recipients receiving a $5,000 award at the 2000 California Governor’s Conference for Women in Long Beach. All money raised at the yearly conference is used to promote awareness of educational growth for women in the state of California. The five recipients participated in a final drawing for a 2001 automobile, and she was the winner! The $5,000 helped with tuition and books and the car was perfect for this active mom.

Mariella was appreciative that GCC had such a flexible and friendly program and staff to support a working mom. The prospect of returning to school had been scary, but her questions and concerns had been answered. In 2002, Mariella graduated from CSUN with honors and a finance degree. She celebrated with a trip to Ecuador with her children to visit family. Mariella is currently working at the Office of Contract Compliance for the City of L.A. and is preparing for the LSAT—look out law school!

Last updated: 6/15/2009 8:55:22 AM