My mother immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic when I was six years old in search of a better life for her children. I am the youngest of three boys and neither of my brothers went beyond high school. I wanted to make my mother proud and I also wanted to help her lessen the financial load she bore. My mother has been working as a foster mother since I was in high school and since then, she has adopted three children under the age of five. I used to help her frequently with the numerous foster children that have come in and out of our home. As the children we adopted became older I became a role model to them and I tried to do teach my mother’s credo to them that they have a purpose in life and that education is very valuable.

I am an alumnus of the Salem State College Upward Bound Program. Thanks to their guidance and support I graduated from Lawrence High School with honors and scholarships. One of the many scholarships I received was fully paid tuition to the University of Massachusetts in Lowell for their School of Engineering. After being enrolled for four and a half years, I graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Immediately after graduating college I was hired by a small Swiss company named ErgoSoft to beta-test their software and to perform technical sales. My ability to fluently speak English and Spanish afforded me the opportunity to oversee all of ErgoSoft’s accounts in South and Central America.

Five years ago I purchased my first home, a two-family house and two years later I purchased a second home for investment purposes. I am now where I have always wanted to be back when I first began to dream about having a successful future. I feel that I am where I am because I learned how to make things happen through the Salem State College Upward Bound Program They pushed me to believe in myself and to take action. They truly believed in me, and I felt it. I will continue to make them, my family and my community proud by living up to my highest potential and giving back to those who propelled me to where I am today.

As always, I give gratitude to my mother and the Salem State College Upward Bound Program for teaching me the key to success if life – with hard work and perseverance you can achieve your every dream. If all families and programs like Upward Bound could work hand in hand to guide students like me, the world would surely be cured of all its ills. With new leadership and hope for a better 2010, I will surely do my part to ensure our young people are aware of their true worth and feel inspired to reach for better through higher education!