She considers her acceptance to college one of her biggest high school accomplishments. Before her junior year, Diana had no expectation of pursuing her education beyond high school. However, her outlook changed and her hopes rose after her brother received a full scholarship to a state university. She enrolled in challenging courses and worked hard to do well. Diana, an AP Scholar, says she now knows that what she learns in the classroom, or from her peers, will not be obstructed by the barriers of class, race, gender or even citizenship status.
Diana will graduate from Brackenridge High School and plans to attend Middlebury College, a small liberal arts college in rural Vermont, in the fall.
Her interest in learning about the human psychology of arriving at decisions prompted her to choose as her area of study neuroeconomics, an emerging field that combines the study of neuroscience and economics. She hopes to eventually apply what she learns to government and policy.
Her extracurricular involvement includes being captain of the Aquatics Team, two years running; a member of the Cross-Country Team; Environmental Club president and National Honor Society vice president. She has a list of achievements, among them being one of 50 Texas students selected for the weeklong McCombs Future Executive Academy at the University of Texas at Austin in 2011.
Like all of this year’s graduates, Diana was a part of the college-readiness GEAR UP program. GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. As a first-generation college student, she had many unanswered questions and felt that the GEAR UP program at her school did a great job of creating awareness about the importance of a post-secondary education by putting students and their families in direct contact with resources and assistance.
GEAR UP helped prepare her, as did the hands-on instruction she received. Her favorite classes have included those founded on a curriculum consisting of open discussion, experiments, and assignments heavy on critical thinking. This summer, she plans to continue preparing for the transition to college next fall, as well as volunteering at the San Antonio Zoo and at local art museums.
Diana strongly believes that knowledge alters one's perspective of the world. It is her greatest goal to work toward a better future for herself, her family and her community. Her experiences have given her an ambition to reach out and help others. She wants to serve as a liaison for other low-income minority students whose own dreams include gaining access to higher education.