A sophomore majoring in hospitality, restaurant and tourism management with minors in business and communications studies, Claudia Alvarez first came to the College of Business as a junior at William Jennings Bryan Senior High School in Omaha, Nebraska. After attending the DREAMBIG Academy offered by the College of Business for first generation students, she received an Emerging Leaders Scholarship, which helped make her dream of going to college at Nebraska a reality.
By Claudia Alvarez
My father never finished elementary school and my mothers’ highest level of education was middle school, so their dream for their children was to have a higher education. None of my brothers went to college, but the plans I have for my life involved earning my degree. My father pushed me toward college by often saying, “At the end of the day, everything you have and own could be taken away, but the one thing that will never be taken away is the knowledge you acquire.”
My AIM TRIO Upward Bound Coordinator told me about the DREAMBIG Academy and wanted me to get a preview of what it was like to be a college student. I decided to attend to make connections and get my college questions answered. Everyone I met – faculty, staff and students – I still talk to today and the advice the mentors provided made my college career so much less stressful.
The university was the only school that ever felt right to me and the environment made me excited about going to college. Everyone was and is so welcoming and helpful. My biggest challenge now is getting involved while also staying on top of my classes. The university provides so many great extracurricular activities but I work two jobs on top of being a full-time student.
However, I am very fortunate to be where I am and have all these opportunities. I am proud to be the first and only one in my family to attend college. I know I attend the best Big Ten school and I am proud of my good GPA.
The most important part of the DREAMBIG Academy is ensuring the students feel welcomed and informed. This summer, I served as a mentor for the program so I could help students have the same experience I did. I wanted to tell them they could be successful at Nebraska.