The Padilla Family
Rocio, Rosaura, and Roberto Padilla overcame long odds before even reaching the UCCS campus. Growing up in rural Manzanola, few of their peers pursued higher education: after all, there were fields to be worked.
But parents Manuela and Felipe Padilla, laborers who had not attended college, knew higher education was the key to a better life for their children. They insisted their children put school first.
Thanks to scholarship aid from generous donors, all three Padilla children are on paths to greatness. Oldest sister Rocio became the first recipient of UCCS’s Bruce and Anne Shepard Reach Your Peak scholarship—which enables high-achieving, low-income students to attend college. Rocio adeptly balanced work and academics, earning a bachelor’s in biology, then a master’s in counseling. Now a counselor for local youth, she is considering UCCS’s accelerated nursing program.
Rosaura followed, receiving numerous scholarships and graduating with both chemistry and biology degrees. After gaining admission to several demanding doctoral programs, she is pursuing a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. And Roberto, after just one year as a chemistry and math double major, is seeing his own ambitions blossom. His UCCS experiences have led him to meet the Governor of Colorado and score a life-changing NASA summer internship.
“Education is key for the future of our community,” says Roberto, who hopes to teach and inspire youth who grew up in similar circumstances. Asked if he plans to pursue a PhD, he responds, “No ifs, ands, or buts about it.”
To hear more about Roberto’s experience, watch his video here.