My name is Edson and I am a first-generation low income college student who attends the University of California, Irvine. I come from an impoverished community located in Boyle Heights.

As a first year, I have been focused on not only my coursework, but competing for increasingly necessary leadership and growth experiences that will truly impact my future career trajectory. I have learned that to truly improve my options in life, it is imperative to take on additional leadership roles and create experiences at the undergraduate level that will adequately prepare me to succeed beyond merely passing my coursework. I have already secured exciting and prestigious past opportunities to refine my leadership skills, such as going on an East Africa Immersion Trip in the summer of 2016. To continue to capture the momentum generated by this experience, I was fortunate enough to be part of the Costa Rica Program which focuses on developing leadership skills through global sustainability awareness and initiatives. This is yet another great opportunity for me to help me develop cross-cultural competence, which I know will be crucial in my future success and field. This is a chance to experience rural infrastructure and alternative ways of community organizing will lay a sound foundation for my future career.