“Progress has been slow.”

I was born in a small town in the countryside of Brazil. Growing up with limited resources and non-educated parents, my vision of the world was very limited. I was brought up in a very oppressive environment. My parents were physically and emotionally abusive. They were uneducated people that only understood violence as the way to “educate” their children. I am also the youngest of three children and suffered abuse from my older brothers as well.

I always knew I was gay, but being raised in an environment of constant fear and anxiety, I never felt comfortable talking to my family about issues regarding my sexuality. I was closeted until the age of nineteen. Being gay in a small town in a developing country was not easy. I suffered a lot of bullying in high school and was constantly being picked on for being a vulnerable and scared kid. Unfortunately, I did not receive much support from my parents. I moved to Seattle in March 2016 coming from New York. Most of my closest family members passed away. I just have my mom and two brothers that live in Brazil.

Why do I want an education? Because I honestly believe that only with education can we as a society build a future where humankind will have more respect for each other and the environment we live in. Only with education will we prosper without wars, in harmony with nature, and with more compassion for the ones that need the most.

My college education journey in the USA started in 2010. Progress has been slow since I have always had to work to support myself and have not always had the spare money to pay for school tuition. I have only been able to study part-time throughout these years. My major challenge comes from the fact that because it has been taking so long for me to finish my AA degree; some of the school credits I got a few years ago have already expired. I now have to retake classes I took more than five years ago in order to move forward. It is very frustrating for me because I cannot afford to be a full-time student.

I am enthusiastic about biological sciences. I truly believe that we, as a society, have so much potential to improve the quality of our lives in the environment we live in through the development, study, and application of bio-research. I have always been very curious about understanding the diagnostic methods used to determine the source of illnesses, as well as the effects and side effects of drugs prescribed for the treatment of diseases.

Seattle Education Access has provided me funds that helped me to pay my school tuition. I have received scholarships from SEA these last two quarters. The help has made a significant difference. Before the beginning of each quarter, I check my budget to see if I have money to pay the tuition, cost of books, rent, and provide myself with basic needs. I analyze if I can realistically afford all these expenses or if I have to skip a quarter to save some extra money and go back to school next quarter because, at that moment, the money I have is not going to be enough. The SEA scholarships have lifted some of that financial burden. And for me, it is not just the stress relief about how I can afford to pay tuition and be able to survive. There is also an emotional component. I feel emotionally supported. This scholarship means that there are folks out there that believe in me and feel that I will succeed in finishing school. This feeling feeds me with energy and courage that keeps me moving forward.

My Education Advocate, Hansell, is an important person for me. About a year ago, I shared a little bit of my story at a meeting where Hansell was present. A few months later, I was at the cafeteria at Seattle Central College and he approached me, told me he saw me at that meeting, that he worked for SEA, gave me his card, and offered me help if I needed it. I didn’t recognize him because I was so nervous while speaking about myself in front of a bunch of strangers. I am very grateful to Hansell for approaching me at that time and for being so kind and supportive. Also, a few months ago, I was working on my personal statement for applications, and Hansell told me I could count on SEA help with the editing. It was a huge help and I am very grateful for it.

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