As a first generation college student, Beatriz Avila-Casillas aspires to harness her passion for music to address important social and political issues within society. As a sophomore at CSUSM majoring in visual & performing arts, Beatriz is gaining the experience and tools necessary to achieve her dreams.
Despite living in a multi-family home, Beatriz was always focused on academics and understood the impact education could have opening doors in the future. She took advanced placement courses as a freshman, participated in AVID, and became highly engaged in school activities while attending Mission Hills High School. Despite her ambition and work ethics, the reality for Beatriz was that her family did not have the financial resources to afford a college education.
“Money was always an obstacle. My parents were responsible for taking care of my cousins and we had to learn how to share space and finances. Although it was challenging, I learned a valuable lesson about family and caring for others.” Despite her obstacles, Beatriz has overcome adversity and become a model student, concurrently enrolled at both CSUSM and Palomar College. As a PACE Promise Scholar, she is a remarkable example of the impact scholarships can have in opening doors for our students.
“It was mostly about getting good grades and going to college. My teachers and parents motivated me to become prepared and the PACE Promise helped me get there.” Although Beatriz is working towards her goals, she believes in the promise and wants to ensure students are inspired to continue their education, regardless of where it may take them. She urges students to “make sure you ask your counselor about college and visit the college and career center. Take advantage of the dual enrollment programs offered at Palomar College and obtain as many general education courses as possible during high school. Become organized. Start doing your own schedule while setting personal and academic goals. Going with the flow doesn’t work in college.”
According to Beatriz, “college success isn’t only about succeeding academically, its about preparing yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.” As a PACE Scholar, we believe Beatriz will achieve anything she puts her mind to and look forward to seeing the impact she has inspiring other students to follow their dreams.