Campus Connection - August 15, 2016

Former Foster Youth Beats the Odds

Alexandria MaldonadoAlexandria Maldonado was homeless at the age of 14 due to her parents’ challenge with alcohol and abuse. She was forced to move from place to place, living with her grandparents, her uncle, aunt, and cousins. Despite her unstable living conditions, Alexandria committed to staying at her same high school so she could graduate on time. With her determination and hard work, she obtained a full, need-based scholarship and enrolled at the University of California, Irvine, but was unable to maintain her scholarship due to family circumstances.

However, Alexandria remained hopeful about achieving her educational goals so that she could understand her family’s behavior that led to her homelessness and her set back at UCI, and becoming a psychologist to help children overcome their challenges and obstacles.

At Cerritos College, Alexandria discovered the Leaders Involved in Creating Change (LINC) program, a foster-youth support program. Through LINC she connected with other students with similar circumstances and received a number of resources and support services. Alexandria also joined Psi Beta, a psychology student club and the national honor society Phi Theta Kappa.  In addition to school, for three years she worked for as a recreation leader for preteens for the City of Commerce to gain experience working with children.

This fall, she is returning to UCI on a full scholarship. Looking back, she believes feels her detour to Cerritos College was meant to be, and the experience was well worth it.

“Instructors at Cerritos really cared. They were truly interested in helping students succeed,” she recalled. “Now I’m going back to where I originally started my college education. Life is coming in full circle.”

She plans to further her psychology education in a master’s and a doctoral programs. In the future, she would like to become a psychologist to open a shelter to help at-risk youth.

Did you know the College has a special web page that features student success stories? Check out the new updated My Story section in the Media Relations menu! You will find inspiring stories of amazing students and faculty at Cerritos College! If you know someone that has a great story to tell, please let us know, we would love to feature them! Submit ideas to



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  Campus Connection - August 15, 2016