Shelvina joined the TRiO SSS Program in fall of 2014, her first semester of college after graduating from high school. During her short time with TRiO, Shelvina has been heavily involved in various aspects of the TRiO community and is a joy to be around for all who have the privilege of working with her, students, staff and faculty alike. Shelvina comes from a life of struggle, a first generation college student originally from the island of Fiji where opportunities for higher education are extremely limited. Her transition to life in the United States was one characterized by unfortunate brushes with racial discrimination due to her ambiguous features, which almost caused her to give up on her education. However, with the help of a loving counselor during high school and two very dedicated parents, as well as her own will to resist stereotypical expectations of her potential, Shelvina excelled during the closing years of high school.
These days, bringing an almost complete draft of a paper a month in advance of the due date is just common practice for this shining TRiO star. Shelvina was recruited by Skyline College for the Reading Partners program, so she has volunteered at Los Cerritos Elementary School, helping young children with their enjoyment and comprehension of reading. She also a volunteered for TRiO’s Middle School Outreach Project- Student Conference coordinated by TRiO Counselor, Jessica Lopez. Here, Shelvina volunteered for the panel to advise young students about college and guided them with her own personal stories from middle and high school.
When asked about what keeps her motivated even during those most challenging of times, Shelvina had this to say:
“My inspiration is my parents. During my difficult moments or problems, I look at my parents! Why? Because they never got the opportunities that I have gotten! They never had a chance to go to college and struggled to maintain a household when moving to the States. They worked overtime and did whatever they could to provide for my siblings and I. In the future, I’d like to give back to my parents, to take care of them! They are my inspiration and motivation to do better.”
During her spare time, Shelvina enjoys going on adventures to places that she’s never been, especially to explore the beauty of nature, and she has the long term goal of majoring in Psychology and becoming a youth probation officer. Knowing Shelvina, nothing will stop her from achieving this goal which is close to her heart and a strong catalyst for her impetus to succeed.
Article written by Chanel Daniels l Photo by Alexis Guillen De La Cruz