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Elena Fernandez

Need Level

4.0/5

Amount Needed

$5,000

Merit Level

3.4/5

Class Standing

Sophomore

College GPA

3.7

Major

International Relations

USC

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Personal Statement

My hands were sweating profoundly. I looked out the window and saw an empty swing slowly moving with the wind and it reminded me of myself, and how I felt. I was trying hard to focus on anything other than the words being repeated with a strong voice. Five minutes passed and the time was finally over. I got picked up from my uncle who was the only one who loved me for me and took the time to ask me how I was feeling. “How was conversion therapy?” he asked. It took everything in me to not burst into tears, so I swallowed them instead, and I responded, “Like hell.” That was the end of that conversation and the last time I put myself through the abuse of conversion therapy. As an LGBTQ+ student, being outed as gay to a conservative, Christian household is the worst thing that can happen. My family reacted like I expected. They were disgusted that their daughter could have feelings for someone that was not a man and to them, that was unacceptable and a disease that needed a cure. I attended conversation therapy for five months and in those five months, instead of letting myself go, I pushed harder. I focused on my studies, as it was my outlet from the thoughts circulating my head. I worked hard because it was the only way I could express myself. I took internships and I became productive, because I knew that I was going to be my only fan, my only supporter. Instead of letting my family and conversion therapy lead me into a horrible path, I fought for myself to reach higher education, because I knew I needed a way out. Because I knew I needed education to make a life for myself and help other students who are unfortunately in similar situations.

Student Info

Ethnicity:

Citizenship:

Gender:

Veterans:

LGBTQ+ :

Hispanic or Latino

Marital Status:

U.S. Citizen

First Generation:

Female

Personal Dependents:

No

Family Dependents:

Single

Yes

0

2

Yes

High School GPA:

Graduation Year:

Major GPA:

3.8

SAT/ACT Score:

2023

Open to Mentorship:

3.7

High School Name:

29

Yes

Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School