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Bianca Hernandez

Need Level

3.7/5

Amount Needed

$8,750

Merit Level

3.7/5

Class Standing

Junior

College GPA

3.23

Major

Health and Human Sciences

USC

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Personal Statement

I believe my application would be incomplete without describing my upbringing: My mom’s eight siblings all yelled at her, her head laid in her arms. Her hijab hid the fact that she was crying, but she had already made up her mind. She was going to return to the United States, whether her family wanted her to or not. Just two weeks before this family gathering, my father had passed away. We were in Sudan visiting family and my dad went to visit his side of the family, all of whom lived a six hour bus ride away. My mother and I waved goodbye, not realizing that was the last time we would see him. He passed away when the bus crashed three hours later. My family was devastated. My dad was the one who made all of the money for my mother and I, managing a hair salon. My mother wasn’t as fluent in English as my dad and she struggled finding a job. Her brothers and sisters commanded her to stay, telling her that her life would be so much easier in Sudan. Three weeks later we were on the plane back to Chicago. When we got back from Sudan I was five years old and it was just me and my mother. We could no longer afford the comfortable three bedroom apartment we lived in when my dad was with us, and one of my mom’s friends who lived in Oak Park found my mom a cheap one bedroom apartment. We moved to Oak Park and my mom started to work at a hair salon that was run by one of the people my father was friends with. I spent most of my time during elementary school either playing soccer with friends or home alone waiting for my mom to come home from her 12 to 14 hour work day since we couldn’t afford any after school programs. I clung to my mother when she was around, but her long workdays led to me attaining a sense of independence that would prepare me for the immense stress that I would face as a first generation high school and college student. In high school everything changed. I was enrolled in all honors classes, on the varsity wrestling team, had to help my mom with whatever bills or official documents needed to be filled out, and had to work to help my mom pay rent. Over the last couple of years, I’ve realized how blessed I am to have had all of these experiences, even though at the time they felt like a burden. I am the only Mokhtar that has been born in the United States, and I am forever grateful for the sacrifices my mother made so that I can be a USC student today. I will do everything in my power to prove my family in Sudan wrong, and prove that my mom did make the right decision coming back to the United States.

Student Info

Ethnicity:

Citizenship:

Gender:

Veterans:

LGBTQ+ :

Black or African American

Marital Status:

American and Sudanese

First Generation:

Male

Personal Dependents:

No

Family Dependents:

Single

Yes

0

2

No

High School GPA:

Graduation Year:

Major GPA:

4.3

SAT/ACT Score:

2022

Open to Mentorship:

3.23

High School Name:

n/a

Yes

Oak Park and River Forest High School