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Liliana Alvarez

Need Level


Amount Needed


Merit Level


Class Standing


College GPA






Personal Statement

As a child I was often referred to as shy or odd, and to help me out of my shell, my parents put me in a Mexican dance group which I viewed as punishment. Little did they know, my awkwardness came from being raped by a relative. With that came fear of social gatherings, crowds, and men. I slipped into depression, further mental health issues, and self-hate. I was a tween too cool for my parents. Living in a multicultural home, I constantly complained about wanting to be more American. I was born here, and did not feel I fit in my culture. I wanted to escape my world. Long practices served as a distraction, and while I complained in the beginning, I soon grew closer with the girls on the team. I then realized our group’s purpose, to connect with our Hispanic roots and proudly represent them through performance. But our group faced challenges. We were invited to Hispanic festivals and even advanced to finals, yet most of the team could not afford to attend. I began to worry less about my problems and instead focused on my team. Dance allowed me to express my feelings; every practice heightened my passion for my Mexican roots and respect for its cultural values. By 14 I was lead dancer and responsible for helping newcomers. I extended practices to perfect our footwork and maximize volume in every skirt movement. When girls struggled to juggle school and dance, I tutored them before and after practices and during song transitions. My group led me to become an unapologetically proud Hispanic. Dance was my stress reliever, haven, and new identity. Ballet folklorico gave me the incentive to learn Spanish, which brought me closer to my family. I was no longer terrified, and finally found the guts to tell my parents what happened years ago. My team has taught me I can overcome any problem, and if it seems all hope is lost, I’ll simply dance it off. Mexican folklore dance has helped me to embrace the culture I had distanced myself from for so long. Forward to years later during my freshman year at USC, I began to involve myself in as many organizations that would provide me with the opportunity to continue to give back to my community without losing my identity. I joined the Latino Business Student Association and campus and now pride myself as its current VP of External Affairs. I also volunteered in the First-Generation Peer Mentorship program on campus and am a current mentor, striving to make other USC students feel as safe and welcomed to campus as possible despite any limitation in opportunities. Within the loyalty of my own heritage, came the love and commitment for me to give back within my own college campus. As a result, I am now thriving in a community that I have helped form within USC.

Student Info


Hispanic or Latino

Marital Status:






U.S. Citizen

First Generation:


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High School GPA:

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Open to Mentorship:


High School Name:



Warren High School