Growing up in Kernersville and graduating from Atkins High School, Maria Paola Vazquez was no stranger to a busy schedule, which served her well throughout her college career at UNC-Greensboro.
Knowing she was capable of just about anything with the right support, Maria pursued a major in social work and a minor in American Sign Language—all while juggling a part-time job, navigating a global pandemic, and planning for a baby on the way.
“I faced a lot of obstacles throughout college, but I always kept my goals in the forefront, and I never gave up,” said Maria. “I’ve met a lot of people who didn’t have the support that I had. I’m very fortunate to have my mom, my stepdad, and my husband. They’re always supporting me and telling me that I can do anything that I put my mind to.”
As a first-generation college student and a child of parents who immigrated from Mexico, Maria knew early on that she would have to find additional funding to help pay for college. A four-year renewing scholarship from the Carl Robert Sapp, Mary Grubbs Sapp, and Mary Carol Sapp Memorial Scholarship Fund helped to significantly lessen Maria’s financial burden.
As she looks to the future, Maria plans to obtain her master’s degree and work as a clinical social worker in a hospital setting, helping low-income families find resources for their health-related needs.
“I’m very excited to get back out in the community and use my degree. I know I can’t make a big change on my own, but I can be the start of a change.”