Undergraduates: H - N

Photo of Angela Johnson

Angela Johnson

Grade: Freshman
Major: Nursing

Hello, my name is Angela Johnson. When I was 1 year old my mother passed away, leaving me and my two older siblings in foster care with our grandmother. Growing up without a mother was a huge obstacle. I always felt depressed and lonely. On September 15, 2005 my grandmother had a massive stroke and is now in a rehabilitation hospital. I am now supported by my 29-year-old sister.

First my mother got taken away from me and now my grandmother; I had given up on life and thought I had nothing. Reflecting back on my family, they never went to college, and most of them dropped out of high school. I remember something my grandmother told me, "be a leader and not a follower, and if you follow make sure it is the right person." I realize I have a full life ahead of me and I want to be the first person in my family to be independent and successful in life.

I have accomplished numerous of things in my life. I graduated from McClymonds High School, and now attend California State University, Eastbay. I am motivated despite the many obstacles I have faced, such as growing up in the foster care system, the death of my mother, negativity in my family, and the sickness of my grandmother.

As I look towards the future, the most important thing in my life right now is my education. Getting my college degree will open up more opportunities for me. My goal is to get my B.S. in nursing. By doing so, I will inspire others in my community. Achieving my goal will allow others to view me in a positive light. I will be a role model -- something I never had.

Lastly, my education will help my family by strengthening and encouraging them to have a better life and may even cause them to think about going back to school to get an education. I look forward to the challenge that lies ahead of me. I plan to follow a path less familiar, the path to success and happiness.

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Jason King

Grade: Freshman
Major: Business Administration

From a very young age I had to care for myself because my mother was unreliable and I didn't know who my father was. I knew how to cook, clean, and do laundry all before I really understood how to just be a kid. I grew up all around the Bay Area moving from one location to the next because my mother was unable to keep a roof over our heads. Along with the moving, I switched schools several times. This made it impossible to build friendships with any other children.

Most of my life was built on disappointments, from my mother going in and out of her drug addiction to the broken promises made by some of my foster families. My time in the system started when I was very young. My brother and I ended up separating after being shipped from one family to the next. I am just now getting to really know my brother.

My goal in life is to be successful. I would like to own a business producing music and movies. I would also like to branch out and buy stock in major corporations and get involved in real estate. I don't want to limit myself to one kind of job; I would like to do it all. My plans in college are to first get a good education, meet new people, and make new friends. My other goal is to become ASI President so I can make a difference that will impact all of my fellow students. I plan big but this is what keeps me motivated through all the trials and tribulations, I also live by the motto "Failure Is Not an Option" which helps me look forward and plan to win.

Photo of Billie Moore

Billie Moore

My name is Billie Moore and I am 18 years old. I am currently pursuing a double-major in English and Ethnic Studies combined with a teaching credential. I have been in foster care with my grandmother since I was 10 years old. My mother passed away when I was 11 and my father is not a part of my life. I have dreams of becoming a high school teacher and plan to overcome all my obstacles in life by becoming successful.

Photo of Deserae Nelson

Deserae Nelson

My name is Deserae Nelson and I am 18 years old. I was born at General Hospital in San Francisco. I have a wide range of siblings from ages 4-20. I have attended 7 different high schools and have lived almost all over the Bay Area. As a young girl I knew little to nothing about my biological father and was raised my mom and step-father. We moved a lot from apartment to apartment and I wasn't as close to my family as most kids are. Throughout my moving I managed to keep some of my childhood friends and continued to college with them. I currently participate in the Renaissance Scholars program. The program is a wonderful way for foster youth to get as far ahead as they have always dreamt.

Photo of Lalin Nhek

Lalin Nhek

Grade: Sophomore
Major: Sociology

Hi my name is Lalin Nhek. My aunt adopted my brother, sister and I after our mother passed away. I grew up in Cambodia for half of my life. After our mother's passing from heart disease, my brother, sister and I split up for about six months. We reunited when my grandmother came to Cambodia to bring us to the U.S. I enter foster care when I was 12 years old.

I want to be a social worker when I graduate from college. I want to help the foster children. It is very hard to grow up without parents and I want to help them overcome that. I want to make a difference in the foster care system. It is sad to see that many foster children don't even get a high school diploma. I want to make a difference in that area. I want to help and be there and to encourage them to be successful in life.

Renaissance Scholars helps me a lot. They teach me how to be independent and the staff always welcomes me when I go to visit the office. It feels good to know that people care about us. Being foster children is hard because people think that foster children are mean and bad.

There are so many times that I felt like I wanted to die because of the way people treat me. But I do not regret being a foster child anymore. I am proud because I will prove to those people that they are wrong about us. The most important part is that I am doing it for myself.

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