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Erika Diaz-Fuentes

"I’ve learned personal responsibility for my education and future. It’s a lesson that I will always carry with me."

Erika, a junior at the University of Arizona, a Glendale Community College graduate and an alumna of the ACE program at Estrella Mountain Community College says, “ACE gave me the determination and the opportunity for a good education, and that is the miracle that transformed my life!”

After the birth of her daughter at the age of 14, she says that it was ACE and the encouraging staff at EMCC that were a motivating factor. “ACE renewed my desire for an education. It helped me to get an inside, close-up look at what college life is like. It made the entire process a lot less intimidating to me; and it gave me time management skills and goals worth achieving, not only for myself, but for my child.”

Erika’s parents are from Guatemala and El Salvador and did not finish elementary school.  It was up to her to make them understand how important higher education was for her, her daughter, and ultimately, the entire family. She feels she has paved the way for her younger sister, Melissa, who is currently in the ACE program at EMCC and wants to pursue a higher educational path, as well, and become an aeronautical engineer.

As for Erika, her path is no less impressive. She is currently majoring in biochemistry and molecular biophysics with a minor in mathematics. She is torn between forensic science and serving our country as an explosive engineer in the military. “Through ACE, I’ve learned personal responsibility for my education and future. It’s a lesson that I will always carry with me.”

Estrella Mountain Community College, Glendale Community College