Every student has a story, and Cesar Ivan Fernandez is no exception. His journey is a powerful example of perseverance in the face of bureaucratic hurdles.
Born in Mexico, Fernandez moved to Santa Cruz, California when he was 15 and worked his way to the top of his class. But although the University of California offered him a scholarship, Fernandez wasn’t able to get federal financial assistance because of his immigration status. He subsequently dropped out.
“It just became impossible” to continue at UCLA, he said. “That was probably one of the most discouraging things I’ve had to do.”
After dropping out of college, and working several jobs, Fernandez returned to school in 2015 at Seattle Central College.
But issues with his immigration status have dogged Fernandez. Though he is now married to an American citizen, he hasn’t received a green card. He’s a “Dreamer” under DACA (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), but that program’s future is uncertain, and the couple facing massive massive tuition and immigration-related bills.
Today, Fernandez is undeterred. He’s on track to graduate in 2018 with an associate degree in chemistry, and has dreams of attaining his Ph. D.
Watch the power and hope of Fernandez’s story.