Meet Our Summer Associates: Evelin Espino

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Evelin Espino | University of California, Merced | Class of 2022

Evelin Espino was raised in Richmond, CA and graduated from Making Waves Academy Upper School. She is now currently attending UC Merced as a Sociology major. Evelin hopes to put her degree to use after graduating by giving back to communities that need the most help. Evelin enjoys spending time with her family who inspires and motivates her to keep advocating for people who are underserved by the discriminatory systems in place. Being a summer associate for the Richmond Promise means that Evelin is a step closer to reaching her goals. 

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? Expand on hardships/motivational factors that influence you to this day.

A:  “My name is Evelin Espino, I graduated from Making Waves Academy Upper School, and am currently going into my second year at the University of California, Merced. Growing up, I always felt inclined to contribute to something bigger than myself. When I was only seven years old, my family and I got detained by the US Border Patrol. Having to spend time in those detention centers and what came after made me take on a new perspective of life and its cruelties at such a young age. Since that moment, I have wanted to help the immigrant community and communities similar to them. I know this is my life’s destiny and what happened to my family and I is something that happens to thousands of other families. This motivates me to push through the difficulties and long hours in school, and to join programs in my community because I know that with perseverance, I can one day lend a helping hand.”

Q: How has the Richmond Promise played a role in your education?

A: “The Richmond Promise has given me the opportunity and motivation to keep moving forward in college as well as allowed me to grow professionally. Besides the financial help, The Richmond Promise has been helpful through all the college readiness workshops and student panels that they do. Many students do not know what to expect when they are finally on campus their first year, but through these workshops and student panels, I was able to learn from the experiences of other college students and learn about resources on my campus. Seeing other students from Richmond, as well as a staff that is committed to our success in higher education is a huge motivational factor that gets me through those tough days in college. I know that people from my community have been able to overcome obstacles and that there is a support system I can count on and reach out to. Professionally, as a Summer Associate for the Richmond Promise, I have learned how to make myself a qualified candidate in the professional world when applying to jobs or internships. Additionally, I have met a network of people who can potentially be of help after and even during college.”

Q: What do you want to contribute to Richmond or the world?

A: “I hope I can contribute to making Richmond a place that our residents do not want to leave. To me, this means volunteering and contributing at non-profit organizations in Richmond that are dedicated to the betterment of our community through providing safe spaces to at-risk-youth, educational opportunities, leadership opportunities, violence prevention, resources to immigrants, etc. Richmond has come a long way from being violence driven city to a now relatively gentrified city. There is still a way to give a voice back to the people who have made Richmond as special as it is.”

Q: Can you tell us about your current college experience?

A: “My first year at UC Merced was definitely nothing short of a growing and learning experience. It was hard for me to adjust to a new setting that was far from home and physically different than the city life I lived in Richmond. There were moments where my dreams seemed too big for someone like me and I questioned if I had what it took to graduate. One of the things that helped set my mind straight was the fact that UC Merced serves predominantly low-income, first-gen, students of color. Knowing that the rest of my UC Merced community was graduating and finding their place in higher education, reassured me that I was no exception and that I had potential. I chose to major in Sociology, and absolutely loved the sociology classes that I took. Studying something that I am passionate about made my first year ten times better. Next semester, I am looking forward to joining clubs, looking for internships, potential research opportunities, and advancing towards my degree.”

Q: What are you looking forward after receiving your bachelor’s/transferring?

A: “After receiving my bachelor’s, I am looking forward to going into one of three fields: non-profit work, education (professor), or law as an immigration lawyer. I want to make a difference in this world somehow and I know that either path I take will lead me to that goal of mine. Pursuing my Masters soon after is also a goal of mine that I think will open more doors for me. Something else I really look forward to is traveling and being more in tune with myself and other cultures/different ways of life. I’ve always thought that it is important to not be ethnocentric and keep an open mind.”

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