Texas A&M University sophomore Lizzett Tapia’s parents know firsthand how tough life can be without an education. Hailing from Mexico, neither attended school beyond the elementary level. When they immigrated to Texas, they were determined to do whatever it took to ensure their children seized the educational opportunities they were denied.
“Going to college was something I always knew I would do,” Tapia ’23 explained. “There was no other option. My parents came here to give me a better life, which obviously meant that I should take advantage of every educational opportunity possible. I wanted to make them proud.”
For high school, Tapia’s parents enrolled her in the Rosie Sorrells School of Education and Social Services, part of the Townview Magnet Center complex in Dallas’ East Oak Cliff neighborhood. Her high school experience included a two-year internship, where she assisted a first-grade math teacher.
When touring Texas A&M, Tapia felt an instant connection. “I saw myself studying at the Memorial Student Center and going to campus events,” she said. “I felt like I belonged there.”
At the time she made her college decision, Tapia, a mathematics major, could not have anticipated the critical support role that the Regents’ Scholars Program would play. Beyond financial assistance, she said, her fellow Regents’ Scholars and the program’s staff members have provided her a safety net that has made her college experience much easier. “During my freshman year, I struggled to find solutions to my problems on my own since I couldn’t ask my parents,” she said. “The peer mentor I was assigned really helped me, as did my Regents’ Scholar advisor.”
This year, Tapia is giving back by serving as a peer mentor herself.
As for her parents, Tapia said they’re delighted that she’s attending such a “big, prestigious university.”
“They are really, really proud of me,” she said with a smile.
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Written by Kara Bounds Socol