HEAR Class of 2021 graduate, Lesley M., has just completed her studies at Dartmouth College and is looking forward to starting a full-time position with Microsoft as a Business Program Manager in the fall. She graduated in May with a BA in Economics Modified with Public Policy with a cumulative GPA of 3.51.

Lesley says, “I see my journey as impossible without the help of people who genuinely care about my success (and failures!). I grow through my experiences as well as from the advice and support I’ve received from my village. The HEAR Foundation is part of my village and I couldn’t have reached this milestone without you all. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to go back home as a first-generation graduate and provide my parents the best gift they could possibly receive – a college diploma. Thank you HEAR for providing me the resources and support I need to achieve my goals. On to the next goal!”

Lesley has dedicated her degree to her parents, Emma & Manuel. They moved to the United States to escape poverty, despite their desire to remain with their loved ones in Ecuador. Lesley says, “They are the embodiment of grit, resilience, humility, and compassion”. She is certain that not even someone with a college degree could match what they have accomplished and defeated. She is convinced that if her parents had the same resources awarded to her, that they would easily have achieved a college degree too.

Lesley states that her achievement at Dartmouth is a constant reminder to her of the privileges that she has now and will continue to have. She plans to use her degree to help other first-generation, low-income students overcome barriers that shouldn’t exist in the first place. She concludes by saying that, “This graduation is not mine. It belongs to everyone who has helped me along my journey.” We are all so proud of Lesley and her achievements and we look forward to seeing what she does next!

Lesley plans to use her degree to help other first-generation, low-income students overcome barriers that shouldn’t exist in the first place. HEAR is excited to invite Lesley to become a mentor for a future scholar when she has a couple of years work experience under her belt!

We all wish Lesley the best of luck with her next adventure. We know she will go far!