My name is Ashley Hernandez, and I am a senior at Metropolitan State University of Denver seeking a degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology with a minor in Trauma Studies. I’m excited to graduate this spring and kick off the next stage of my journey!

Years ago, my parents immigrated to the United States with dreams of finding better opportunities. Watching them work hard every day to support our family has inspired me for a lifetime. I am now the first in my household to attend a four-year university, and I want so badly to fulfill their dream by achieving my own.

But it hasn’t always been easy; I confronted the same challenges as many first-generation students. Though my parents were hardworking, I still faced a towering financial burden. Worse, I wasn’t entirely prepared for new experiences like class registration, financial aid forms, scholarship applications or even making friends. However, after speaking with my advisor and learning more about the resources the University provides, I knew I had chosen the right school.

MSU Denver offers many services and programs specifically designed for first-generation students like me, including tutoring, writing workshops, meet and greets with professors, and so much more. And thanks in large part to supporters like you, the MSU Denver Roadrunner Promise filled the gap in tuition costs that my federal and state grants did not cover, allowing me to avoid taking costly loans. It felt like my dreams were within reach for the first time.

My experience at MSU Denver has shaped me into the woman I am today. I plan to continue my studies after graduating by earning a law degree and pursuing a career in criminal justice. Though it won’t be easy, I hope to become a criminal prosecutor and eventually a federal judge someday. I know YOU made this possible, and I could never thank you enough.

Thank you for all that you do for MSU Denver!

Ashley Vanessa Hernandez ’24
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