Xochitl Romero comes from an impressive background.
Romero, 40, grew up in an environment that placed great importance on education, both in the classroom and out. Her mother was one of the first people of Chicano-descent to attend the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) in 1971, and is currently a professor there.
Romero’s father, though not college-educated, gained valuable life experience through his work defending Chicano rights during the Civil Rights Movement, even getting the chance to work, and be photographed with, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
Romero, however, did not have an easy path to academic success. Trying to balance raising four children (aged 15, 14, 9 and 8), working two jobs, and being enrolled in college full-time as a single mother eventually proved to be too much. Romero found herself having to put her education on hold on several occasions in order to deal with the other important responsibilities in her life.
When Romero was finally ready to go back to school, she came up against a few obstacles. Due to the time gaps in her education, and a lowered GPA from a class that was no longer offered, re-enrolling was a more arduous task than she had bargained for. Her hopes dimming, Romero began to wonder if she’d ever be able to finish school.
But that all changed in February of 2016, when Romero connected with Dr. William Mellion, Associate Director of College Completion. “If it hadn’t been for Dr. Mellion and his Student Persistence team, I never would have graduated from MSU Denver,” states Romero.
Graduation at last!
It was through the dedication of Dr. Mellion and his team that Romero was able to return to MSU Denver to complete the degree she began at UNC in 1996. The Student Persistence team, seeing how close Romero was to graduating, diligently researched the process to get Romero back into school. They, along with Dr. Mellion, put Romero in touch with the right people in admissions, as well as figuring out a way to clean up her transcripts and get her back on track.
After a 21-year struggle, Romero will graduate on Dec. 16, 2016 with her Bachelor’s degree in Chicano Studies and History. She plans to utilize the latter in a career in secondary education.
And Romero has some good advice for her fellow students who, like her, may be having trouble getting to commencement: “Never give up on your dreams, and keep pushing for the stars.”