Danielle Trujillo Sandoval, a second year student at Queens University of Charlotte, is committed to working with historically disadvantaged high school students in order to expand their knowledge and conceptions of academic and professional possibilities post high school. She attributes her own success in college to a trusted mentor who made her believe that college attendance was possible for her, and she wants passionately to help cultivate that empowerment in others. Danielle created META, Motivating Education Through Awareness, an organization that seeks to provide "intimate mentorship" for historically disadvantaged students in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a bilingual Latina with her own experiences with this struggle, Danielle is both motivated and capable of making a real impact in the lives of the city's young people.
I grew up in one of the most diverse cities in the United States: New York. In high school, I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. This city has a notorious history of segregated schools. This change in demographics exposed me to the reality that there is a lack of resources and opportunities for minorities. As a result, I began a pilot program called Motivating Education Through Awareness (META). META aims to reach out to the students who feel like they have no future and think that college is not an option for them. Here we work with juniors in economically disadvantaged high schools until they are done with their first year of college. We provide mentorship and resources to aid in the process of applying to colleges and in students' transition from high school to college. Through intimate mentorship, we strive to cultivate trust and a safe space. The process is not over after students have been accepted into a two or four-year institution. The formal programming ends after students' first year, but we want the mentorship to be lifelong. It is my duty to give back to my community to empower others the way I have been empowered