Elizabeth Espinoza Torrez is Tatiana’s cousin, and lives next door to her in the Cerro de Hule neighborhood. Elizabeth is a serious student with a quick smile and an easy laugh. She has received wonderful grades; her most recent report card for her second year of secondary school was a 95%. She was quick to tell us it would have been a 96%, but she had points taken off since she has asthma, and can’t participate in physical education. We were quick to let her know we don’t care about that!
Elizabeth’s parents are unemployed. Her father works off and on as a bricklayer, or in the fields. Sometimes there is a fair amount of work, and sometimes there is very little. He may earn as little as $500 annually or as much as $2000. This is supposed to take care of a family of four, including Elizabeth’s 19 year old brother.
Elizabeth wants to be a biologist or a veterinarian. We were immediately interested in her because she is very down to earth and open. She doesn’t flirt with the camera like so many girls learn to do at an early age. She wears regular clothes and still loves Winnie the Pooh. She’s proud of the art that adorns her bedroom walls, most of which she made. During our visit to her home, she proudly showed us around. The home is very simple, but clean and tidy. Elizabeth has her own room, which is about the cleanest and neatest bedroom we’ve seen in any of our girls’ houses!
Here is Elizabeth’s letter of application to us:
Hello, I hope this finds you healthy and I hope that you have success in your work.
I am writing to let you know the reason for my studies, and above all my dream, for which I am making this request for help. I am the daughter of parents with very few economic resources since they are unemployed. Thanks to God and to them, who have placed their trust in me I am studying in my second year of secondary school and my grades have been anywhere from 84 to 100. My dream is to be a professional and move ahead in supporting my family.
May God bless you and strengthen you to continue helping, and that you can do it with me, since I will be very grateful to you and I promise to follow your rules.
Signed: Elizabeth Espinoza Torrez
When we visited Elizabeth to let her know that she had received a scholarship, she had the best reaction. Her face lit up like a light bulb and she actually squealed! We’re happy to be able to help Elizabeth with her last three years of high school, and we have no doubt she’ll be as successful as she has been in the past. Welcome to the ONE family, Elizabeth! We’re delighted to have you join us!
Elizabeth sent us her report card in July and she achieved an 87% average! We are so proud of her and we asked her how she feels. She says she’s really proud of herself, and every day she is learning more and more and it is making more and more sense. We are so glad she’s healthy again, and loving school!
Elizabeth sent us a letter for the end of her last year. it is so clear that she is just thriving in school. Despite some health issues, and the inevitable issues with professors, she has really flourished and we couldn’t be prouder of her.
Hello, I hope you are in good health, through my computer I am writing to you to let you know how my college year went.
Here are the answers to your questions.
This school year was a year of great success, competitions, daily struggles and a lot of learning. Well, among the many things I was able to learn, the one that makes me most proud was seeing more contact with patients and being able to give them a result; but among all these, the most beautiful experience was seeing a child with down syndrome cared for when he was only 1 year old, without a doubt a great challenge since they are characterized by being quite restless, but it was one of the experiences that is most present to me because since they prepare us for that, we know how we can deal with people with different capacities and abilities and be able to give them the attention to complete their lab tests.
Among all the good things we also have difficult or bad ones, the most difficult experience I had was that because of a mistake of the professor they told me that I left the biochemistry class with 57 points. That was the most difficult and hard experience because I had never felt that sadness and thinking that I had let you, my family and me down, but later I was able to go talk to the professor and they corrected my grade with a fairly low 61 but I felt relief and knew that in the next set I could raise it and that’s how it was.
One of the lessons that I would like to share with you was when they taught us to make bacterial cultures, from how to isolate the bacteria, in this case it was that with a sterile swab we took a sample from a partner and then we cultivated it in agar, in order to know what species of bacteria was present.
My plans have always been to be independent and help those who need me, to take good care of my family who have always been helping me and as I said before I want to work so that I can have my own laboratory where I will give my best services and help to people with limited resources, also those people who need an exam read to them that they want me to guide them will be one of the things that I would love to do the most to be able to help with all my heart.
During these years of study, I have learned that being able to help is one of the things that I like the most because it is nice to see the faces of the patients when you give them a positive answer that you can help them to take things calmly and optimistically.
I hope that in these words you have the answer to your questions. Thank you very much in advance for your time.
I love you very much because without your help today I would not be here having all the necessary tools to be able to become the future graduate Elizabeth Espinoza.
Elizabeth was not feeling particularly well when Christa visited her in December. She was getting ready for her last few exams of her third year in the university, and for the past week or so she had been struggling with terrible stomach pains. When Christa arrived, she was drawing her own blood to take to the clinic for analysis. Despite her clear discomfort and worry, the second Christa asked her about her year and her studies, she lit up like a Christmas tree and started describing how much she loves her classes and the subject she is studying. She was animated and vivacious, gesturing and smiling and laughing and saying that she has no regrets whatsoever about her choice of study, and that her classes “me FASCINAN!” (they fascinate her!)
She loves most of her professors, saying that many of them are fantastic. They help the students, tell stories, give examples, etc. She also said some other classes are very boring, and all the professors do is talk. She loves her labs and experimenting. She said that back in September/October she had a little problem (all the students did) with one professor who gave extremely low grades to everyone in the class for a test. Her mother said she was crying and so upset that she thought she’d failed a class, and she’d never failed a class in her life. But her final exams went really well, even with the challenging teacher, and she passed the year with an 82.5% average. We are so excited that she loves her studies so much.
Elizabeth is halfway through the third year of her studies. Her most recent grade card shows that she is taking classes in analysis with instruments, biochemistry, genetics, immunology, an elective in emotional intelligence, uroanalysis, and an elective in health administration. She is still doing well; her best grades were in her two electives, and she struggles with genetics and instrument analysis, but she’s still loving her classes. She says they are really challenging, but she loves the challenge. Her costs have gone up a bit this year, since as she advances, she needs more money for supplies and other school needs. We’re so glad she is still loving school and thriving, even though she is—as with most college students—hardly sleeping!
Elizabeth is starting her third year of university studies. In response to our request for a year-end letter, she sent us a detailed account of every expense she had for the previous year—really impressive! She also sent us a letter describing a little of her life in school: the challenges and the accomplishments.
To: One New Education
From: Elizabeth Espinoza Torrez
Hi, I hope you are well and I wish you success in all your daily work that makes it possible for you to help us and have great confidence in each of us (students).
I am writing to you tell you about some moments during my 2021 school year, in which I put all of my dedication and efforts to be able to complete it. I can tell you that on my first day in the laboratory I was able to produce a good sample for my lab partner. Everything was a great success in the moment, but then 10 minutes before the laboratory ended, I had an asthma attack and I had to leave immediately. I was taken to receive first aid, but I did not even know it was happening because I was unconscious. Because of this, I had to miss 2 days of class for medical checks. Thanks to God, I was ok and it was a temporary attack.
When I returned to my daily class routine it was my first day to visit the cadaver lab. In this place, there are human cadavers where we study everything including arteries, veins, organs and the aortic (respiratory) system. This was very cool and I acquired a lot of new information, suggestions, and strategies which will help me throughout my career.
I experience a difficult moment when I thought all was lost. It was in an analytical chemistry class and I barely passed the first test. It was a class where I had a very hard time and I put a huge amount of effort into the second test, but I still had a very low cumulative score. I thought I was not going to pass. I told my family and they encouraged me and told me that yes I could do it, and that I shouldn’t give up. For a whole week, I was very stressed thinking about whether I was going to pass or fail and how I would explain this to all of you who have so much faith in me. But on December 9, they told me that our grades were published, and I was trembling and crying while I looked over them. When I saw that I passed with a 73, I shouted with joy and gave so much thanks to God. This was a great lesson to have greater confidence in myself and not assume that anything is certain or take anything for granted. This is something I have been working personally and as a professional, and it is what I hope to do next.
I want to complete my studies as these experiences I have had in the hospital have been so wonderful. Things like seeing people trust in you, how you can help calm down the children, and always looking for strategies to help you complete your objectives. This is the environment I will be in when I am working.
With nothing more to add, I bid you farewell, wishing that God may bless you and give you strength to continue helping.
Christa was able to visit Elizabeth when she went to Nicaragua in December. Elizabeth was still in school, and working extremely hard. She had such a sparkle and joy about being in her classes, and she said that everything was worth it even if it was really really hard. She also posed for us in her lab outfits that she wears to school. She looks truly the professional!
We have included a couple of videos from the year-end party we held to celebrate our graduates and all the students. In one, Elizabeth offers advice to the new graduates. Although you may not be able to understand her Spanish, it still comes through that she is so excited about her studies, and for the new graduates and where they will go in their future. She sounds like any college student anywhere: tired, happy, overwhelmed, and excited about her studies. The other video illustrates that no matter how far along she is in her university studies, she still giggles like a little girl. The students were trying to thank all of the donors and the board of directors for all the help they’ve received over the years. It didn’t go quite as planned, but you get the idea!
Elizabeth is deep in her studies and although her classes are challenging, she loves it! Her most recent grade card shows classes in research methods, general chemistry, phlebotomy, mental health, quality control and English, among others! Her overall grade average was 80%. She is really enjoying her classes and we are very very proud of her efforts.
Elizabeth sent us her application for a post-secondary scholarship, and we are so impressed. We’ve added it here so you can read it. What an amazing young woman, and we are so delighted to accept her for a post-secondary scholarship to help her finish her last four years of the university. Congratulations, Elizabeth!
SECTION 1: Your personal experiences
What qualities and attributes make you special?
Among the qualities and attributes that distinguish me and make me special that I have always been told about, and which have helped me be myself and strengthen myself as a person: I have always been sociable, kind, caring, intelligent, a good friend, charismatic and fun. I always look for the positive side in everything.
Who is someone you admire and why?
I have always admired my mother. I admire her because she has always been a hard-working woman who fights for what she has. Though she doesn’t have a degree from a school or university she works hard to get ahead and faces problems head on. I admire her abilities and skills, her capacity to love, the values that she has used to show [me] a good example of a woman who struggles to care for and improve life for her family.
Describe an experience from your life and how it has changed the way you think about the world.
An experience that has affected my life and my personal development has been being separated from my brothers and sisters. I have not been able to see or be with them often because they had to look for work so they could have a better life. What has affected me even more is that my sister is now a mother, and I have two beautiful nieces/nephews, but I can’t share with them during their early years.
What is a big challenge you have faced, and how did you overcome it?
A challenge I’ve faced: has been going to study in Leon and being separated from my parents because I have to spend the entire week in Leon in the dorm studying. I have to share with and know how to have a positive relationship with the 3 other young women who are my roommates, which is a challenge that I am facing. I am overcoming this challenge with perseverance knowing that this is for my personal development and success.
SECTION 2: Your influences
Who has been your biggest influence and why?
The person who has most influenced my life has been my mother. She has been my example to follow and she continues to push me to work hard and progress in life. She does this by helping me with her advice, her economic support and with her love. She has always understood me and encouraged me to keep going and not let myself stop trying. I feel that I am the person I am today thanks to her.
How has education contributed to who you are today?
My education has helped me so much. It has helped me grow as a person, it has enriched my knowledge and understanding, as well as my values. My education helps me contribute to society by sharing my abilities and skills. [Because of education] I know it is very important to support love and harmony amongst different people.
How has your community / education affected your personal growth?
In my personal growth, my school has affected me deeply. Not all of the teachers believed in me. There were times when in a competition or contest, they wanted other students to win because they favored other students rather than me. This has affected me because it has made me doubt my own abilities many times.
SECTION 3: Your Career/ Course of Study
Why and what do you want to study at university?
I want to study at the UNAN-Leon because it is a nationally recognized university, and one of the best universities in Nicaragua. The major I am studying is Clinical Bioanalysis.
Why does this profession interest you?
I want to study this major because I am interested in learning about bacteria and how to do things like glucose and fecal tests, and other medical examinations. This will allow me to help my community by carrying out tests to learn what kind of illness someone is suffering from.
Describe your goals for your future. How will this course of study help you reach those goals?
My future goals are to have my own home and have my own practice or office to complete [laboratory or health] tests and examinations. My studies will help me because through them I will be able to have the capacity to do tests well for people and offer them good service.
How will this career help your community?
This profession will be a huge help for me because by doing this, I will be able to do free tests and read the results of the tests [to members of my community]. I will be able to do vaccinations and injections, and in addition, people in my community will have a friend and neighbor in solidarity with them.
Why will you be good at this career?
This profession is very good because we are part of the medical family. We help people by knowing different illnesses, how serious the condition is. This career is a successful one because with hard work and dedication, you know you are helping and contributing to bettering the population.
How will your university studies help you reach your career goal?
My university studies will help me reach my professional goals because they will help to prepare me to be a good professional and above all, be a bioanalyst. By being a good and professional person, I can reach goals, and I want to be a bioanalyst because it will help me have a degree and to build my own home.
SECTION 4: Challenges
What kinds of challenges do you think might occur for you during your studies (for example: school work, your life, your family, your health, etc.)?
Among the challenges I may have are my health problems. I get sick frequently. Also, one of my family members could pass away, there could be economic problems, and I could also miss class, for example if the bus doesn’t go to Leon.
Describe how you might respond to some of these challenges so you can continue studying.
The best way to respond to these is by communicating with my professors about the situation. It’s important that I receive their assignments so I can continue learning, and so I don’t miss any, to be able to continue to progress with my studies.
SECTION 5: The Future
Describe your goals and where you imagine yourself to be in life in the next three years, five years, and 10 years.
Well, my goals in the next 5 years are to graduate from university. Then I want to work for the next 3 or so years and then be working on building my house. I would like to have space in my house where I can build my laboratory. I plan to always live here in El Sauce, Nicaragua, but maybe after having my house for a couple of years, I’d like to travel to other places such as Costa Rica where I was born.
How will you use your education and your career to help other girls and women with their education?
The main way that I would help other women and girls is by having my laboratory. I would give work to other people who are also specialists in this field. I also would support 1 or 2 girls with their studies, and give them encouragement to continue on. I could even tell students from the different schools about how I worked to overcome my challenges.
What do you think is the biggest challenge to your community, and if possible, how could you help your community overcome this challenge?
The biggest challenge to my community is having sufficient resources for the education of all of the children because most families have 2 to 5 children in each home. Providing enough school supplies for all of them is very difficult and it results in many children having to work / child labor. The best way to help them is looking for ways to educate and share information with them [women] so they can learn how to protect themselves and not have too many children. Raising awareness about the potential hurt they cause [by having many children] and the risks that the kids run by selling in the streets is important. Oftentimes the eldest child does not study because they are taking care of the younger children or they have to work to eat.
SECTION 6: The Scholarship
Why do you think you should receive this scholarship? Tell us about you, not your circumstances.
First of all, I have always wanted to make it to the point of having a profession and a degree. These have always motivated me to be a good student, to work hard, and to not let myself be defeated by the first obstacle I encounter. Since I have been studying, there have been so many challenges, and I have always taken my problems as another motive to keep going. I have always wanted my parents to be proud of me and to feel good when they see my grades. I want them to hear that their daughter is one of the best students that [the school] has.
What makes you stand out from another applicant who is a ONE scholarship recipient or recent graduate?
By completing my studies in clinical bioanalysis I will be able to work, and I will be able to do the year of social work [required for medical students in Nicaragua]. [I deserve this] because I have demonstrated that I am a responsible person who is committed to my goals and my studies, and more than anything, to my future. I know I can receive this scholarship because of my excellent performance as student and as an individual.
Elizabeth is in school! Schools in Nicaragua are not closed due to the Coronavirus, which is a little concerning. But we know she is loving being in school and we’re very happy about that. She lives in Leon through the week, and then travels home to El Sauce on the weekends, since her living situation doesn’t allow her to stay there all the time. She will be applying for a scholarship from us for a little money for school supplies, her lab coat, transportation and a little food. We have no doubt she’ll do beautifully on her application!
Elizabeth did beautifully on her entrance exam for the university and she is entering the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua in Leon (UNAN-Leon) to study clinical bioanalysis. She will be working in a lab, as a technician, doing tests, blood work, etc. We could not be more proud of her. She’ll be studying daily and living in Leon, so we hope we see her when we come back to visit!
Well, she did it! Elizabeth graduated with top honors in her class. Her final grades were an impressive 96%, but she was also involved in a lot of extracurricular things. She won first place in the state for a “knowledge” competition, and she was mentioned at the graduation ceremony for this honor. In addition, her class project won first place and sits in a place of honor (and great usefulness) in the main school office.
Elizabeth is a delightful, warm, and funny person, who loves laughing, and wants to help people. With her grades, we have no doubt she will be able to find a scholarship. She wants to study architecture or clinical bioanalysis. She really wants to study architecture, but the national university in Managua is the only public university that offers that course of study. She really doesn’t want to live that far from home. She could go to a private university in Leon, which is closer, but that would cost too much, and they don’t offer scholarships. We are hoping she’ll find a scholarship, but if she can’t, we will help her however we can. Whatever she does, we want it to be something she really loves and wants to study.
Her final letter to the foundation talked about these plans and her hopes for the future.
El Sauce, 06 December, 2019
From: Elizabeth Espinoza Torrez
I am happy to greet you by way of these words, which I will send to you to tell you about myself and my goals.
I feel that I have been a young woman who is very willing to meet the challenges that life presents, that I want to move ahead, and that I try to pass the tests. Although everything didn’t always turn our gloriously during my secondary school years, I always tried to be capable and willing to say yes whenever I could. I am not perfect because we all commit errors, but one has to learn from those because we always have to fight for what we want, for that which one really cares about and to want to comply. I’ve always thought that one has to be positive to fight and move ahead.
Because I have always wanted to move forward here I am moving forward to study for my future. I want to be a professional to help whoever I can. This is my focus, I want to study clinical bio-analysis to be able to help discover illnesses that affect the health of humans. Although my other plan is to study architecture, something that has really caught my attention. I can try to do that as well because it’s good to learn a little bit of everything.
Many thanks, and the achievement of having graduated is ours because all of us could together. Many thanks.
I love you, Elizabeth
During her graduation, Elizabeth simply glowed. She walked to the church for the mass with her mother and exited the church with her father, and then both parents accompanied her to the school. Her father walked her up to receive her diploma. They are both so justifiably proud of her, as are we – her proud tias (aunties)!
Below is a video of Elizabeth approaching the gate of the school in the graduation parade. She waves and smiles at the camera as she enters the gate to get ready for her graduation ceremony.
Elizabeth’s family hosted the graduation/end of year celebration party, since they have a large front area to their house that can hold a lot of people. As ever, Elizabeth was the life of the party; she likes to dance and play all kinds of games!
Elizabeth’s family hosted the graduation/end of year celebration party, since they have a large front area to their house that can hold a lot of people. As ever, Elizabeth was the life of the party; she likes to dance and play all kinds of games!
Well, Elizabeth passed her penultimate year in school with flying colors. She received a 93% and as a reward, and as one of the highest-ranking students in her class, she received the honor of being one of the flag bearers for the graduation parade. She was also the flag bearer for the September 14 town parade, and she is justifiably very proud of her accomplishment. Elizabeth is simply a spark, ready to ignite the world!
She happily showed Meghan and Christa pictures of her first-place project for a class: a Minion garbage can, which sits proudly at the high school. Elizabeth did not know that Meghan and Christa are HUGE fans of the Minions, so we were all pretty happy about that.
She has become a simply lovely young woman. She is now talking about engineering as a possibility, but we have no doubt that whatever she chooses, it will be a success. Next year, she will be one of our graduates, and she (nor we) can’t wait!
Elizabeth’s letter to us talked about her proud achievements in 2018, and her hopes for her last year of high school. We had a long talk with her about planning for what follows, so her letters to us for her next year are going to be a little different, and ask her to do some research and investigating into what she wants to do after high school and how she will go about doing it.
El Sauce, 3 December, 2018
For: ONE New Education
From: Elizabeth Espinoza
Hi, I hope that you are all in good health.
In this manner, I am pleased to tell you that my 2018 school year was, thanks to God, very successful since I was able to obtain first place with a project to make a garbage can in the form of a Minion in the subject of Education in Learning, Undertaking, and Prospering.
I am hoping with faith in God that 2019 will be the same or better than 2018. I only have a little fear or concern about not staying with my work group or they change my shift.
In 2019 I want to have many achievements and learn even more and I anxiously await my graduation. And I want to complete my goal of participating in the dance competition that is done every year.
With this little note, and sending you all the best blessings, I say goodbye.
Elizabeth is rocking her fourth year of high school! She received a 98% average at the semester and, like any perfectionist, she says she wants to improve her grades! The great thing about this is that, if she can keep her grades this high through her last year of high school, she will have no trouble getting a scholarship to go to the university.
We received her mid-year letter to us. For this letter, we asked the girls to describe something they accomplished this year, something they’d like to accomplish for the rest of the year, and to tell us their favorite story or legend from Nicaragua. We’re learning a lot!
Here’s Elizabeth’s letter to us:
El Sauce, 4th of September, 2018
Hi Christa, I hope this finds you healthy at the side of all the people surrounding you.
I want to tell you that I am healthy, and I feel happy and proud since I have accomplished a lot of achievements in this school year.
Thanks to god, to my performance, and to all of you who have facilitated things, I achieved a 95% academic excellence as the second best student in my class. And thanks to that accomplishment I was able to have better performance in my studies and carry the flag (in the annual parade).
I also had the experience of dressing up as a clown for the school’s birthday, and I won with a group of friends and so I was able to help myself in my class average.
I thank all of you so much for your help and I will give the most of myself so that you all continue to feel happy to be able to help me. May god bless you, I love you all and thank you.
During this coming year I want to make my grades a little better to be able to achieve academic excellence and be on the honor roll for our school and to be able to represent it in the parade on September 14 by carrying the flag.
During this year, I have done many things that I never imagined I would do. I had the opportunity to dance in a civic performance. I was able to develop a project that was one of the best in our geography class. We made a volcano and it was one of the best.
The legend that I like and that I shared in my English class is that of the Serpent King.
This tells that there was a king and a queen and the king was very jealous of the queen because she was the most beautiful. The queen went out walking on the banks of a river but the king sent his soldiers to follow her. Suddenly one day a serpent came out of the river and the soldiers ran to tell the king. The queen chatted with the serpent and brought it food, but the king got very angry and killed her. The serpent was very sad. It got angry and caused a flood that washed away the king and killed him. Every since then, the people have worshiped the Serpent King.
Elizabeth had a big year, finishing off her third year of high school with an 87% average, and celebrating her 15th birthday. Of course had a quinceañera, the big celebration when a girl turns 15. She’s still very much focused on art and her studies, and still has that million-watt smile that we love so much.
For her year end letter this year, we asked Elizabeth to draw an outline of her hand. Inside it she was to write things that she liked about herself, or that she was proud of. Outside it, she was to write things she’d like to accomplish or do this coming year or in the future. Here’s her piece of art! Inside her hand she has written things like “I like to cook,” “I like to study,” “I am pretty outside and sensitive inside.” Outside her hand she has written things like, “I want to live a happy life,” “I want to be very generous and responsible.” We hope she’ll hang onto this and add to it when she feels like it.