Once a child who sat under the stars, marveling over the wonders of space, IIBA client Moises Bautista now dreams of working for NASA. A student at Cañada College, Moises excels in his Mechanical Engineering courses, but a question mark looms over his future, a question mark that IIBA is trying to help him erase.
With IIBA’s assistance, Moises, who came to the U.S. as a teenager to escape the growing dangers in his hometown in Mexico, has applied for a U Visa. This visa would enable him to obtain a social security number, to apply for student loans and financial aid, and to pay resident tuition rates when he transfers from Cañada College to a four-year university.
While he awaits the results of his U Visa application, Moises does not let the uncertainty slow his progress toward his dream. Ambitious, enthusiastic, and dedicated to his education, he works hard in his classes. His outstanding academics earned him a ticket to the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Student Leadership Conference, where he and six other students represented his school.
Moises’ vision extends beyond personal achievement, though. On campus he serves as president of Bridging Hispanic Minds to Success (BHMS), an organization that encourages ESL students to achieve a higher education. Moises wants students to know that their educational goals don’t have to stop at learning English. “For some people, all they want is food on the table and they’re fine. That’s all that matters. But people can try to do something more, get educated.” By visiting classrooms, fundraising for scholarships, and arranging campus forums–including an event where IIBA’s Sheryl Muños-Bergman spoke to students about their rights, Moises offers students the inspiration and information they need to set and reach their goals.
In so many ways, Moises is no different than any other high-achieving, civic-minded college student. When he speaks of the future, his dreams glimmer in his eyes. But while Moises thrives at school, his undocumented status limits what he can accomplish. “My friends can get internships,” he explains, “but without a social security number, I can’t. When I transfer to a four-year college, tuition will cost much more for me. Since I can’t get financial aid or loans, I don’t know what I’ll do.”
Despite this uncertainty, Moises’ drive remains strong. So far from the hometown he left behind, where “robberies, shootings, and killings were a daily part life,” Moises wants to make the most of the opportunities before him. “I want to be a role model for my family,” he says. “I don’t see myself at home, watching TV. I see myself as a professional, helping others whenever I can.” With IIBA’s help, hopefully Moises can make that dream a reality.