Opportunity Scholars Program celebrates 33 graduates at luau

With 33 Opportunity Scholars scheduled to graduate in only a few days, excitement is in the air. Each of these graduates have faced unbelievable odds as first-generation students, making each of their accomplishments even more noteworthy.

Kicking off the semi-annual luau, each of the graduates received a lei necklace, a pair of flip flops, and sunglasses. After receiving these gifts, each graduate had the opportunity to talk about times they felt like quitting, give advice from their own experiences, and express gratitude towards the program. While many had once felt isolated at the University of Utah, the Opportunity Scholars program provided each of them with the community, resources, and mentors they needed to succeed.

As a former Opportunity Scholar, Angela Doan spoke about the realities of graduation and how to navigate the unexpected, tumultuous road ahead. Though she is now the Senior Advisor for Education in the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office, Doan has faced some tough challenges in her life. Describing the lowest point in her life and career, Doan spoke about being on the verge of homelessness, without a job, and drowning in student debt from her recently acquired law degree. On top of all of this, the stress was beginning to make her hair fall out.

While these hardships had taken a heavy toll on her, Doan found success through utilizing her network, expressing her needs, and being open-minded to different opportunities. By being more open, she was able to grow and obtain the job she has today. All of this led up to the present-day luau, where Doan urged the current and graduating Opportunity Scholars to take advantage of all of their resources in the program and at the David Eccles School of Business.

Congratulations to the largest group of graduating Opportunity Scholars yet!

View/Download Photos from the Luau

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