Inversant parents and students usually come from all types of backgrounds and communities in Massachusetts. But for two families, in particular, much about their story is similar: both are from immigrant families, no one had ever attended college in their families, they were both raised by single and hard-working mothers, both graduated from Chelsea High School, and both were accepted into prestigious New England colleges.
Inversant alumni Stephanie Martinez and Samuel Hernandez shared how Inversant made an impact on their journey to gaining a higher education at the recent Chelsea 300 Club Breakfast.
Stephanie was Inversant’s first Boston University Compact Scholar which helped her financially to attend the university. This past May, Stephanie graduated from BU with a degree in Health Science and a minor in Medical Anthropology, and is currently interning with the Boston Public Health Commission. At the breakfast, she shared why she decided to go into the public health field:
“I chose a career in public health because growing up I saw the health disparities faced by the immigrant community in Chelsea,” says Martinez. “My family is from El Salvador, and when I visited, I saw firsthand the lack of access to health care and the overall reasons why my family had no choice but to migrate to the United States. It was very hard for my mom, a single mother, to keep up with the financial demands of rent, bills, and providing money for her family back in her home country. From a very young age, I wanted to help my mom and I knew that my education was the only solution.”
Sam Hernandez, a rising junior at Dartmouth College studying Biological Chemistry, also spoke to the audience about his experience as a first-generation college student. Born in El Salvador, Hernandez moved to Chelsea when he was just 7 years old.
“I grew up in a hard-working family with a single mom,” says Hernandez. “I would see my mom coming home in the evening from her two jobs, and she would tell me to work hard – that anything was possible in this country.
“I’m a DACA student so even applying to colleges was a challenge. But with the help of Inversant, I was able to navigate my way there.”
Both Stephanie and Sam’s mothers were in attendance at the event, and at the end of each of their speeches, joined them on stage.
“Chelsea is a community full of determined, hardworking people who understand the importance of education and want their children to succeed,” says Charlie Desmond, Inversant CEO. “These students are the definition of what is possible when you join a community together and bring parents into the conversation of higher education. We could not be more proud of Stephanie and Sam’s families for what they have been able to accomplish.”