California State Polytechnic University, PomonaCSU Trustee Rebecca D. Eisen and James Eisen Scholar
Growing up in a rough neighborhood was a daily challenge for Natalie Rivera, but her greatest challenge came at the age of 22. Natalie’s 28-year-old husband, Ricky, was diagnosed with cancer and given six weeks to live. Delaying her dream of earning a bachelor's degree, Natalie nursed her husband through what became a long and cruel battle that ended three years later.
Staying true to the promise she made to her husband, Natalie is now working on her bachelor's degree in sociology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She maintains a 3.26 GPA while attending classes at night, working with special needs students in the day and interning with a program to assist women who have been incarcerated.
Natalie intends to pursue a master's degree in social work with the goal of becoming a social worker and opening non-profit homes for at-risk juveniles on probation—providing a stable environment with rules, regulations and love that will help them succeed.