More than a decade ago, as part of ACT’s 50th anniversary celebration, ACT established the ACT Scholars Program, as part of a pair of endowments to nurture the academic talent of graduate and community college students at the University of Iowa and Kirkwood Community College. These two institutions share ACT’s passion for helping all students achieve their ambitions in college and their careers. ACT emphasized scholarships for students from populations for which the cost of higher education could have presented a significant barrier to college access and accomplishments.
We will feature ACT Scholar blogs regularly, to hear their stories and learn about their college-going journeys. Learn more about the ACT Scholar program.
What was your motivation for going to college and earning a degree?
I knew that I wanted to go to college and continue my education because it was something that my dad couldn’t afford for himself. My dad is from a poor, small town in Mexico where at the age of eight he immigrated with my abuela looking for the American dream, leaving behind his siblings. When he arrived, he had to learn English quickly to translate for my abuela, while still living in poverty. When he had me, he pushed me to do my best in school and has always encouraged me to keep studying. His encouragement soon became my motivation for going to college.
Who inspired or supported you in your college-going journey?
My dad wasn’t the only person who supported me through my education journey, in fact everyone in my family encourages me. The biggest supporter was my abuela because when she was growing up, she stopped going to school at a young age. She couldn’t afford to put her kids through college. My abuela raised me all through my childhood and encouraged me every day to learn; whether that was learning Spanish, the topics in class, or how to cook. When I graduated high school my abuela was really proud of all that I had accomplished; I told her I received the ACT scholarship for college, she was even more proud.
What are you currently studying? What degree will you earn?
When it came to what I wanted to study, I was undecided at first, so I decided to attend Kirkwood Community College where I will earn a liberal arts degree. Somewhere along my college education path, I decided I wanted to study math and I realized that accounting was where I wanted to focus. After Kirkwood, I will transfer to the University of Northern Iowa to continue my accounting studies. I know that although I’ll have to leave my family behind as I move to a new city and a new college, they will still support and motivate me to be what I choose to be.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I also know that by being given this scholarship has made me more motivated and determined to not only do well in school, but to be a better representative for those who granted me the scholarship as well as those children who have a parent who immigrated, or have that desire to go to college in honor of the family. I want to thank ACT and everyone involved with the scholarship for this opportunity and to tell children who look like me, or have a background like me, that it is possible to become who you want to be.
Sage Rodriguez is currently finishing up her sophomore year in college. She will earn a liberal arts degree from Kirkwood Community College then plans to transfer to the University of Northern Iowa to study accounting. She is a Cedar Rapids native and really enjoys studying math along with other STEM subjects.