Friday, May 27, 2016
There’s something awesome and affirming about an outstanding student like Diane Sosa being able to attend an elite institution of higher education like the University of Chicago.
And here’s the unusual name that helped change her future – QuestBridge.
Now one of Stratford High’s 523 graduates, Diane stumbled across the nonprofit QuestBridge program last year. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based national organization connects outstanding youth from low-income families with highly ranked college and university scholarships and other National College Match opportunities.
Annually, QuestBridge estimates that up to 30,000 talented lower-income students in the United States who are academically qualified to attend the nation’s very best colleges and universities never apply to even one selective college.
Diane’s successful application process included a review of financial need, school grades and transcripts, personal essays and an array of interviews.
Her full-ride, four-year scholarship to Chicago is valued at almost $300,000. This private research university is one of the nation’s top ranked scholarly destinations and has an extensive record of producing business leaders and billionaires. Rating groups like U.S. News rank it among the top 10 universities in the world.
Her career dream is to be an emergency trauma surgeon. Accepted by Chicago as a program Early Admit, Diane found a perfect match in the university’s comparative human development major, with premed studies in anatomy, physiology, sociology and psychology. Medical school will be her next goal, she says.
Should she be admitted, University of Chicago’s Medical School ranks among the Top 10 medical schools in the nation.
“I want to be a doctor who helps people. I love anatomy and physiology, and I love a fast-paced environment and an area in which I could make a real difference,” she says.
At Stratford High, she was a student athletic trainer and active for many years with the Health Occupations Students of America group, or HOSA.
The oldest of four children, she attended Westwood Elementary and Cornerstone Academy.
Her mom, a native of Mexico, never went to college, but has encouraged her oldest daughter. Diane will be the first family member living in the United States to go to college. Her dad is a quiet, but strong pillar of support for her, too.
“I’m the oldest,” she says. “I’ve always had the role of being the one to do things. My mom always told me that I was smart and that I would do really great things.”
“I have met a lot of students in my career as an educator,” says her counselor, Vanessa Croix. “Some of them have been challenged with immense obstacles, and I sadly see them accept defeat instead of confronting the hardship.”
“However, Diane Sosa has an enormous willpower to succeed, to move past the obstacles and prove she is a survivor. She is truly one of a kind,” Croix says.
Among other accomplishments, Diane was Key Club president for two years. The student club volunteered for the Super Hero Run at CityCentre to benefit the Child Advocates nonprofit group, among other volunteer events.
Diane views the benefit run as one high point for her as a student leader, bringing together a community with young people in need.