Katherine Trejo, a rising senior at George Mason University, is the most recent recipient of the Parrish Law Firm Annual Academic Scholarship. Katherine is a great example of who this $1,000 scholarship is designed to help — someone who is dedicated to helping others and changing the future
Katherine is a student in the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason. Her minor is Community Engagement with Displaced Populations. One day she hopes to work internationally helping children who have been trafficked. But, for now, Katherine is already helping students like herself.
Katherine has had to overcome many obstacles as a first-generation college student, and she plans to help others like herself succeed. The daughter of a single mother, who immigrated from Bolivia, Katherine is the first person in her family to attend college. A college counselor helped her fill out the FAFSA form for federal financial aid, a process that took four attempts.
A lot of people have helped Katherine along the way, and she is determined to return their service.
“I want to pay that back immediately, pay that back now,” she said.
College has been transformative for her, she wrote in her essay: “In my time at George Mason University, I transformed from a shy student to a student leader both on campus and in my own community, and have held several positions on executive boards of different organizations who advocate for marginalized communities.”
Her mother, Maria, is one of her most fervent supporters and also one of her toughest coaches, teaching her about “self-advocacy,’’ Katherine said. “My mom has always taught me; you have to be able to help yourself.”
Katherine was recently interviewed by the TV news show “60 Minutes” about the effects of COVID-19 on students like her.
She works with first-generation high school students who are interested in college. First-generation children are often the language and culture translators for their parents and must learn to maneuver through normal school passages without the support of a family member who has been there first.
But Katherine doesn’t want people to think that everyone is the same. “Everybody has a story and no two stories are the same,’’ she said.
The Parrish Law Firm is dedicated to helping clients who have been injured through someone else’s negligence. We are also passionate about helping our community, and this scholarship is just one way we give back.
Watch Katherine’s interview and read her essay here.