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Humans of the U: Evelyn Cervantes

“I am a non-traditional student and a parent. Because of my various intersecting identities, there were so many barriers I faced even just thinking about attending college. However, at the University of Utah, I could see people like me, and that made the dream not feel so far away.

As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, politics has a direct impact on my family’s migration story. These experiences drew me to double major in international studies and political science. I also double minored in management and Latin American studies and earned a certificate in international relations. The experience of my parents and my family as they came to this land shaped my interest in systems and organizational change. However, to figure out how to sustainably impact change, I first needed to understand how our countries of origin and the rest of the world interact. To accomplish this, I focused on both the human and political aspects of my studies.

The most lifechanging part of my time at the U was the study abroad program I did in Puebla, Mexico. I didn’t think I could study abroad because I didn’t have the money for it and I didn’t feel like I had the time or capacity as a full-time employee and parent! But with the help of scholarships, I was able to participate in this one-month program. It was amazing. I got to learn about all of these cool social welfare policies that Mexico has. I got to meet tons of different people and it opened my eyes to how easy studying abroad can be and how these experiences shouldn’t be limited to folks who feel like they have the income to do it. Studying abroad is really something everyone can do. 

After graduation, one of my next steps is to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship to earn a master’s degree in Mexico in either international politics or political science. In the future, I hope to work abroad, whether with a private company or through the government to gain the experience I need to come back to Utah and make a meaningful impact here. 

To other non-traditional students considering getting a degree, I would tell them it is going to be so much harder than they think. But there are so many people who are willing to lend a hand when you just ask for help. Even though there were many things going on in my life while I was earning my degree, there was always someone who could help me figure out what to do next.”

Evelyn Cervantes, double major in international studies and political science ’24