When Harold Washington College student Marvens Saint-Juste was struggling to pay for his classes, he thought to himself, “there has to be a way [to take advantage of resources]—I just need to conduct the research.”

The research was quicker than he originally imagined. In fact, just a few minutes later, Marvens found the application for the PepsiCo Foundation’s Uplift Scholarship on the City Colleges homepage. He then saw that it was designed to help Black, African American, Hispanic, or Latinx students in five specific fields, including business. As an economics student, the opportunity seemed tailored to him. He applied right away, learning just a few weeks later that he had received the award.

For Marvens, getting that news was an “awesome” feeling. He called his family back in Haiti right away to celebrate. Of course, they were thrilled for him—it was a testament to all of the hard work and sacrifices he has made since he was a young boy.

When Marvens was growing up in Haiti, he and his mother would practice his schoolwork under candlelight because they had no working electricity at the time. She would always encourage him to come to the U.S. because she knew he’d have better opportunities here.

While Marvens is certainly making her proud, he wants to make his entire community back at home in Haiti proud, too. His career goal is to become an investment banker, and he wants to use his passion for the economic sector to help boost Haiti’s economy.

First, he plans to transfer to the University of Illinois at Chicago to earn his bachelor’s degree. Thanks to the Uplift Scholarship and One Million Degrees, a mentorship and comprehensive support program for students, he had the time he needed to focus on his studies in pursuit of that goal.

“After receiving the scholarship, I became an A-B student,” he said.

The good grades led to another scholarship for the transfer student—TheDream.US National Scholarship Award, which provides up to $33,000 a year to undocumented students to help them earn a bachelor’s degree.

“The journey continues!” said Marvens, as he looks forward to transferring to UIC. After all of the obstacles he’s faced—the trials and the triumphs—Marvens is proud to continue his education. There’s no doubt his family is proud, too.

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