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Giving to LEAD

Lisa Garcia was able to attend U-M when she received a LEAD Scholarship.
Read time: 2 minutes

The moment the Alumni Association offered me a LEAD Scholarship is the moment I said yes to becoming a Michigan Wolverine.

I was born in Guatemala and moved to California in 2007, when I was 10 years old. College was always a goal at home, but because my parents were educated in Guatemala, the path was not necessarily clear. It was late into my junior year of high school when I first learned what the SAT was. I had one month to register and take the test to meet the deadline. I was taking all honors and AP courses because I was capable and I liked the challenge, but I didn’t realize it would benefit my college application.

Fast forward a few years, and I am a first-generation LEAD Scholar in my junior year at a world-class university. I am pursuing my dream of working on sustainable and equitable economic development in third-world countries. I wake up every day with the opportunity and resources to do anything, in a place where wild ideas are met by a culture of general willingness to help.

I’ve discovered a passion for travel and the excitement of experiencing unfamiliar places. I participated in two fully funded study abroad programs in Cuba and Palestine and Israel. This spring break, I traveled to London through the Barger Leadership Institute to shadow alumni across different industries. Through the LEAD network, I landed my first internship at a California solar company, I’ve had dinner alongside notable alumni like Mike Muse, and I’ve had the opportunity to spend a weekend at the Google headquarters.

As I reflect on each of these experiences, I know none of them would have been conceivable without my LEAD Scholarship.

I am so incredibly grateful for the generosity and faith of LEAD donors who made my college experience possible as well as the experiences of so many fellow LEAD Scholars. Because of them, the LEAD community ensures that minority and first-generation students feel they have a place where they belong and can excel.

I am very aware of how many people have made sacrifices so that I can be at Michigan, and I am beyond grateful for it. I’ve made it my mission to take advantage of every opportunity as a way to honor this faith in me and I look forward to the day where I can give back, too.


The LEAD Scholars Program provides scholarships to African-American, Hispanic, and Native American students who have been accepted into U-M. Learn how you can support these talented students with a gift to LEAD and, thus, help create a more diverse campus.

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