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Davis United World College Scholars

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Working to Share the Power of Opportunity

Even as she double-majors in Latin American studies and Spanish at Pitzer College, Sisa Tixicuro ’19 (Ecuador, Pearson UWC) works three jobs so she can send much-needed money to her family back home. “I want to open doors for my brothers and sisters,” says Sisa, neither of whose parents finished high school. “I have to build this path for my family.”

Sisa comes from an indigenous background in a region of the Andes where poverty and violence are all too present, and where the chance to learn English is generally for the more privileged only. When she left for UWC, she missed her flight to Canada because she couldn’t read the airport’s English signs.

Today she speaks with a fluent conviction. One of Sisa’s jobs is with Pitzer’s Native Youth to College program, which helps Native American youth prepare and apply for college. “What I like about the work is that we help people like me,” she says. “It’s very satisfying to see how these people want to succeed. They want to go to college.”

She also coordinates Spanish tutoring at Pitzer, prepares food at its Coop Cafe, and volunteers to work with low-income children for the college’s JumpStart program. With three younger siblings, “I am kind of the model, to show them that it is possible to follow your dreams,” Sisa says. “You have to put in a lot of effort, but it is possible.”

Someday, she hopes to work with indigenous children back home. “I would like to create something that would gather these kids that don’t really have a chance, and give them an opportunity.”

For Sisa, the chance to go to UWC and then college “didn’t only change my life — it changed the life of my family. And I think that’s a beautiful thing.”