From foster care to a Fulbright Scholarship

This young Latinx woman has quite the impressive resume. Dean’s List every semester at the University of Cincinnati. Bachelor’s degree in international affairs and environmental studies. Winner of a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to study abroad.

I’m describing Isabel Slonneger, a first-generation college student. She spent some of her teen years in foster care. After she told her story at a recent UC event, the provost was prompted to say he was blown away.

What sets Isabel apart is her willingness to ask for help when she needs it, her refusal to make excuses and her humility, said one of her mentors, Kimberly Rhyan. She worked, took on leadership roles and pushed herself.

“There’s never an excuse with her,” she said. “She takes on responsibility. She just went for it. And she’s just such a good-hearted individual.”

Isabel will spend the next year in Spain working as a teaching assistant. When she finishes her Fulbright year, she plans to return to the United States and settle in Washington, D.C., where she wants to work in sustainable development or possibly join the foreign service. The Fulbright goes to about 1,600 U.S. students a year.

She will be the keynote speaker at our annual Celebration of Dreams event next month for teens in foster care who graduate from high school. We think she’ll inspire and impress them just as she has us.

by Jane Prendergast

Filed Under: From the Director, News