Edith Alanis Guijosa

Edith Alanis moved to the United States from Mexico when she was seven years old. Her mom graduated from the equivalent of high school in Mexico, but she was not allowed to further her education beyond high school. Edith’s dad joined the workforce after only a third grade education. Edith and her twin sister went through the American school system starting in first grade. Because their parents were unfamiliar with the system here, they had to figure things out as they went, relying on the help from advisors and counselors.

After high school, Edith started college at Ivy Tech as an exploratory major. She started out at Ivy Tech as a 21st Century Scholar trying to figure out what she wanted to do before going to a larger campus, such as IUPUI. She always had an interest in pursuing a career in the medical field. Edith’s sister-in-law was a dental assistant, so at Ivy Tech, she decided to pursue an associate degree as a dental assistant. Edith’s advisor at Ivy Tech felt that Edith was a bright student and could pursue a more difficult path, dental hygiene, which was not offered at Ivy Tech. That is when Edith decided that dental hygiene and IUPUI was for her.

As a first-generation college student, Edith faced more obstacles than the typical college student. When she first transferred to IUPUI, Edith’s grandmother back in Mexico began to struggle with her health. She felt helpless being so far away from her grandmother, who was a mother figure early in her life. Edith had a hard time focusing on school during this time, but knew her grandmother would want her education to come first.

Edith was accepted into the competitive dental hygiene program in fall of 2015 and is on track to graduate in May 2017. After being accepted into the dental hygiene program, Edith was awarded the IUPUI Regatta Scholarship by the Indiana University Alumni Association. She was asked to speak at a dinner for the scholarship, where she shared her story. Edith is also involved in the Student American Dental Association (SADA) and volunteers as an interpreter at outreach clinics.

I cannot believe how far I have come. . . . you have to stay positive.

Edith Guijosa

Edith says that her biggest accomplishment in her life is her education, sharing, “I cannot believe how far I have come.” Her parents brought her here because they wanted her to have a better life and a better education than they had. She believes that if she had stayed in the small village in Mexico where she is from, she probably would already be a mother. Edith says, “I would have never had the opportunity to get the same quality of education I have gotten in the United States.”

Edith wants incoming students, especially first-generation students, to know that if you put in the effort, you can be successful. Her advice is: “you have to stay positive.” She credits her accomplishments to staying organized, passionate, and motivated. Edith’s parents risked so much for her to have an education, and she has used that to push herself to succeed. She wants to make her family proud of her, and “to see the smile on their faces when she walks across that stage at graduation.”

 Learn more about the dental hygiene program


Written by: Mykaela King

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