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Shelby Lopez

The youngest of four children, I was born and raised in Bountiful, Utah. Growing up, my family teetered on the tightrope between poverty and middle class. When I was 12 years old my mother passed away in a snowmobiling accident. As a boon in the midst of our tragedy, my mother had enrolled in life insurance. Because of the insurance, we unexpectedly had resources to pay for my mother’s funeral, pay the remaining mortgage balance, and zero out debts with money left over for my father to save. I always had a predilection to stand up for what I believe in and to fight for equality. So it was during high school, as I watched a documentary, I had a realization that would continually shape my future. As I watched, I was mesmerized by the humanitarian organizers. This was their job, to do all they could to right an injustice in the world. At that moment, I had the distinct thought that I could do the same. That one day I could help people for a living.

I was able to pursue my higher education due to grants and the savings from Social Security benefits. I graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelors of Science in Political Science. A week after graduation I married the love of my life and moved to Salt Lake City. As I embarked on my professional career, I turned to nonprofit organizations to begin helping people for a living. My first job post-graduation was as the Community Outreach Representative for the Christmas Box International working with children staying at the emergency shelter. In January of 2019 I joined a team to build and enact a mentorship program for at risk youth. In order to effect greater change, I have been accepted to the Masters of Social Work program at University of Georgia and will apply to the law school in the fall. The next four years of schooling will be challenging mentally and financially, however I have the passion and the purpose to undoubtedly succeed.