My Path to Success
by Manuel Sibiran
When I came to this country in 2009 from El Salvador, my goals for my future began to change. Due to economic circumstances I had to work two park-time jobs to financially support my family while attending high school. At the beginning of my journey, I argued with my parents over the importance of continuing my education to achieve my goals. Eventually, my dad allowed me to continue with my education with the condition that I had to take responsibility for all my expenses, such as rent, food, and transportation. My desire to become a successful person in life made me take that challenge very seriously. During my senior year in high school, LAYC assisted me to apply for the New Futures Scholarship as well as other scholarships and grants. In 2012, I was awarded the New Futures Scholarship!
I’m currently in my senior year at the University of Maryland pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice with a concentration in terrorism and a minor in U.S. Latina/o studies with a concentration in sociology. One of the main factors that influenced my career goal was the violent experiences I saw when growing up in El Salvador. During my junior year in college, I applied for an internship with the Montgomery County Police Department. Over the summer of 2015, I began my internship experience with the police department. I have had the opportunity to work with several divisions, including financial crimes, drugs and alcohol, and homicide. Also, my academic achievement allowed me to apply for the Honors Society, and over the fall I was accepted for the National Criminology and Criminal Justice Honors Society.
I’ve always been very confident about my educational achievements, but, there was one crucial step that kept me humble about my future: becoming a citizen of the United States. Nothing in my career could work without U.S. citizenship. Every single law enforcement agency in the United States requires their applicants to be U.S. citizens to be eligible for the job. Although I was ready to apply for my naturalization process, I found myself in an economic struggle and unable to pay the $680 application fee. As is the case for many immigrants, becoming a U.S. citizen is one of the greatest life changing events in one’s life. During the fall of 2015, I heard about LAYC’s DREAMER Scholarship. Luckily, I received the DREAMER Scholarship, and I was able to apply for U.S. citizenship. In February of this year, I took the exam and became a U.S. citizen!
Since this day, I have accomplished so much now being a citizen. One of them is voting in the primary presidential election. Every time I think of all the struggles that we as Latinos face in this country, I become aware of the importance of participating in the political process in this country. I also just learned that I was accepted for an Internship with the Federal Air Marshall Service this upcoming summer. I don’t know what lies ahead, but I do know that my future is bright.