Melissa entered California’s foster care system when she was an infant. After enduring seven foster homes and three failed reunifications with her mother, she was taken in at 17 by a school friend, who she remains close to and considers family. Melissa chose to appreciate her challenges as an opportunity to empower a new generation. She is completing a double major at San Diego State University in Sociology and Psychology, with a minor in social work. She also volunteers on campus, and is applying to graduate schools for a master’s in social welfare. A bright, active individual, Melissa looks forward to facilitating change within the system as a youth advocate. She also enjoys hiking, traveling, and meeting new people. Melissa is a student, artist, adventurer . . . and a foster kid.