Go ALL in for Graduation: We are family

With encouragement from their parents, support from DSF, and guidance from each other, siblings Austin, Aviva, and Seraphine Nguyen have become the first generation in their family to graduate from college.

Austin, a senior at John F. Kennedy High School, will graduate in June. Over the past academic year, he has spent hours in the DSF Future Center at school with Ms. Emily, his DSF College Advisor, applying to colleges and scholarships, submitting his first Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which included navigating through FAFSA verification, an audit process completed by the college financial aid administrator.

“I want to go to the University of Colorado Denver or the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Coming to the DSF Future Center motivates me to do the things I need to do to get to college,” Austin shares.

“In college, I’m looking forward to meeting other people—it’s a great networking opportunity, a place to make life-long connections. The DSF Scholarship will definitely be a big help in paying for college,” he explains.

This fall, Austin will become the third DSF Scholar in the Nguyen family, after his sisters Aviva and Seraphine.

Aviva, a junior at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU), says the support she has received from DSF has reached far beyond the scholarship dollars.

“I started college at the University of Colorado Denver as a biology major. My DSF Campus Contact at the time, Chevy Lowe, helped me transfer to MSU, where I found the events and meeting management program,” explains Aviva. “I needed a little push from outside my family and relatives—it was nice to know from someone else that it was okay to switch.” Campus contacts are instrumental to the success of DSF Scholars.

“DSF’s presence on campus has helped me break out of my shell. Through social and leadership development events, I have become much more engaged with my classmates. I’ve learned to put myself out there,” says Aviva. “My older sister, Seraphine, encouraged me to get involved with the DSF Scholar Institute and the Leadership Program.”

As the first in her family to graduate from college and the oldest sibling, Seraphine sees herself as a role model for her brother and sister. Seraphine says living at home with her siblings has provided her with special opportunities to share her advice and knowledge about getting to and through college, from passing on studying tips to connecting them with resources in the DSF Future Center and on campus, including car rides to and from school.

“The support I received from my DSF College Advisor and Stephanie, the DSF College Success Coordinator, really helped me put all of the steps together,” Seraphine reflects. “When Aviva started college, I transferred that knowledge to her. Now with Austin, we are all really stepping up to get him ready together.”

DSF works with hundreds of families, partners, supporters and donors each year to make college possible.