Katelyn Ciprazo

Katelyn Ciprazo

I Am Fearless

The first day of college classes for most freshmen is an exciting, anxiety-inducing time. Students are leaving their families, often for the first time, and moving into adulthood. Imagine going through this transition, not only as the first person in your family to attend a four-year college, but also as a full-time mom with an infant in tow.

None of this fazes Katelyn, who is already planning which student associations she’s going to join at Mills College in the fall (Photography!) and deciding what her major and minor are going to be (Child Development and Art). “I feel like this is an exciting new beginning for me and my son,” she says.

When Katelyn was in high school, a conflict with a teacher made her want to avoid school. As a result, she dropped out, but eventually heard about Civicorps through a friend. In the process of working toward her diploma, Katelyn received the news that she would be having a baby.

“At Civicorps, I found one-on-one support from the counselors and teachers that helped me throughout my pregnancy,” Katelyn says, “but even more than that, they helped me to find my inner scholar and to fall in love with school again.”

As Katelyn earned awards for her academic and work performance, including graduating as an honor society student, the possibility of enrolling in college started to seem more real.

She still wasn’t sure how college would be feasible for a new mom without much financial support, but staff at Civicorps’ College and Career Center encouraged her to check out an open house at Mills College.

“At the open house I learned more about the college and I realized it was everything I wanted – and that it would be possible for me to attend and take care of my son at the same time. So I said ‘okay this is it, I’ve got to apply.’”

 Not only was Katelyn was accepted, but she was also given the highest financial aid package available as well as a two bedroom apartment on campus, close to her classes and to her baby.

“To others who are thinking about college, I would say ‘don’t hesitate to put yourself out there.’ If you have even an ounce of ‘maybe’ then you definitely can do it.”

As she begins this new chapter as a full-time college student, she doesn’t worry about her fears holding her back, she’s letting her dreams push her forward.