A soon-to-be graduate of Edmonds College, Ariana is receiving a full scholarship to attend Brown University in the fall, where she will receive her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. Ariana was also accepted to Seattle University, University of Washington’s Seattle and Bothell campuses, and Columbia University. Ariana was honored with Edmonds College’s Women’s Achievement Award and the Outstanding Mathematics Major Award for 2020.

What has your road to college looked like?

Straight out of high school at 18 years old, I was living on my own and working a full-time job. Despite these circumstances, I enrolled in community college and began my very short first college experience. I managed through my first quarter, but when winter quarter came, working, taking classes and trying to find stability in my personal life became too much for me to balance and I dropped out.

The next eight years were spent moving away from my hometown, having my two babies and getting married. With two babies’ futures to think about, in 2018 I started considering going back to school to get a degree. It was a daunting goal, and I knew that if I started taking classes, I had to finish this time around. After touring the campus, meeting with advisors and making a course plan, I knew I was ready to try again. In November 2018, I took the English and mathematics placement exams, and on January 2, 2019, I officially restarted my education journey at Edmonds College.

So, when did you know you were good at math? Like, really good? (You have an incredible GPA!)

During my mathematics placement exam, I tested straight into calculus despite being out of school for so long. In my first quarter during my first calculus course, I didn’t necessarily notice I was good at math, but I noticed I was fascinated by it. I could spend hours practicing math and not get bored. My calculus professor pulled me aside in class one day and asked if I had ever considered a degree in math and that is when I started to shift my focus toward mathematics. Now, a year and a half later, taking the most difficult mathematics courses offered by Edmonds College only made me more certain that mathematics is the right degree for me.

How has having consistent and more affordable childcare supported your educational dreams?

When I began my education at Edmonds, I took one class on campus and two online, so it was easy to balance staying home with the kids and my husband staying with them over his lunch break for the one hour I was at school. This worked for the first two quarters. I knew that when fall quarter came around, I would have to complete all of my classes on campus because of the program I was pursuing. I was ready to cut my classes down to one or two classes per quarter because we simply couldn’t afford childcare. This happened to be the same time my husband found out about Goodwin Connections. He told me to apply, so I did, and here we are! The consistent and affordable childcare gave me peace of mind knowing my kids were also getting an education and were being taken care of while allowing me the time to take my core physics and math courses that were only offered on-campus. Having affordable childcare is the reason I am graduating on time.

You are graduating this summer! What are your plans after graduation?

I still have to take two electives this summer for graduation, and we also need to move to Rhode Island, so this summer will be busy! I’ll still be in my online elective as we make the move across the country, and when those are completed, I’ll have a short break before classes at Brown start early September!

What is your ultimate career goal?

I am still trying to figure out what my dream career looks like. I have a very broad range of interests in addition to math, such as data science, finance and actuarial science. I’m hoping that the next two years spent finishing my math degree will help me figure out which direction I would like to focus on. Wherever I end up, as long as I’m crunching numbers, I’ll be happy.

What do you hope for your daughters’ futures?

Maisie and Cleo deserve an advantageous childhood, and the best thing that I can be for them is a mentor and role model. I hope they look back on this time in our lives and are inspired by the risks I took for myself and the chances we took as a family. My hope for them is that they believe in their abilities and know they are supported no matter what they choose in life. I hope they are encouraged by my decisions and are confident that they, too, can succeed with determination.

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