Edmit's March Scholarship winner Angel Lizardo has big aspirations to work in the field of marketing and business. He recently spoke with the Edmit team about his personal college journey.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a first generation American. My father is an immigrant and came here for better opportunities for his children. I’ve always felt a lot of pressure to live up to those expectations, and pursue education as stepping stone to a better life. I have two siblings and we live in Clermont, Florida. I’d be the first of my siblings to go to college.
Can you share a bit about some of your future goals?
Our house was foreclosed on in 2008, when I was 8. It was a time of rock bottom for our family and I think has pushed me to focus on how I can get established in a stable career in the future. We were very lucky; our community rallied around us. We lived with my aunt for a year (I shared a room with my parents) before we got back on our feet.
As a freshman I was unsure what I wanted to do, but was put into some marketing classes and it really energized me. I am interested in the relationship between a company and its customers - great marketing fosters those relationships and also is engaged with community issues. My dream would be to work for a sports franchise in a marketing role.
What activities are you involved in?
In school I’m very involved in the DECA club [an organization that helps students prepare for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management]. I was honored to be recognized at DECA’s Annual Career Development Conference for a marketing plan I developed for the Memphis Grizzlies. I got to go to Anaheim to represent Florida in the national competition.
I also volunteer at a summer program in Davenport, FL. That program and community helped me through the foreclosure aftermath and it’s my way of saying thank you. The program helps working parents by providing daycare during the summer. I’ve grown up there - first as a child in the program and now as a summer camp counselor.
How did you do your research and planning for college?
Lots of time, and help from my teachers. I started with the FAFSA, spent a lot of time on the College Board website doing calculations and research on different schools including their strengths and costs. I only applied to three schools: University of South Florida (USF), Florida Gulf Coast University, and University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. USF is in Tampa and as a marketing major a lot of my career progression will be about my network, so the city provides great opportunities. Gulf Coast has a strong accredited business program.
So why University of Wisconsin? Wisconsin is a bit different than Florida!
The cultural differences would be a great challenge, and I love a challenge! I chose it because Wisconsin was one of the most affordable out of state options for me. It’s my dream to go out of state, start from scratch in a new place, and grow personally. I’d definitely choose Wisconsin if money wasn’t an issue. The cost of attendance is about $5k more than for the Florida schools, though, so I’m applying to many different scholarships to see if I can cover the cost.
What advice do you have for students starting out with the college process?
It’s a hard process, so do your homework. Get all the information together, and look at the hard costs: costs of attendance and personal expenses. Do your FAFSA, know your EFC and what federal financial aid you will be eligible for - but also apply to local scholarships in your community. Lots of people don’t, and the money goes to waste.
What are you most excited about in college?
I’m excited about the independence! No one is looking out for you - you have to budget your time and money and learn to stand on your own. I also want to learn to build networks and personal relationships with new people across the whole campus.
Congratulations again, Angel, and best of luck!