IS NOT AN OUTLIER.
Jolly, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has already faced incredible adversity in her journey to pursue a college degree. The Covid-19 pandemic presents not only a threat to her ability to graduate, but her access to vital resources, her home, and her community.
Ugandan refugee camp
BORN INTO A WAR
Due to ongoing violent conflict across the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jolly and her siblings are forced to flee their home. At the age of 8, Jolly and her siblings relocate to Kyaka, a Ugandan refugee camp.
The camp has little to no access to basic living essentials. There is inadequate access to clean water, nutrition, and medical equipment
"THE WAR TOOK AWAY MY CHILDHOOD."
ENTERING A NEW WORLD
After 6 years in the refugee camp, Jolly's family is sponsored by a Catholic group in the US. Upon arrival, the siblings are split up in foster care.
Jolly started her new life in Salt Lake City, Utah
East High School, where Jolly
received her high school diploma
PLAYING CATCH UP
Jolly pushes herself academically. Even though she came to the US without knowing any English, she manages to catch herself up on a decade worth of education in just a few semesters by taking online courses, summer classes, and after school programs in order to be able to graduate with her class.
"EVEN THOUGH I FELT OUT OF PLACE, GOING TO SCHOOL WAS MY FAVORITE THING. I HAD SUCH A DESIRE FOR EDUCATION."
Jolly and her friends from First Ascent Scholars pose for a photo
THE OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME
Through the help of the University of Utah's First Ascent Scholars Program, Jolly is able to pursue a degree. Through the program, Jolly is offered full tuition, housing, as well as mentorship.
"I DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY. I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING. I NEVER IMAGINED ACTUALLY GOING TO COLLEGE."
PAYING IT FORWARD
Now a senior about to receive a bachelor's degree in Information Systems, Jolly starts to envision the next stage of her life. She's determined to go to law school in order to study immigration law, planning on using her education to help individuals in communities who weren't as fortunate as her.
"WITH AN EDUCATION, WE CAN GO BACK AND HELP OUR COMMUNITIES. IT'S OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO GO BACK AND HELP BECAUSE WE UNDERSTAND THE PAIN THAT WE'VE FELT."
THEN COVID-19 HIT.
ALONE ON CAMPUS
For Jolly, campus resources are a necessity. She relies on campus for everything from her housing to her community. When everyone leaves campus, Jolly stays. She has nowhere else to go.
Jolly studying in her dorm room
JOLLY IS NOT AN OUTLIER
SEE THE DATA
BRACING FOR THE SEMESTER
As classes begin, Jolly worries what will happen to her academics, living situation, and scholarship as the semester progresses. In the first two weeks, two floors of her dorms have already had to quarantine. She worries she'll lose all that she's worked so hard to get.
"I'M SCARED THAT I WON'T BE ABLE TO GRADUATE."
TO BE CONTINUED
PROTECTING VULNERABLE STUDENTS
For students like Jolly, who depend on university campuses, the pandemic threatens not only their education, but their livelihood, home, and community. Institutions have the opportunity to implement student-centric and equitable solutions to protect vulnerable students.