Mother’s wisdom, scholarship support lead to opportunity found

RatliffKiyosha_fullWho would have thought a girl destined to cashier at a fast-food restaurant would travel to Europe and work for a Big Four accounting firm?

Scholarships do more than make college affordable. They can open doors to a whole new world of opportunity. They can transform lives. Kiyosha Ratliff is living proof of that transformation.

The future went from bright to bleak when Kiyosha’s parents divorced, her father lost his job and her mother became ill. Given the family’s financial situation, college no longer seemed possible and Kiyosha seriously considered taking a second job at a fast food restaurant to help out. Her mother wouldn’t hear of it. She insisted her daughter head for the UW, but Kiyosha required serious scholarship support in order to pursue her dream of a college education.

Luckily she qualified for a suite of scholarships through Foster that became the lifeblood of her education and her personal development. The generous donations that fund the scholarships funded her chance to change her life.

As a result of these scholarships, Kiyosha excelled as an undergrad, advised small business owners, traveled abroad, mentored high school students, won numerous awards, attended a summer program at Harvard Business School and interned at Deloitte Consulting. These opportunities helped Kiyosha grow in many ways even beyond her education.

“The UW was such fertile soil for me, not only in gaining knowledge about the world around me, but also in developing leadership skills and gaining a broader perspective,” Kiyosha said. “Who would have believed that the same girl who wasn’t even going to go to college would have the opportunity to graduate from the UW, participate in a program at Harvard Business School and work for Big Four accounting firms? That’s what you call a transformation.”

And that change is made possible by families, companies and individuals who donate to Foster. Because of their willingness to give, students like Kiyosha can realize aspirations that would not have been attainable on their own.

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