Not far from Mercy College’s Bronx Campus is Sophia Cruz’s ’16 childhood home - 1451 Crotona Place. Cruz loved growing up in the Bronx, she loved the energy and grittiness. She describes the Borough’s diversity as comforting. While her younger years were filled with happy memories, her life took a drastic turn when she was in middle school.
Cruz was raised by her single mother Lisa Cruz, who knew the power of education. She said: “It was always important to my family that I attend college – but when I was in middle school my path to college got shaky. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer – we went from being a hard working middle class family to struggling financially.” She explained that all the money her mother had saved went to treatment. While in the 8th grade – the unthinkable happened – Cruz’s mother passed away from cancer. “It was then that I went to live in Oklahoma with my aunt who was in the military,” she said. “I was happy to be with my mother’s sister but I missed the Bronx – I missed home.”
While she was miles away in Oklahoma, Cruz explained when it was time for college she knew it was her time to come back to New York. “I applied and was accepted to Mercy College,” she said with a big smile, “and I only wanted to attend one campus – the Bronx campus!”
At Mercy College, Cruz is a psychology major and has dreams to one day be a marriage and family therapist. She is also an honor student and a student worker who works the front desk of the Bronx Campus, “Yes that’s me giving you directions,” she laughs.
While she is living her dream she knows none of this would be possible without the generous support of donors. “I attend Mercy College on five scholarships, and let me be clear I would not be in school if I didn’t have scholarships,” She added: “Because of generous donations I only pay about $500 a year for college.”
While Cruz will be graduating this May, her time with Mercy College isn’t over. She is applying to the Master’s Program for Marriage and Family Therapy. She said: “I hope to one day help families who are going through a difficult time – because I know that tale very well.”
The curly haired, ambitious student explained that the Bronx is where she learned to be resilient and strong but, Mercy College is where she learned to advocate for myself and others, “Mercy College is helping me get to the next phase of my life – a career.”