Crystal Cruz never thought of herself as a first-generation college student. That is until she heard Chancellor Philip L. Dubois speak about the resources the University affords first-generation students, a concept rooted in University founder Bonnie Cone’s lifelong dedication to provide access and opportunity to every deserving student.
The daughter of immigrant parents who fled El Salvador in the 1980s, Crystal is one of seven sisters who realized their dreams of a college education. And Crystal is not the only 49er in the family; four of her sisters also attended the University.
“UNC Charlotte provided us everything we needed,” said Crystal. “We feel like UNC Charlotte is home.”
However, Crystal’s time at the University was much more than just a family tradition, it was a foundation to a brighter future.
“UNC Charlotte afforded many opportunities that I tried to make the most of while I was there, especially within the Belk College of Business,” she said. “With a knowledgeable faculty and supportive advisors, I was able to learn about possible career paths and businesses around Charlotte, which ultimately led to me securing an internship at Belk, Inc.”
Following graduation, Crystal made the most of her internship opportunity by accepting an assistant buyer job at Belk, Inc. in Charlotte.
“I was lucky enough to land a great internship with Belk while in school that ultimately led to a job after college,” she said. “I was thrilled to have a job, especially in Charlotte. It is a great place to be and being close to my family is a perk!”