Abigaly “Abby” Atonal Rodriguez is a woman who is going places! When Abby started with Positive Paths in 2019, she was a first-generation college student who was brought to the U.S. as a child and was in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. She almost dropped out of school due to financial insecurities and fear of failure, but she knew that her parents sacrificed for her and her siblings, so she worked very hard at school while working two jobs.

Abby excelled at Mesa Community College (MCC) and served as President of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the national honor society of community colleges. In May 2020, she graduated with a general education certificate, an academic certificate in global citizenship, an Associate in General Studies, and an Associate of Arts – all with “highest distinction” honors. Abby sent her graduation announcement with a beautiful thank you note to Positive Paths, stating, “Positive Paths gave me a space to share my story. It was incredibly difficult but you all stood by my side and accepted me. Thank you for including me in the community you have built.” We could not be more proud of Abby and her accomplishments, and we cannot wait to see what she does in the years ahead!

She was selected as the Class of 2020 Honors Speaker for commencement ceremonies and was disappointed when graduation events were canceled due to the pandemic. But her spirits soared when she received the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke national scholarship, which covers the costs of her undergraduate education (up to $40,000!). Additionally, she was one of 15 students from across the nation to receive a $5,000 scholarship as a PTK Guistwhite Scholar. Ever the adventurer, Abby headed to Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, to finish her bachelor’s degree.

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