At age 28, Clarinet Hurtado is on track to earn a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science in August 2021, and is on the brink of finally realizing her childhood dream of going to law school.
She could not have done it without the help of the Montclair State Student Emergency Fund – and her professors.
The path to her undergraduate degree has been a long and often interrupted one for Hurtado, who grew up in foster care from the age of 13. She first started working toward a degree at community college, taking time off from her studies periodically to work, save money and pay off debt.
When she finally got into Montclair State, her burden was eased.
“I love Montclair State. It was my first choice – the culture of the school, the diversity, the Spanish style” architecture, says Hurtado. “I knew this is where I want to graduate.”
“The most important thing for me was the support and having people that cared because I don’t have parents to turn to. I’ve made mistakes over the years, and I’ve had professors that are passionate, who helped and supported me. They surprised me.” Hurtado names Public Health Adjunct Professor Wendy Kerr, Director of Career Services Linda Flynn, and Associate Professor of Exercise Science and Physical Education Robert Gilbert.
Receiving a Student Emergency Fund scholarship helped Hurtado enroll in summer classes to continue her studies and avoid deferring her dreams further.
“Her financial situation became an extreme burden due to COVID-19 and having access to the scholarship made a huge difference when she didn’t know what to do next,” says Director of Annual Giving Kara Brennan. “She is so very grateful to the donors who supported the Student Emergency Fund already as they helped her get one step closer to a dream come true.”
Hurtado called the gift from the Fund a “life saver.”
Now Hurtado’s summer internship, set up with the help of Flynn, will set her on the path to law school.
“I always wanted to be a lawyer ever since I was in foster care. At the time I thought it was impossible. But little by little, one thing just led to the other. At this point in my life, this is something that’s possible for me.”
Hurtado is interested in family law. “Growing up, not having anyone to advocate for me and the system ultimately failing me throughout so many years of being in foster care, I would love to be the voice for children and families who don’t have a voice. Ultimately my goal is to keep families together and to help kids succeed in life.
“If you really want something, it doesn’t matter how long it takes. Rather than living with the ‘what if,’ I had to try,” she says. “Finally, after all the effort, I can see the results. I can see the finish line. I can breathe a little.”
For more information on how you can support the Student Emergency Fund, contact the Office of Annual Giving at 973-655-4141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.