MyFuture MyChoice: Nicaraguan-American teen from Miami-Dade County heads to MIT

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Giuliana Cabrera moved to the United States from Nicaragua when she was seven. More than a decade later, her hard work paid off. She plans to be the first in her family to get a college degree and she will be doing so at one of the most prestigious schools in the world.

Giuliana graduated from Archimedean Upper Conservatory, a charter school in Miami-Dade County’s Kendale Lakes neighborhood. The U.S. Department of Education included it in the prestigious National Blue Ribbon Schools list in 2018.

“I remember walking down the dirt roads of Nicaragua as clearly as I remember walking down the hallways to my first classroom where I learned English here in Miami,” Giuliana said during her speech as a Valedictorian.

Giuliana applied to more than a dozen schools including a few Ivy League schools, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. She also applied to Stanford, the California Institute of Technology, Georgia Tech, The University of Texas at Austin, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I got into all of them,” she said.

Giuliana, 18, is interested in environmental engineering, computer science, and public policy. She dreams of being able to develop technology that helps underdeveloped countries and children in under-resourced areas.

Giuliana said she is headed to MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It wasn’t an easy decision.

“I had to look into their community. I had to find out what it was like to be a Hispanic at those universities,” she said.

Her description on Linkedin: “Volunteer to break down educational barriers for low-income and minority students. Enjoy historical fiction and the outdoors.” She probably didn’t have much free time. She took 16 Advanced Placement classes, volunteered, played soccer and all while maintaining a 4.0-grade point average.

During her graduation speech, she spoke through tears.

“Thank you mom and dad for always believing in me — especially when I didn’t believe in myself ... I’ll always remember I’m the daughter of immigrants.”

About the Author:

Nicole Perez is the the primary co-anchor of Local 10 News at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. She first joined Local 10 in July 2016 as the morning traffic reporter.