Fulfilling Her Dad’s Dreams

Grace Berg ’18 knew early on that going to college would be a luxury, not a guarantee.

“I came from a poor family, below the poverty line — so my parents emphasized from a very early age that if I was going to go to college, it had to be through scholarships,” she says. “I had to work really, really hard.”

During high school, Grace did just that. Her hard work paid off. Along with her USF acceptance letter came a substantial scholarship award.

“It felt too good to be true for a really long time. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop,” she says. “I mean, the scholarship worked for the first semester but what if it doesn’t work again? It took a long time to believe that I was actually here, my first-choice school. It was really amazing.”

Since her arrival from Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota, population 2,000, Grace has grown into a campus leader and developed a keen interest in social justice. She is double majoring in English and critical diversity studies, and is in the honors program. She is president of USF’s Queer Alliance club and is a student government representative. She’s also a resident advisor and a member of the ASUSF Voices choir and the Word poetry club.

“USF — with the cura personalis that we talk about all the time, the ‘care of the whole person’ — has really driven in me to have activism beyond what I do; to go to school to do something but also go to school to be someone,” she says.

For many students like Grace, a scholarship can mean the difference between attending and not attending college. Approximately 72 percent of undergraduates at USF receive some type of financial aid.

“What graduating from college means to me, first and foremost, is fulfilling the dreams of my dad, who was never able to graduate from high school or go to college,” says Grace, who plans to join the Peace Corps and attend law school.

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