Genesis Gadberry

Genesis Gadberry

Scholar since
2018

Scholarship received
Diversity Advancement Scholarship

Education

University of Texas at Austin

Hometown
San Angelo, TX

“My story has created the person I am today. Today, I am an aspiring woman that is ready to use her past as an inspiration.”


My life hasn’t always been easy, but it’s made me who I am today. Today, I am a strong, independent, driven woman. I know what I want. I understand the hard work that will get me there, and I push myself harder every day to be more than what I have.

My mom is a boat refugee from Vietnam. When the south started losing the war to the north, my family escaped on a boat and floated the ocean for many weeks. The navy eventually found them and brought them to the states. When they touched American soil, their struggle had only just begun. My mother was diagnosed with polio and forced to grow up in and out of hospitals in the dire hopes of being able to walk. As she grew up her family was never able to climb the ladder. She eventually moved on to a new place and got the only job she was able to find at a goodwill. This is where she met my father. He was there shopping for clothes after leaving the air force and his gypsy parents. My father’s parents met at a trailer park in Arkansas and were never really able to put both feet on the ground either. They traveled from town to town living in their car and getting odd jobs to afford gas just to get to the next place. My father dropped out of school, lied about his age, joined the military and never looked back. When my parents met it wasn’t wealth or material things that kept them together; it was happiness. They eventually had me and I gave them a reason to want more. It wasn’t just them two anymore; they had a family to provide for, but it was too late for them. It was too late for them to be something in this world but it isn’t too late for me. Through hard work and dedication, I have the opportunities to do better for myself.

My parents shaped me in a way they didn’t even know possible. By coming from nothing I pushed myself to be the best, so I can be even better for myself and my future family. I don’t want my children to go through the struggles I endured. Growing up, my father was never home because the only job he could get to support us was hauling metal on 18-wheelers for weeks on end. A phone call tucked me in at night and a picture reminded me of what he looked like. My handicapped mother raised two kids all on her own and our home was never really a home with my dad gone. I remember before I started school, we were never able to leave the house because we couldn’t afford an equipped car for her. It was just us at home with hopefully enough groceries to last us until he got back. My friends were my mom, brother and the few toys we played with. We shopped at goodwill just to have a decent pair of shoes to wear. We barely had enough for ourselves; we couldn’t afford the luxuries everyone takes for granted. Nonetheless, I can’t say it’s all bad. I have the most amazing family that will do anything for me and we have stepped up a little in this world. My dad has a better job now so he’s home every night and my mom has a car so her disabilities don’t have to hold her back. We don’t shop at goodwill anymore either but most importantly, we are happy. We may not be a wealthy family but we are rich in happiness and I wouldn’t want to change that for the world.

My story has created the person I am today. Today, I am an aspiring woman that is ready to use her past as an inspiration. I want to go to college and give myself better opportunities. My experiences have pushed me harder than ever to be an achiever. I realized sitting and wishing for more won’t change anything. You have to be the change you wish to see. I don’t want my kids to not know their parents or the world outside their front door. For years, I watched how miserable my parents were when they couldn’t give us the small things we asked for and I want to do better for them. They made me the driven person I am today and I hope that one day I am successful enough to give them and my future family the things they were never able to give me. I admit, my struggles weren’t all bad but they are mine. They have molded me into the ambitious person I am today and I hope they always help define the person I strive to be.