From the College of Humanities and Social Sciences
From the Board
Sonina Hernandez

Sonina Hernandez, '14

Make It or Break It

Last Spring, members of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean’s Development Board decided they needed to do more to address the emergency financial hardships some students face.

They recognized some students come within a few credits of completing their education when circumstances arise that prevent them from graduating. They leave thinking they will come back—and then never do. The board created the Make It or Break It Fund to help ensure students finish the degrees they start.

Sonina Hernandez, ’14, is proof it works. She is a first generation college student and the student body council’s vice president of organizations and campus diversity. Through her work with various student service groups on campus, Hernandez realized she wanted to pursue a career in higher education in multicultural and international student affairs. Hernandez had already applied to graduate school when her advisor informed her she needed to take one more class over the summer to earn her diploma. She worried she would be forced to withdraw her applications if she couldn’t find a way to finance the course.

“My entire college career has been based on scholarships,” Hernandez said. “My parents can’t help. They want to, but financially, they just can’t. I know to some people three credits doesn’t seem like a lot. But three credits was more than I could afford.”

She contacted the dean’s office and learned of the Make It or Break It Fund. After meeting with Dean Allen, he told her it would cover her final class. Hernandez broke down in tears—her family would be able to witness her walk in a cap and gown after all.

“It’s kind of this huge step for everybody,” she said. “I wanted to set an example for my little brother. He is a freshman here now.”

Hernandez wants other students to know they can ask for help—that people do want to help you when you’re down. She also has a message for anyone who has thought about giving, but felt it wouldn’t make much of a difference.

“Anything counts,” Hernandez said. “Anything to help someone else, does. There is a greater good. It really can change a life. It’s a domino effect. Once you give, you will see that it keeps helping others.”

The Dean’s Development Board continues to support the Make It or Break It Fund. The board is comprised of alumni committed to supporting the critical needs of the college. Thank you all for working to keep students like Sonina Hernandez in school and on a path to achieving their dreams.

To support this fund contact Craig W. Whyte, the college’s director of development at