Female student standing on stairs

Nathalie Camargo '20

Early Childhood Education

Nathalie Camargo

Nathalie Camargo ’20 has long dreamed of becoming a teacher, but for many years the idea of going to college seemed out of reach. Camargo’s family immigrated to the United States from São Paulo, Brazil, when she was 2 years old, and she lacked legal status.

“Up until my sophomore year of high school, I believed that college wasn’t an option for me,” she says.

But everything changed during her junior year, when President Barack Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy. Camargo became a “dreamer” with the opportunity to attend college at in-state rates.

With its reputation for educating teachers, Framingham State University was her top choice for college. Camargo initially enrolled at MassBay Community College, knowing that she would also have to work full time while completing her studies. After earning an associate’s degree, she transferred to FSU.

From there, Camargo’s journey faced another roadblock. Trying to balance a full-time job to pay for school while also being enrolled in classes full time proved to be too much.

“There were times when I thought, ‘This is going to end here,’ she says. ‘How am I supposed to finish? I can’t be at two places at once.’”

Camargo took a leave of absence from FSU but continued searching for resources to help her complete the degree. Finally, she was made aware of a scholarship opportunity offered by the MetroWest Women’s Fund that was specifically aimed at helping dreamers. Camargo earned the scholarship on her second attempt, which has allowed her to attend school without having to worry about working.

“I was really in awe of the response I received from this organization,” she says. “They understand what we are going through as dreamers. That really meant a lot to me.”

Camargo wants other dreamers to know that there are resources available to them, both at Framingham State and within the local community.

“There are people in the community who want to help us,” she says.