Born and raised in a large family in Phoenix, Arizona, Jemima Oso, ’16, saw her mother make many sacrifices. As a nurse who worked the night shift, her mother was the family’s main provider and Jemima’s “rock and shining star.”
Researching colleges, Jemima learned about Stanford’s excellent psychology program. When she applied, she considered Stanford her “super-reach” school and had no plan for how to pay for it.
“I just knew that I did not want to be another strain on my mother,” Jemima says. “I hoped against hope that financial aid would make the difference.”
When she was accepted and read about the financial aid package Stanford was offering, Jemima was blown away. “A burden was lifted and I thought, going to Stanford! It was an amazing feeling.”
Donors who make gifts through The Stanford Fund helped make Jemima’s dream a reality—and allowed her to graduate debt-free. Scholarship support also gave Jemima the freedom to imagine a future in which she could put her real passion to work.
Bringing life experiences and intellectual curiosity together
While at Stanford, Jemima combined her lifelong interest in psychology with a newfound passion for human biology. Calling on past experiences watching friends struggle with mental illness and wishing she could be more helpful, she pursued a concentration in the biological and psychological determinants of adolescent mental health.
“The flexibility of Stanford’s human biology major gave me room to combine my life experiences and academic interests in a way that I never thought possible,” Jemima explains.
Outside the classroom, she worked as a peer counselor and a residential assistant in Roble Hall, where she confronted students’ mental health issues head on. And, with internships through the Haas Center for Public Service, she grew to further appreciate the need for mental health services in the larger world.
“Today, because The Stanford Fund donors helped me complete four years with no student-loan debt, I am in a position to pursue my passion for teaching and community service,” Jemima says.
Now, working in East Palo Alto at a college prep high school for first-generation, low-income students, Jemima spends her days teaching her students that they belong on the path to higher education.
I constantly encourage them to find and pursue their passions, hone whatever study styles work for them, explore their identities, and form their own opinions.
She’s grateful to the Stanford supporters who helped to make this moment a reality. “I’m now able to pay it forward and help prepare other students to access the life-changing opportunity of higher education.”