Selena Marisol, 19, is in her secondyear of college at the Universidad Catlica de El Salvador, where she is working toward an Advanced Technical Certificate in Tourism Development.She lives at home with nine other people: her mother, sister, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins.

We asked Selena to answer a few questions to help you get to know her better. Below are her responses!

What are some of your professional aspirations?

To be a trained auto mechanic or enter into military school and then move into flight school.

Why do you think your education is important?

My education is important because with it, I can become someone who serves the world, my country and especially my family. Ill be able to get a good job and learn new and wonderful things that serve me well. At school I also learn values that I can put into practice in the world around me.

Describe someone who has inspired or motivated you:

There was one person who was always there when I said I couldnt keep going. Hed always encourage me by telling me that no problem is bigger than my desire to move forward. Our families are very close and he was like my brother. His name is Jos Edgardo, but he is now in heaven. And now, I want to keep moving forward until I accomplish all my goals. My family has also been an important force in keeping me moving toward my objectives, because they want me to be a professional someday.

How has the crime/violence in this country affected you personally?

The crime here has affected me greatly. I lost one of the most important people in my life, someone who was like a brother to me, because of it. Day after day, I fear just leaving my house. It scares me so much that sometimes I dont even want to leave the safety of my home. Emotionally, Im full of fear and anxiety every single day.

How do you think positive change can come about in your community or country?

I think the first changes must begin with me, so that other people can take notice. Similarly, we could hold occupational workshops for young people. That way, since theyll have something to do with their free time, they wont feel inclined to join any gang.

Tell us about your community service project.

Im working [with other scholarship students] on a backyard vegetable garden, which is important to me because we can take home produce weve grown with our own hands. Its also healthier for the environment because we arent using artificial fertilizers.

What do you do in your free time?

Truthfully, I dont have much free time, but I study, help out around the house and when I can, I play soccer.

What is your favorite book or genre?

I like tragedies and the Agatha Christie novel Murder on the Orient Express.

What is your favorite music?

Electronic music, rock and romantic songs in Spanish.

What are your best qualities?

My best qualities are that Im social, fun and understanding.

What is something surprising about you that only a few people know?

I like to rap and write poetry.

What would you say if you could speak face-to-face with your sponsors?

First of all, I would say, Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of your family. I would give them a big hug, too. I would also give them a token of my gratitude for this opportunity, which would be my grades. I would invite them to come spend vacation with my family and me.