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Meet Pauline

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Workforce Challenge

Pauline Fernandez was forced to grow up faster than she had intended. When Pauline was 12, her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. As her mother’s health deteriorated, Pauline took on the responsibilities of the household, providing care and support to her younger sister and keeping the family together. After her mother's death, her father moved out of the area, and Pauline moved in with a neighbor for her final year of high school. Despite these losses in her life, Pauline wanted to continue her education and eventually find a career she loved.

Workforce Solution

During this time, Pauline saw a flyer describing NOVA’s summer youth employment program, so she made the trek from her home in San Jose to Sunnyvale to learn more about the opportunities available through NOVA’s paid internships. She not only succeeded but thrived in the supportive environment of NOVA, and was able to find a way to incorporate her passion for photography into her internship, becoming NOVA’s digital documentarian for several weeks of the summer program.

Outcomes & Benefits

Pauline participated in NOVA's summer youth program for two summers, gaining considerable work experience at both NOVA and Cisco Systems. She was awarded a scholarship through the Kumin Scholars Program administered by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Now completing community college, Pauline plans to transfer to San Jose State University to pursue her bachelor's degree in nursing with an emphasis in oncology. Pauline says simply, "I feel very lucky. I now have more choices in my life."

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