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  • M. Violet Machethe

    Machethe student profileFor five years, Matloatsie Machethe worked odd jobs until her supervisor at a property management, seeing her potential, convinced her to enroll in college. “I remember when the letter came. It said, ‘congratulations, you’ve been accepted to LaGuardia.’ For me that was the most epic moment of my life in America,” she says.

    Matloatsie was a young girl when Nelson Mandela ended the apartheid in South Africa. Still though, she vividly remembers attending a segregated church, being two of only six Black children at boarding school with her brother; and the discrimination that remained in her country even after the 1994 election.

    And even more vivid still, are the memories of her struggling mother who was left to raise three children alone when Matloatsie’s father passed away. These circumstances led her to a waitressing gig straight out of high school. With no goals and no opportunities in sight, she saw her way out in an au pair program that would bring her to America in 2006 at age nineteen.

    Thinking she’d work in business administration, she started at LaGuardia in Spring 2011 as a Business major. However, after an Honors course in ethics and moral issues, she quickly switched to Liberal Arts. “As time progressed, I realized I shouldn’t limit myself to one thing.”

    Shortly after, under the influence of her peers, she joined the Honors Student Advisory Committee (HSAC) at LaGuardia, an inclusive, student run group that pushes an Honors education as well as research, community college graduation and transfer to senior colleges. “It’s a great place with very ambitious students. It reinforced in me that if you have potential you should pursue it with everything that you’ve got,” she says.

    She was also selected as a 2012 New York Needs You fellow, a mentorship program for first generation college goers. Matliatsie will graduate in Fall 2012; she’s currently applying to Columbia, Sarah Lawrence and Cornell.

    Her dream career is three-fold. She wants to practice business law in the non-profit sector while advocating for orphans living with HIV/AIDS.

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