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Jessica Zhang Mi

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Although my identity is not specifically defined within first-generation and low-income, I have still found community with other FLI students. That goes to show the huge range of experiences of people who identify as FLI.

“Both of my parents weren’t around to help me apply for college or get ready with my tests, and all of that was what I had to navigate on my own.

“[My] being in the foster care system is the most defining aspect of my FLI identity. I think a big component of that is not really having the support of your parents when you’re applying for college or not knowing what to expect when you come to Stanford.

“Although my identity is not specifically defined within first-generation and low-income, I have still found community with other FLI students. That goes to show the huge range of experiences of people who identify as FLI. I think the FLI identity is very much characterized by resilience and independence and being strong.

“We are working on this new group called Fostering Connections, which is open to all students, and the general theme is the lack of a sense of home. I hope that Fostering Connections will grow to be a big community of students and allies so that students who have been in foster care, who have been homeless, and who have been in nontraditional family backgrounds can see that this program is there for them, because that was the hope that I had when I came here. I’m hoping for us to all create a home for each other.”

Jessica Zhang Mi, ’21


STORY AND PHOTO COURTESY OF STANFORD MAGAZINE

Tawanda Mahere