Zoe lost her parents at the age of 14 in a tragic murder-suicide. Following this loss, she dropped out of high school and spent many years in the child welfare system where she moved more than ten times and rarely had a stable place to call home. A year after leaving school she returned, driven by a passion for learning. It was at this time that she became acquainted with the founder of Hide In Plain Sight and learned that there were opportunities for scholarships and support. “Joe reached out to me and explained that he had heard about me through my teachers and social workers. He wanted to start an organization to help homeless and impoverished youth attend college. I wanted more than anything to attend college and I wanted to make sure many other students just like me had the same opportunity,” Zoe stated.
A decade ago, Zoe was a high school dropout but in 2019 she graduated from Metropolitan State University Summa Cum Laude, she did an independent research project at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., and is currently a Master’s of Research candidate at the California Polytechnic Institute-Humboldt studying psychology and neuroscience. This spring she will present original research at an international conference and publish a book chapter for the Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavior. Her hope is to continue publishing research and become a popular science communicator.
Zoe also served as the first student alumni member of the Hide In Plain Sight Board of Directors. Zoe remarked, “The Hide In Plain Sight scholarships meant that my life wasn’t over. There was hope– HIPS offered me a new beginning.”