Golden LEAF Scholarship Alumni Spotlight: Nicole Flores Bautista

Golden LEAF Scholarship Alumni Spotlight: Nicole Flores Bautista

September 22, 2022

Golden LEAF Scholarship Alumni Spotlight: Nicole Flores Bautista

Name: Nicole Flores Bautista
High School Attended: Robeson Early College High School
Home County: Robeson
College Attended/Years Attended: UNC-Greensboro/2018-2020
Major: Human Development and Family Studies
Minor: Sociology
County Now Living In: Robeson
Employer: Southeastern Family Violence Center
Title: Victim Advocate
Years Working for Current Employer: 2 years

Connect with Nicole Flores Bautista on LinkedIn by clicking here.

What does rural mean to you?
I used to think rural meant impoverished due to a lack of resources available in my rural community, but now I know it means strong and the backbone support for other communities.

What were some of your major accomplishments during college?
A major accomplishment for me was being able to be the first in my family to graduate from college. Being a first-generation Mexican-American college student, it was sometimes difficult for me to find others who relate to me coming from an immigrant family; however, that never stopped me from accomplishing my goal in graduating and receiving my bachelor’s degree. Another accomplishment for me was that during my last semester in college, I was hired at my internship site for a full-time position. Lastly, I graduated debt-free!

What would you tell someone interested in applying for the Golden LEAF Scholarship about being a recipient?
I would tell people to take advantage of the scholarship and the program benefits of being a Golden LEAF Scholar. It was a great opportunity for me being a first-generation college student not to have such a burden with financing my education and being able to focus on my education. 

What helped you decide to live/work in a rural area?
While living in Greensboro, I could see the opportunities available in the area that were limited in Robeson County. I knew that back at home there were a lot of issues and changes that needed to be made. Therefore, I wanted to go back home to my community and help as much as I could.

What is your hope for rural North Carolina?
My hope is for better opportunities and resources throughout rural counties. As years progress, I want to see a positive change in the counties in economic and developmental growth. I believe that rural areas have such great potential for growth if resources and opportunities are made available.

What did you learn during your experience with the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program?
My experience in the leadership program was great. I was able to grow on a personal and social level. I was able to create new connections on a professional level. I also created new friendships with people who were also first-generation students. I learned how to make myself better with the mentors and staff who were able to assist me during my time in the leadership program.

What internship experiences did you have?
I had amazing internship experiences. My internship eventually turned out to be my current full-time position. During my internship, I was able to work on skills that I knew I needed to perfect. I enjoyed doing my internship at a domestic violence center because I was able to learn about domestic violence, its effects on individuals and their families, and being able to assist with families who were in need.

Did your experiences help shape your decision to live/work in rural areas? If so, how?
My internship experience did help me to decide to work in a rural area. I had an opportunity to see what my county needs. Every day I am learning at my job and in my rural area what services and resources are missing and are in need.

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