Written by Lucero Benitez, COSS Communications Specialist

A young mother with low income, a lack of resources, a 120-mile daily commute to Fresno State and several jobs and internships along the way used her challenges to fuel her drive and motivation to succeed.

Ana Dominguez is 21 years old, is raising her 3-year-old son, Liam, and is about to receive her degrees in political science and criminology from Fresno State. Her next stop is the University of California Davis School of Law.

She hails from the small town of Huron, on the West side of the San Joaquin Valley, which doesn’t have its own high school. Every day, she hopped on a bus at 6:15 a.m. to travel about 20 miles to Coalinga High School. Because of hardships like this, only about 25 percent of Huron residents graduate from high school, according to the 2018 American Community Survey — and only 1 percent go on to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Dominguez was determined to be part of that 1 percent.

“I didn’t really give myself that option of doing bad,” Dominguez said. “I always pushed myself. I figured that if I didn’t do well in school, if I didn’t further my education, I wouldn’t really have the future that I wanted. I tried really hard for good grades, and I put in a lot of work.”

She held on to that mindset when she was accepted into Fresno State. She had clear goals for what she wanted out of her undergraduate experience, although life threw a few curve balls at her.

At age 18, she gave birth to her son two weeks before her second year at Fresno State began. She said it was the support and understanding from family, her longtime boyfriend Gabriel Leon (Liam’s father) and professors that helped her continue on her path.

Read the whole story in Fresno State News.

Watch the story on KSEE 24, watch the story on ABC 30