Concepcion Torres, majoring in International Affairs, is a LatPro Scholarship Finalist

[I] cannot avoid mentioning particular childhood memories and events because of the impact they have had on my perspectives and decisions. I was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. I come from a middle-income family with roots in the Dominican Republic. I will never forget how my childhood and adolescence shaped the person I am today.

My parents arrived in the United States 25 years ago with little money and, through hard work, became business owners. Despite my parents’ lack of fluency in English, they managed to raise me and my three siblings, along with two other siblings and extended family members who at the time lived in the Dominican Republic. My parents ultimately established and maintained two well-known grocery stores for several years.

Unfortunately, when I was 12, my parents filed for bankruptcy, in the process losing everything we had owned. We then moved to the Dominican Republic. For me, it was a volatile and painful experience. I had great difficulty adjusting to the Dominican culture and school system. I spoke a fair amount of Spanish, but mostly English. I found myself completing my last year of junior high in a Spanish-speaking country, even though I did not know how to read or write in Spanish, and had a strong accent when I spoke the language.

A year later, we moved back to the United States, this time to the state of Florida. Again, I found myself in a challenging environment. It was hard to believe that my parents, who had been successful business owners, were now mistreated agricultural workers in Belle Glade, Florida. I felt traumatized and distraught. Yet, I endured and accepted the living conditions that were presented to me in a daily basis.

When I was 15, my parents’ frustration drove them to move again, this time to Ontario, Canada. During our stay in that country, I had the opportunity to interact with multiple refugees from the Middle East and Africa. Change and diversity had become part of my life, but along with that I had developed a sense of revulsion for injustice and an eagerness to break cultural barriers. At the same time, because of my relative isolation, I felt out of sync, belonging not to any particular place but to an abstract world.

Recently, as a student at Rollins College, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend a conference where the issue of human trafficking was presented. Among the panelists was a former Sudanese slave. I was standing in front of a human being whose childhood had been stripped away and replaced by a life filled with cruelty and pain. Looking straight into my eyes, he said to me, “I know you will make a difference, just by looking at you, I can see it. I can feel it.” To graduate with a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs will mean completing the first step towards fighting against and helping to eliminate international injustices.’s scholarship program is proud to announce Concepcion Torres as one of the finalists for its December 2012 application deadline. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

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  • I was awakened by this story from slumber and at 3 am I learned even more great things and even more personal aspects I did not know about Concepcion yet, and about her struggles and the goals and purpose that these created in her. I feel that her essay is evidence that she has the talent to communicate her experiences not only in writing for us but also in practice for the rest of the world.

  • Like the former Sudanese slave, I too, have the utmost confidence that Concepcion will make a difference in this world. This is a compelling essay that has only added to just how deserving of the scholarship Concepcion really is. Concepcion, you are going places. I am very proud of you.

  • I have known Concepcion as a little girl and now as a beautiful young woman. I as well know in my heart that she will make a huge difference. Great essay written by a beautiful,compassionate and intelligent young lady.

  • I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Conception when she attended school with my daughter. She has grown into a wonderful and caring young woman. Im very touched by this essay. I feel very privileged knowing she will be making such a difference in this world……. we need more people like her in this world.

  • This is a very touching and true story. Concepcion you are a very nice and caring young woman and you are going to keep succeeding in life cause you are dedicated and good at everything that you do.

  • I can’t believe how hard life could be to people, but yet every time we stumble we always get up to fight back. You are one of those individual who keep on fighting regarding the matchup and the environment. If they pick you I will be glad to see you fighting for other people rights. Whoever is reading this if you pick Mrs. Torres you won’t be disappointed. I believe she is your best pick. Thanks.

  • You are an outstanding person! Your history has demonstrated that throug perseverance and hard work, you and many others can overcome challenges. You have my admiration and respect.

  • Concepcion is a great human being and a hard worker. Im confident that she will do great things wherever she goes!

  • Concepcion, you’re definitely a very talented bright young woman, who has the passion to make a difference. Keep up the good work!

  • This is such a well articulated essay on the struggles of not only you and our family, but several others out there.This shows how of a strong, smart and inspirational women you have become. I congratulate you on first achieving success thus far in spite of such challenging obstacles. Secondly, I congratulate you for recognizing how you can make a positive change in your community. You can certainly relate to others like you who still haven’t found the confidence, determination, hope, or path to achieve their goals through higher education. I wish you the best of luck and hope that you get selected. Love you sister..

    • Thank you, that means a lot given the fact that we basically grew up as strangers. We never had the opportunity to cultivate a genuine sisterly bond. I’ve felt like an only child throughout my childhood, but am grateful that I’ve experienced what I did. That only contributed to making me the person I am today. Obstacles only ignite my passion to succeed. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my essay. Love you too.

  • You’re an inspiration to us women, especially us Latinas. You
    have such a contagious sense of humor and enthusiasm. You have the ability and the knowledge to go
    a long way and make a difference. Great
    job for the accomplishments you’ve achieved thus far.

  • I always knew growing up that you were different from the rest of us because we’re all unique in our own ways even though we are blood sisters but now I can confirm what the Lord has already revealed to me about you and your purpose in this world, I can see how you’re growing up to be wiser, smarter and more compassionate about people while maintaining your passion for justice and keeping a balance of level-headed thinking. I know for sure that you will change many lives and that you will impact the world greatly, I saw a vision once where you and I united to help impact the world and people in a major way and everyday I realize that the vision one day will be a reality. You have been through some struggles in life and have your own story of pain but what is amazing is that you did not allow life to destroy but rather you allowed it to shape you into the wonderful, beautiful, lovely, wise young women you are; keep up your strength, positiveness, courage and passion and most importantly continue to grow in your relationship with God. Love you sis

  • Great essay. It’s inspiring to read your story and to see your dedication to bettering your life. I wish you the best of luck in “helping to eliminate international injustices.”

  • I was always aware of your passion to help others and reach out to people of all cultures. After reading your essay it becomes apparent why you are so driven to reach your goals. Your essay was heartfelt and symbolizes the exact type of professionals needed for international cultural affairs. Concepcion you are a great individual and student and I wish you the best of luck with the Scholarship.
    You should definitely give Concepcion Torres the Scholarship, she is very knowledgeable and talented in many fields of international affairs and will make you proud.

  • I strongly believe that our background make us more confident or more weak, thanks the Lord you chose to be strong, I should say stronger. Make changes in the world and impact on other people lives require perseverance, patience and dedication, and you my dear niece has all of them and more. I encourage you to continue fighting in life as the brave woman you have become, and for sure it will garantee sucess. Being accepted in the 9 finalists is already an accomplisment, keep the good work and good luck, you well deseved it!!. Your aunt Mairola.

  • You are the best! This essay has inspired me and I,m sure others. You are a great example for others, even though you went through a lot you were able to accomplish a whole lot. I,m proud of you and hope and pray that you achieve much more and during that journey help others on the way. I believe in you and I know you can accomplish anything that you put your mind to. Keep up the the great work. Wishing you the best, Mayra.

  • I remembered when I first met Concepcion in one of my classes at Rollins College, that night she had told me her goal in life is to fight for injustice. When I read her essay. I was shocked. I had no idea what she has been trough when she was young. Every time, I see Concepcion at school she is always smiling and always happy. It is hard to tell she has been trough so much growing up. She is someone special, her strong desire to fight for injustice and to make a difference in this world is very clear and pure. I am proud to be her friend. I am proud of you Concepcion, your essay has touched me emotionally. You deserved to win this scholarship more than anyone.

    • Thank you so much for your kind and sincere words. Not too many people know about my past. I only mention it if it comes up, but yeah I choose to be a tool for God. To serve as an example to others, let others see through me that despite of how much you’re hurting God is always with you guiding you and mending your hurt heart and soul. Everyone has a purpose in life. I accept whatever God wants me to endure with a loving heart and a happy face, because you know what, at the end of the day it’s his will not mankind’s.

  • The quote ““I know you will make a difference, just by looking at you, I can see it. I can feel it.” gave me goosebumps. I believe in you, and I also think you will make a difference. Good luck!

    • Thanks! Imagine how I felt when I was standing in front of him. He represented every injustice I one day wish to combat. His name is Francis Bok, look him up on google. His story is beyond indescribable, his entire family was slaughtered and that’s when he was held captive as a slave for more than 10 years until he could escape to later become a refugee in the U.S. Former Sudanese slave Francis Bok.

  • I am sure that your experiences in life, along with the perspective gained at Rollins College, has helped mold you into a leader capable of doing great things at home and abroad. Keep up the great work, and don’t stop, cause you never know where or when your biggest opportunity lies.

  • I can only say how extraordinary person you are, Is not easy to overcome barriers that sometimes we put on ourselves but in this case you have, with this short essay I had learn more about you and the reason why you are the way you are, you will meet all your goals no question on that..


  • you have wonderful parents, you have a very humanly rich life, your roots are part of your life they are great, they make a better,more beautiful human being, and now that you have taste, you have experience many different places, many different cultural cities experiencies your aproach, your essay is unique, positive, YOU ARE THE BEST

  • Wow, after reading your essay, I feel privileged to be
    acquainted with a young woman who is not only strong, but has great
    ideals. I also find a sort of connection
    with your story as I am an immigrant and have the same sentiments when it comes
    to the subject of injustice. As an
    immigrant, I found your statement that you felt “…out of sync, not belonging
    not to any particular place, but to an abstract world,” particularly resonant
    of my own feelings and experiences regarding isolation. I suspect many other people who read your
    essay will find it not only moving, but inspiring and honest. I wish you all the best in your dreams and hope that you win.

  • Yo quisiera que tu ganara, y dios te ayude a logral todo lo que tu quiere. Dios te vas a ayudar a lograr todos tu proposito. Que bueno que tan joven esta buscando de dios, sigue en esos camino, que es lo mejor que tu a podido buscar. Dios te vas a concedel porque eres buena hija y hermana. Love you

  • Yo tengo para decirle a mi hija concepcion america que ya yo decubri asta donde llega la familia atraso, no pueden apoyarte ni siquiera en esta votacion, que es de gratis… Asi espero que el dia que necesiten algo de ti que tu lo tenga pendiente. I love you my daughter very proud of you for how far you have become. La mas estudiante de la familia que dios te bengiga y te proteja..

  • moving story of your life! I think a lot of us Latinos can relate to this experience but the sad part is that some do not do anything about it. People like you inspire and create change, keep up the good work girly! We are at a very interesting time now where we CAN really make a difference.

  • We are delighted to have you as one of our classmates. This essay was an emotional journey, expressed from the heart and translated from an experience that only a winner can communicate.

  • I’ve had a few classes with Concepcion and she is a brilliant woman with such a bright future. Knowing what I know now from this essay, I am sure that she is so deserving of this.

  • Concepcion is an exceptional student and she has a multitude of qualities that will benefit not only the Rollins community but the world!

  • she is a very outstanding student and give thanks for the opportunities to obtain such a grant, for a better future.

  • This essay has really touch me. As an immigrant my self we went thru a lot too. But you are such a billiant young lady, with your wisdom and talent you overcome all barriers that life has out there. Conception you are an exceptional human being and you have a lot to offer to this wold. I am very happy to be your friend.

  • Very interesting essay and I wish you the best as you seek your degree. Human Trafficking and human rights are issues many of us are not aware of and choose to ignore. We need people like you to bring this to our awareness and make changes for a better world for these victims. Keep up your hardwork and determination and I’m sure you’ll achieve all your goals.

  • Amazing story. It made me realize how our parents struggles and decisions as immigrants affects their families. Being from a middle class family and have moved around a lot when I was young; it was impactful. To actually see how much more impacted your life was, but to see you are going to take all those experiences and turn it into something GOOD- to help mankind it’s truly Amazing! You most definitely make a difference! God bless you in your journey to make this a better world.

  • I’m speechless. Definitely moved and inspired by your life.As human beings we all have our struggles, trials and tribulations. However, we really focus on ourselves. We rarely take time to look around and realize that others face these circumstances daily. That others live through this day in day out. To know your story, it’s like taking a breath of fresh air. It will make people like me grateful for what we have and lived. Best of all it gives hope to those facing the same battle. “One piece of the puzzle, is all it takes to complete it. I truly believe your that piece.” May you always be blessed in every step you take….

  • Your life story is very touching, and from looking and speaking to you would never give an impression of what you’ve been through. You have a very strong character and warm heart. I know you would do great along your life journey. You will inspire many people in your life, continue to be so dedicated and focused 🙂

  • she is a great person with a big heart, skills and knowledge to make change in our world, but above all to show that with effort and dedication Latinos can be the difference.

  • your story is inspirational, as i always told, you have great potential, keep up the good work…and follow your dreams…wish you the best Conception

  • MLK had a dream. Let Concepcion follow hers. She is a young passionate woman full of big a desire to make a change in the world. More over taking action in a huge issue like human trafficking. It’s time to let people like Concepcion start the change. The whole world deserves it. God Bless your long way Concepcion!!!

  • MLK had a dream. Let Concepcion follow hers. She is a young passionate woman full of big a desire to make a change in the world. More over taking action in a huge issue like human trafficking. It’s time to let people like Concepcion start the change. The whole world deserves it. God Bless your long way Concepcion!!!

  • Concepcion is a hard worker, great person. I wish her to have the opportunity to continue her journey, and have a bright and the best future.

  • Concepcion is a bright young woman who has the drive and determination to achieve any goal she sets for herself. I am confident she will do an amazing job and foresee great success for her. Connie is the best!

  • Few people have the gift of finding their mission in life through their own life shaping experiences. Stay focused and grounded and make this place (planet) a better place to live.

  • This essay is an amazing story about trials, perseverance and success. Miss Torres’ story is inspiring and heart felt. Many of us struggle with the curve balls that life throws at us, but this story shows how not giving up leads to success! Concepcion Torres is one of the most determined and steadfast people I know, if anyone is deserving of this scholarship, she is.

  • After reading this essay I’m very confident that Concepcion will be able to accomplish and meet all her goals. She has been through a lot and most people would not be able to handle all these changes.

  • A very challenging story , especially for someone at such an early age. Based upon her personal experience I can see what effect it would have on her and create her desire to help others in all similar situations. I commend her desire to want to make a difference.

  • Very well written essay. People like you is what we need more in this world. Someone who cares about others is always a plus. Very touching essay; with hard work you will surpass any obstacle you come across.

  • I’m impressed by the way you think, people like you is what makes the difference in this world. I like the fact to see how young you are, and seeing what you care about is really awesome. I wish you the best, God bless you.

  • Just reading about Concepcion’s struggles I can see she will be a perfect candidate for this scholarship program. Her family has taught her to not give up and she strives forward. She has great strength and determination.She will be a great representation of the cultural community.

  • As an immigrant coming from a family that had to move to a country with little to no knowledge of the language and culture I know how difficult it is to adapt to a new environment. Those challenges that you faced is what makes the person that you are today.

  • I find your essay very interesting and at the same time I admire your interest in helping others. Your personal experience is the engine and motivation to your success. There are a lot of immigrants that you will serve as an inspiration to. As a young Latin American you have made an important step on making a difference. I admire your motive.

  • Her experiences give her a totally different view and she will be an excellent ambassador. She has all it takes. Best wishes.

  • A life filled with adversity although different will definitely build strength and character if you use it for good. I believe that anything is possible with hard work and passion. Good luck with all that you do, I know you will be great!!!



  • I have taught at Rollins College for twenty years. Concepcion Torres, who has been enrolled in several of my classes, is one of the finest and most conscientious students I have had. Her world view, shaped by her background, is inclusive, eclectic and sophisticated. Since she came up the “hard way” she can identify with both the victors and achievers in society. She is one of the most promiising young women I know.. I commend her to you without reservation.

  • I have taught at Rollins College for twenty years. Concepcion Torres, who has been enrolled in several of my classes, is one of the finest and most conscientious students I have had. Her world view, shaped by her background, is inclusive, eclectic and sophisticated. Since she came up the “hard way” she can identify with both the victoms and achievers in society. She is one of the most promising young women I know. I commend her to you without reservation.

  • Concepcion is a person who deservers to have the this scholarship because she is responsiable confident an reading her story is a big struggl
    for those who want to achieve
    an cannot get where …so I wish her all the best………:-)

  • Concepcion es una joven muy especial. Sobresale con su caracter, inteligencia, y forma de pensar en comparacion a otras jovenes de su edad. Se merece esta beca y mucho mas.

  • I’m overjoyed to see how these nine finalists have made it thus far, but reading this young lady Concepcion’s story is something unheard of. I commend the other 8 finalists, but I honestly think Concepcion hands down is the winner of the LatPro Scholarship! She along with her story is unique, aside from her desire to make a difference in the lives of others, she has met people of all different backgrounds; there isn’t one person she probably could not relate to and vice versa. To stay firm in her beliefs throughout her harsh journey is highly unlikely for most people to be able to manage. God has been preparing her to make big changes in the world. We need someone with the courage and focus that she has to influence the international affairs representatives and the elite of our country. I’m quite sure she is that person.

  • I hope you really win this its an amazing story
    and through everything that you been through is just makes you a wondersful person
    God Blesss YOU

  • I think Concepcion should write a book in the near future. Amazing story put into a short essay, I can only imagine what other challenges and hardships she has had to face throughout her life. I’m pretty sure she will continue to face even more, but I’m also pretty sure she will be able to handle them. God does not give you trials and tests that one can’t handle, they are sometimes given to you to help mold the person he wants you to become for your purpose in life. To prepare for your purpose. Now the difficult part is knowing how to handle each situation and accepting it, but most importantly using it to do great things instead of using it as a crutch and excuse to do nothing or live as the “average” person. On the contrary, it seems like you adapted to each drastic transition and garnered the good instead of the bad. Good job, continue and stay focused. I’m sure you will win, you truly deserve it.

  • Perfect example for others to follow. You demonstrate true passion and dedication, going to conferences, being bold and speaking with the former Sudanese slave panelist. This only shows how determined and sure of what you want to do with your career and life. Not all students take the time to do this, they simply graduate with the diploma, and maybe do an internship, but you are truly going to the right places to immerse yourself even more. Excellent job! You have my vote. You more than deserve it…..

  • When Concepcion puts her eye or mind on something she doesn’t rest until she accomplishes it. I have not seen someone so steadfast and driven like her. Very rare and beautiful mind and person. If you were to take a look at all of her pictures as she was growing up you could tell she was different from other children. Her posture, behavior, attitude and presence was one of an adult. As a child she always seemed as though she was contemplating every conversation she was engaged in. She especially always enjoyed being around and talking to the elderly because she found their conversations enlightening and profound. Very wise, humble young lady. There is no doubt that she should win the scholarship.

  • Congratulations! I’m proud to see that you mention that you are hispanic and have Dominican roots. I don’t see the other finalists really emphasize that. I think that’s very important to mention being that this scholarship is meant to represent young future hispanic leaders. You have my vote.

  • I want to take advantage and congratulate you not only for being one of the finalist for this scholarship, which I am sure you will win, but I also want to congratulate you for your perseverance. Who ever is reading this I want you to know that Concepcion was also chosen to participate in The Hague Symposium on Post-Conflict Transitions and International Injustices that will be held in the Netherlands. Directed by the International Peace and Security Institute (IPSI)*.

    It’s a program where foreign affairs representatives like U.N professionals, international relations professionals get training on conflict resolution and mediation. 94% are professionals and only 6% of graduating seniors are selected to participate and she has been chosen! She is knocking every door she can. Keep in mind this is a very expensive 4 week rigorous program, she more than anyone deserves this scholarship.


  • Wow I enjoyed reading your essay. Very inspirational and refreshing. I’m sure you will do great things. I’m proud to have you represent young Latin women. Awesome job. Don’t worry someday you will have your happy ending! Concepcion is so deserving of this scholarship.

  • Thank you for representing Rollins College, the youth, women, and Latinos! Beautiful story, stay strong and focused! Continue to travel the world and spread your positive energy, determination, and compassion.

  • Continue to always smile and possess that humility and eagerness to excel. I admire the fact that despite of all that you’ve been through at end all you could think of is of helping to eliminate injustices for others. You went through your painful traumatizing experiences at an age that is difficult and with isolation, only with the presence of God. I’m beyond proud of you, I truly admire you and wish there were more of you. You’re more than a winner, you’re a champion!

  • AMAZING! I’m speechless at all that you’ve been through at such an early and critical age! It’s wonderful that you chose to use your experiences to do good upon other’s lives. Great job, I’m positive you will do great things!!!

  • Wonderful well written essay! I love it, I can’t stop reading it! I would love to see how far you go with your career. Great read.

  • Awesome story. Thanks for showing that there are still people with pure intentions in this world. Good luck in your endeavors.

  • Amazing and fascinating. You should have a blog if you don’t already have one. Very interesting story. Congratulations, I’m sure you will go far in representing Latinos throughout the world. Thanks for sharing your life story.

  • Necesitamos en el mundo jovenes con el talento que tu posees Concepcion. Esa beca seras para ti, pues tu esfuerzo y dedicacion de han llevado a ser una de las mejores; por eso te mereces eso y mucho mas . Felicidades

  • This essay is well written and shows the struggles of a family in search of the American dream. I believe Concepcion seems determined and focused on her goals. Very motivational story.

  • Sometimes life is hard you have to follow dreams when you grow up in the United States. Your passion is different. I believe in Concepcion and all her goals.

  • I am very impressed with how well this essay is written. Concepcion You are a very bright person, and I can see that you will have great success in anything you set your mind into.

  • Optimistic, friendly, compassionate, determined, intelligent, driven……. There aren’t enough positive definitions to describe Concepcion Torres. Wonderful human being and very hard working. She not only goes to Rollins College full time, but works a full time job, lives on her own, finds time to inform herself by attending conferences, presentations, field studies, and is involved in her community. Excellent example for others to be inspired!

  • Beautiful person inside and out. Has a contagious sense of humor and positive energy! If you get the opportunity to meet Concepcion she will impact your life.

  • Very responsible and reliable. Always willing to help anyone in need without judging nor questioning their predicament, open-minded and compassionate young lady. Is very focused on what she wants, where she’s going in life, what’s important, and how to get there. When in doubt her drive, curiosity, and restless determination makes her seek the answers. Awesome person!

  • I think that as Latinos, we can all relate to Concepcion’s story. Touching, inspirational and life changing essay. I’m proud to see that this young student is giving it her all despite all the challenging trials she faced one after another.

  • Very touching life story. Makes me proud to be Dominican. She represents hard working, determined hispanics!

  • Concepcion is very hardworking. I honestly don’t know how she can work and go to school full time, be part of associations and attend to international affairs related events. She has a good head on her shoulders.

  • Your sleepless nights writing research papers, studying and trying to stay current on global news will pay off! Good luck, hope you win!!!!!

  • Congratulations for how far you gone thus far, and where you’re headed. I see a very bright future ahead of you. I believe in you, I know you will make a difference. You already are with your story.

  • Amazing story of your life! You’ve been through a lot, but it’s what shaped you to be the wonderful person you are today

  • My family are immigrants and have gone through some hard times. I’m glad to see that you took your experiences and decided to change the life of others. You deserve to win the LatPro scholarship and much more.

  • Concepcion is so focused. Upon her graduation from Rollins she will be attending a 4 week program directed by the International Peace and Security Institute. She will then go for her Masters in Conflict Resolution and Mediation. Sharp young lady.

  • Beautiful person. She is always smiling and finds humor in every situation. Great potential to do great things.

  • No matter in what environment Concepcion finds herself she finds a way to overcome any obstacles and excels. Despite of not knowing how to read or write in Spanish when she found herself forced to complete her last year of junior high in the Dominican Republic, she completed that year with excellent grades. Has always been an excellent student, peer, and example to those around her.

  • Great kid, never followed the crowd, always focused on what she needed to accomplish. Very special young lady.

  • Concepcion has been through a lot, much more than what she describes in this essay. Despite of all she has always demonstrated a genuine desire to help those in need. Believes in a better world. I believe in her and appreciate her efforts, aspirations, and courage.