Solidarity in times of crisis

Class of 2008 alumna Maria Rodriguez Dominguez looks back on graduating during the financial crisis

Our contributions have an impact on the next generation of LSE students, and can change lives.

Maria Rodriguez Dominguez

Maria R
Maria Rodriguez Dominguez

In these uncertain times, alumni need to stand with their communities, and support LSE students to complete their education, says Maria Rodriguez Dominguez (MSc Comparative Politics, 2008)

“In 2008, I graduated from LSE into the midst of the global financial crisis. It was – somewhat similar to today - an economically uncertain and worrying time for students and new graduates.

Despite the uncertainty, I graduated with dreams of the future opportunities I could have, and the belief that I could achieve them. This was thanks to the stability offered by the scholarship I had received to come to LSE, and the remarkable experience I had at our School.

A life-changing experience

My life was already transformed by coming to LSE. Not in my wildest dreams, growing up in a small town in Mexico, would I ever have imagined living in London. Thanks to the scholarship, I wasn’t being a financial burden to my family. But, like many first-generation students, I had feelings of self-doubt when I first arrived. For example, I did not feel prepared to study a graduate degree entirely taught in English.

Still, as time went on, I tried to take every opportunity that LSE offered. I attended as many lectures as I could and I had the chance to interact with and learn from renowned scholars. My scholarship donors - Santander bank – held events which helped me meet like-minded people. And I had the opportunity to meet incredible people from diverse backgrounds and with different interests.

It was at an LSE Mexican Society event that I met a distinguished Ambassador who made me realise that a career in diplomacy could be an option for me, and not a distant dream. A few months after graduating, and after a gruelling exam, I joined the Mexican diplomatic service, and am currently advising the Foreign Affairs Minister’s Chief of Staff on economics and public affairs.

My scholarship has been both a privilege and a commitment in the longer term to make at least a tiny contribution and open doors for other people.  My responsibility to my community has given me a passion for inspiring other first-generation students’ educational and professional journeys. I have been involved in initiatives that provide incentives for low-income public school students to improve their academic performance. I also recently encouraged a colleague to continue her studies in development at LSE, writing the reference letter for her successful Chevening Scholarship application.

northern rock
The financial crisis meant that the Class of 2008 graduated under difficult circumstances.
Image credit: Queue outside crisis hit Northern Rock in Brighton by Dominic Alves

Solidarity in crisis

In 2008, most of my cohort were very uncertain of our futures. We sent many job applications to different places which were mostly unsuccessful. At the same time, because we were all in the same boat, we supported each other while looking out for other opportunities.

As LSE alumni, we need to show that solidarity with the current and prospective LSE students of today, so that they can complete their LSE education, and have the opportunities and confidence to face the challenges of tomorrow.

Solidarity is key to recovering from this terrible crisis. Our contributions have an impact on the next generation of LSE students, and can change lives. Through generously supporting scholarship funds, more LSE students from a range of backgrounds - first-generation students, minorities, and women, will be able to achieve their potential and give back to their communities.”

The Student Support Scholarship Fund

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a heavy impact on LSE students from under-represented communities, those who are most in need of financial support. Applications for assistance  have increased, and prospective students are likely to struggle without your help.

To give other LSE students like Maria the gift of opportunity, please consider a gift to the Student Support Scholarship Fund today.

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