When she was a child, Saskya Simon’s mother used to tell her, “the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” It’s a quote she has kept close to her heart, motivating her to work hard and be her best.
For Jacqueline Murphy, success was something she was always able to earn. From diligently working hard in school to seeking out the next academic challenge, she has always been eager to find new ways to thrive and grow. However, it wasn’t until she chose to step out of her comfort zone that she truly unlocked the door to personal growth.
From day one, Amanda Yerkes has been passionate about helping others. As a young child, her father was diagnosed with cancer and lost his job during his fight with the disease. Her family used all their savings to pay for the necessary treatments and, recognizing there would not be enough money left to help her go to college, she set out to work and save as much as she could to pursue her dream.
As a freshman in high school, Anna King didn’t expect her life to be abruptly uprooted. After her father lost his job, he was out of work for nearly four years – a period of uncertainty and hardship that would alter her path for years to come. Eventually, after he secured a new job, King and her family moved to Florida and she began her senior year in a new state.
The entrepreneurial spirit was evident in Kaitlin VanRoosendaal from an early age. She was only 10-years-old when she partnered with a friend to open the “Pink Flamingo Shaved Ice Stand,” offering refreshments for neighbors looking to cool off during the warm Colorado summer. That experience helped VanRoosendaal realize that engaging with customers and providing thoughtful service was something she wanted to do for a living.
Though there were plenty of times when she could have simply given up, Kateryna Sergyeyeva always remained focused on reaching her dream. From the conflict that raged across her homeland of Ukraine to academic setbacks, the obstacles confronting her were many. But none of that derailed her quest of pursuing a better life in the U.S. as an exchange student.