Homeless at 15, U of A new grad earns 3 degrees - Tucson News Now

Homeless at 15, U of A new grad earns 3 degrees

Source: Tucson News Now Source: Tucson News Now
Source: Tucson News Now Source: Tucson News Now
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

"I had to make makeshift shelter with blue tarps, to avoid the rain, and alleyways, sleeping near the Tempe Public Library."

At just 15  Albert Alan left home to escape his abusive father who struggled with PTSD, and found himself living on the streets of Tempe.

"I really had to hang on to my humanity and envision a better future" he said.

But Alan didn't just dream of a better life, he made it happen. He opened a new chapter at the University of Arizona. 

As a student Alan struggled to make ends meet, often forced to choose between eating and paying rent.

"I was just walking on this beautiful campus here and I was like, what is little me doing here? I saw the fancy cars, and the people and I thought man, am I even in the right place?" 

But his struggles soon became his biggest motivation.

In his time at the U of A Alan tutored more than 500 of his peers, and worked with the Borderlands Food bank to help provide produce to homeless communities. 

"What shamed and frightened me when I was homeless, it wasn't the fact of being homeless. It was the fact of dying alone on the streets without doing something purposeful in my lifetime."

Friday night Alan sat on the commencement stage... a graduate, receptient of the Robert Logan Nugent award, and with three degrees in physiology, neuroscience, cognitive science and sociology. 

He's one of 12 students who have been accepted into the pre-medical admissions pathway program to follow his dream of helping others. 

"Really be the physician that When I was marginalized wanted to see in my community."

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