Kelly/Strul celebrates its first graduate, Isabel Hidalgo

Due to COVID-19, FAU cancelled all spring commencement ceremonies. It meant Isabel Hidalgo, the first Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars graduate, faced the possibility of completing her bachelor’s degree without the usual pomp and circumstance.

That’s when the program’s team of administrators, faculty and staff resolved to recognize her hard-earned degree. Led by FAU mascot, Owlsly, a car caravan of Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program members and FAU History Department faculty surprised Isabel at her Cooper City home.

“I am so shocked,” said an emotional Isabel. “I could not be more grateful to have such an amazing group of people who have supported and encouraged me.”

Isabel, who graduated in three years, will return to FAU this fall to pursue her master’s in History. While studying for her post-graduate degree, Isabel plans to continue her work mentoring and connecting with other FAU first-generation students.

“This school has been a second home. I found a place where I truly belong; it’s why I am staying for my master’s,” she said. “I can’t wait to help other students like me move into that path I’ve moved into, to find their way and to find family.”

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