“Goal Setting has been essential in helping me establish a blueprint for my career.”

CFES alumna, Shabel Castro, attributes her success after high school to the Essential Skill of goal setting; a message she shared with middle school and high school students as one of the speakers at the Dominican Consulate’s annual celebration. Now a third year law student at Penn Law, Shabel reflects on the lessons she learned as a CFES scholar at Richard R. Green High School of Teaching in New York City. Shabel shares that CFES taught her the importance of setting goals and building community, both of which have helped her throughout her pathway.

After graduating from the Macaulay Honors Program at Lehman College, Shabel worked as a legal advocate at the non-profit organization, Part of the Solution, helping families who were in danger of being evicted from their homes. Working for two years and becoming more civically and socially engaged is one of the goals Shabel set before applying to law school. As an aspiring law student, Shabel understood the characteristics and skills she needed to become a strong applicant. “Goal setting makes me committed to take advantage of every learning opportunity,” says Shabel. Two years after graduating from Lehman, Shabel was admitted to Penn Law as a Toll Public Interest Scholar – a rigorous scholarship program for law students pursuing public service.

Shabel remembers her first year at Penn Law as “one of the most difficult times” of her life. The academic rigor and impact of being a first generation graduate student was enough to make Shabel consider going back home. During the challenging moments, Shabel remembered her experience as a CFES scholar and decided to build a community at Penn Law. Despite feeling that some of her peers could not relate to her experience, Shabel found a support system. “CFES taught me that it’s always good to have a space to come together,” she says.