From Contreras to Harvard


For those who dare, nothing is impossible

Jaqueline Morales, a daughter of migrants from Durango, has proven that with determination, anything can be achieved. On May 25, she proudly graduated from Harvard University with a master’s degree in educational leadership.

Proud of her origins

Jaqueline, 29 years old, was born in Durango but spent her early months in the town of Contreras, where much of her family is from. Her father left in search of the “American dream” when she was just nine months old, and she and her mother followed soon after, settling in the United States.

Despite now being a family of five, with two twin sisters born in the U.S., the Morales family remains connected to their roots and frequently visits Contreras.

Aiming to make a difference

Life in the United States has not been easy for Jaqueline and her family. While there are opportunities, there are also numerous obstacles. However, these challenges have only fueled Jaqueline’s determination to create a support program for migrant students and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

She acknowledges the financial difficulties of attending a private institution like Harvard, but she remains confident in her ability to achieve her goals. Her passion for educational leadership stems from her desire to help students facing similar or even greater difficulties.

Overcoming obstacles

Jaqueline’s journey to Harvard has been filled with sacrifices and hard work. Leaving her home in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 18, she pursued a dual degree in Law and Spanish at the University of California, Santa Cruz, over a four-year period.

Transitioning to Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was even more challenging, as it meant moving across the country away from her family. However, every effort has been worth it, as Jaqueline recently graduated with the highest honors despite facing temporary setbacks due to illness.

She cherishes the experience of being part of a diverse Latino graduation ceremony, where she celebrated this important milestone with fellow students from different countries.

An inspiration to others

Jaqueline has become a source of pride for her family and an inspiration to her twin sisters, who have also completed their studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

She acknowledges the sacrifices her parents have made for their children and uses it as motivation to continue striving for success.

A love for her roots

Unlike many immigrants who fully embrace their new lives in the United States, Jaqueline holds a deep connection to her Mexican heritage. She and her family make it a point to visit Contreras twice a year, where they are eagerly preparing a graduation celebration with their extended family and friends.

Jaqueline’s love for her hometown extends to the city of Durango as well. She enjoys exploring its streets, savoring the local cuisine, and appreciating the architectural beauty of the historic center.

She has also had the opportunity to travel to various parts of Mexico, further strengthening her bond with her country. From Guanajuato to Oaxaca, Yucatán to Sinaloa, and even Mexico City, Jaqueline has experienced the diverse beauty and culture of her homeland.

For Jaqueline, being Mexican is not just a part of her past, but an integral part of her present and future.

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