Steven Escobar-Mendez is no person to falter in the face of adversity, and his journey to Lehigh is proof of that.

Escobar-Mendez ’22 grew up in the Washington D.C area in a predominantly immigrant community, where much of his college life was seen as a non-option. Escobar-Mendez described himself as a “street kid” where opportunities and resources to achieve a good education were limited.

However, he didn’t let that stop him. He explained the reasons he applied to and chose Lehigh were two-fold: the financial aid and the opportunities offered here. He knew he wanted to push himself and capitalize on every single chance he had to better himself, and Lehigh was the place to do it. 

“When I began college, I knew I wanted to get a good education, but I didn’t have anyone to tell me what a college experience was like,” said Escobar-Mendez. “I wanted the freedom to choose what I wanted to do with my life, and Lehigh gave me the chance to do that.”

On top of receiving financial support, Escobar-Mendez worked as a secretary at Grace Hall on campus, as well as doing carpentry, landscaping and painting in the greater Lehigh area. 

When it came to financial aid, Escobar-Mendez said he began by just googling every question he could possibly think of. And then when he was on campus he became very upfront and would go to the office whenever he had questions. He said there was a week where he must have gone every single day. 

Despite the difficulties he faced, Escobar-Mendez said he’s had a phenomenal experience at Lehigh because he never thought he had the potential to accomplish as much as he did. 

“I don’t have an expectation for myself because of where I was from,” said Escobar-Mendez. “Growing up as a street kid, it seemed like that was all I was ever going to be, so I made a vow to myself that I wasn’t going to expect anything in life because I want life to be as bright as it possibly can be, and I would take any opportunity that came my way.”

At Lehigh, Escobar-Mendez said he has had the opportunity to travel to seven different countries and 15 different states, as well as been given job opportunities in companies like Google, Deloitte, and many more. 

“Lehigh has let me achieve my goals,” said Escobar-Mendez.  “It has helped me form into the person I want to be. It has helped me redefine the first title I was given and now, I can show what a street kid can actually do.” 

Escobar-Mendez plans to attend law school to study international law upon graduating from Lehigh, and has been applying to schools near his hometown.