For the Love of Algebra … and Family

Tuesday, November 7, 2023
PC student Roxanne Terraza Carbajal.
PC student Roxanne Terraza Carbajal.
PC student Roxanne Terraza Carbajal.
PC student Roxanne Terraza Carbajal.

“I chose my major when I was in fifth grade,” says PC student Roxanne Carbajal. “I remember going to school an hour early to learn how to do algebra; it was my favorite part of the day. Ever since then, I’ve loved math,” she says. Her success with math continued, as Roxanne tested into higher and higher match classes throughout high school. 

“I knew right away accounting was for me” she says, reflecting on choosing her major at Phoenix College. 

“This past summer, I faced a daunting hurdle: the pressing need for textbooks, money for transportation and tuition. Like many students, I found myself living paycheck to paycheck, making it increasingly difficult to make ends meet,” she said.

Also like most PC students, Roxanne works while attending school. But, when Roxanne’s mom got sick, the savings Roxanne had built up over the summer went to pay hospital and doctor bills. So, she approaches school one semester at a time, trying not to get overwhelmed juggling work and homework, paying for tuition and books, while also helping her mom pay bills.

For Roxanne, being successful means she does not have to worry every day about her finances, and that she will be able to help take care of her family, which she says makes her happy.

“I’m applying to the PC Honors Program, to further my academic success and support. 

And, I’ve been accepting into the HSI EXCELlence Program, which is opening doors to new opportunities for growth, an exciting journey I'm eager to embark upon,” Roxanne says. 

Roxanne’s days are filled with purpose, in her role a lead receptionist, addressing client concerns, helping with promotion and social media, and training new employees.  The work is equipping her with skills in sales, revenue management, marketing, cash handling, and more.

At night, Roxanne does homework alongside her little sister, and is thankful for the financial support scholarships provide, allowing her to concentrate on her studies, and worry a little less about the family finances. “The Bear Scholarship is a lifeline for me,” Roxanne says. 

After graduating from Phoenix College with her associate's degree in business accounting, Roxanne plans to pursue a bachelor's degree, and then secure a great job in a corporate office. “I am not merely chasing my dreams; I am working tirelessly to turn them into reality.”

Roxanne’s journey is a testament to resilience and the unwavering pursuit of a brighter tomorrow, despite the odds stacked against first-generation students. "My story exemplifies the power of education and the transformative power of a helping hand.”

PC strives to provide high-quality education to students from diverse backgrounds, regardless of their financial circumstances. Many PC students face financial barriers that can hinder their ability to access and complete their studies. Access to scholarships breaks down barriers and opens doors of opportunity. 

Scholarships provide deserving students with the means to pay for tuition, fees, purchase textbooks, and afford other educational expenses. Scholarships also instill a sense of motivation and confidence in students, encouraging them to excel academically and contribute positively to their communities.

Supporting student scholarships not only changes the trajectory of individual lives, it strengthens the local economy, and fosters a brighter future for everyone. If you would like to support students like Roxanne with a gift to the Alumni Association Bear Scholarship, visit