Maria Burgos spent 17 years in California's foster care system. After spending 17 years in California’s foster care system with over 14 placements and schools, Maria Burgos has proven statistics to be wrong. She is currently enrolled at Brown University with a 3.0 GPA studying health and human biology. To secure financial stability with receiving post-secondary education, Maria is recipient of the Beat the Odds and Sydney Frank Scholarship. In her near future, she will go on to graduate school and pursue a degree in public policy or public health. Engaged in her community, Maria has mentored youth with Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education and was selected to participate in National Foster Youth Congressional Shadow Day. She has even started her own non-profit called Project Shine. When she is not studying, Maria is either reading, volunteering or engaging in a relaxing long-distance run.