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The Future Architect

Future architect, multicultural advocate, proud Trojan, ardent collaborator

A career in architecture was not even a consideration when Betty Villalobos ’06 came to Wildwood in the 7th grade. Her internships during her junior and senior years changed everything.

“I worked for an architecture firm in West Los Angeles, and I would have never thought of doing that if I hadn’t gone to Wildwood,” says Betty, who is in her final year at the University of Southern California. “The internship helped me realize what I wanted to do, and it helped me know what to expect in college.”

Betty lives with her family in Inglewood. Her dad, a retired LAX employee, came to the United States from Mexico. Her mom emigrated from El Salvador at the height of that country’s civil war. Betty says her mother decided early on that Betty would attend an independent school. Thanks to financial aid, Betty was able to enroll at Wildwood.

“When I came to Wildwood, I was the shyest person in the world,” she recalls. “By 10th grade, it was a completely different story. I started taking leadership positions because the opportunities were there.”

Betty—who stands at just 5’2”—was the captain of her volleyball and basketball teams. Volleyball was a new sport for her. “I didn’t even have an interest in volleyball until I got to Wildwood,” she says.

Her school involvement didn’t end with athletics. Betty was on the yearbook staff and a member of the spirit club. She helped start the school’s first Diversity Club and was able to attend national student diversity conferences in Miami and Dallas—places she says she never dreamed of going.

“One of the benefits of attending Wildwood was that I got to participate in so many things,” she says. “I could be a freshman and still be a team captain.”

Through all of those experiences, Betty honed the Habit of Perspective—something she values to this day. “Growing up in Inglewood and going to Wildwood gave me very different views of life. I was one of a few Hispanic students. I knew I was different, but I didn’t feel different. Wildwood made it easy and helped me develop as a person.”

Today, Betty has a paid internship with Cad Services, an on-campus entity at USC that manages architectural drawings for the school. She also juggles 17 to 19 units every semester. It’s a busy time in her life, but she’s grateful for the opportunities and for the financial aid that made her Wildwood education possible.

“Other people invested their money in me, and I want to take full advantage of the experience,” Betty says.

The Annual Fund supports financial aid for deserving students like Betty. You can make the difference in a student’s life. Click here to make an Annual Fund gift or pledge.

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