Serving as an Inspiration
At age 15, Lorena Lopez ’10 learned that it only takes one second to change your life. After suffering a seizure, she learned she had developed epilepsy. Concerned for her well-being, her parents didn’t want her to go back to school, much less attend a major university far from her hometown of National City, Calif.
“It totally changed my life,” she says of the condition. “I made new decisions and came up with an entire new course of my life.” She began volunteering with the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County, speaking to epileptic schoolchildren and serving as an example of what people with the condition can accomplish.
Drawing on her determination and ambition, Lorena was not only accepted to USC but landed on the Dean’s List and the Latino Honor Society, as well as receiving scholarships from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the USC Latino Alumni Association (LAA), the Morgan Family Foundation, the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County and the prestigious USC Norman Topping Student Aid Fund.
“My parents were very protective about me going to USC,” she says. “But being on my own was very good for me. My attitude was that I wanted to explore new places. Here there were so many people from different places that it was exciting.”
Of receiving the LAA scholarship, she says it showed her that she could be part of the Trojan Family and that alumni who didn’t know her were interested in seeing her succeed. “But it’s not just monetary,” she adds. “I was the only one from my high school to go to USC, so I didn’t have a friend. But LAA students [were] a support group and the scholarship brought opportunities to do community work.”
Lorena completed her Bachelor of Arts degree from USC Annenberg with a minor in Spanish and then continued her studies, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Today she is a clerk at Morris Polich & Purdy LLP’s San Diego office. Despite the odds, Lorena has not only achieved academic excellence but she also is an inspiration to young kids with epilepsy.