If you’re looking for Maya Rogers ’22 (Tulsa, Oklahoma), check the Rookery. Hidden in the center of the library’s fourth floor, the Rookery is a quiet spot just beyond the bustle of the circulation desk. Rogers likes to study there. “It’s a place where I feel very connected to Carleton,” she says. “I’m in the center of everything. But I simultaneously feel like I have space to do my own thing and focus on my work.”
Rogers loves how free she feels to “do her own thing” at Carleton. She has found a variety of campus communities to support her along the way. As a member of FOCUS, a Carleton program for science students from underrepresented backgrounds, she is developing her love of biology. She’s active with TRIO, a support program for students who are first-generation college attendees, are from low-income families, or have a disability. She’s also training to become a peer leader for the Office of Disability Services.
“As a person who was in a wheelchair for seven years, I hope to be able to use my voice to help make things better for students with disabilities,” she says. “I could feel Carleton’s genuine commitment to supporting students when I visited, and I’ve experienced it myself in so many different ways here.”
One of the ways Carleton supports Rogers is through the financial aid that enables her to study here. When Rogers’s myositis (a severe form of arthritis) began to limit her mobility, her mother left the workforce to become her caregiver. Meanwhile, her father supported the family with a series of blue-collar jobs. Money was tight, and even state universities seemed out of Rogers’s reach.
“Public schools offer so little financial aid compared to top private schools,” she says. “That’s why I pushed myself to do so well in high school.” She attended Oklahoma’s top-ranked public school and maintained a perfect GPA. “I knew that’s what I needed to do in order to make it to college,” she says.
Rogers matched with Carleton—her first-choice college—through the QuestBridge program for high achieving low-income students. She received a full scholarship, including money for books and personal expenses.
“I can remember crying myself to sleep over money growing up,” Rogers says. “I was worried because my parents were so stressed. But now, with my financial aid, I can support myself without putting a burden on my family. It’s such a weight off my shoulders. Now I can be stressed about my classes instead of about money.”
Right now, Rogers is focused on learning. She’s preparing to study abroad in Madrid on Carleton’s Spanish program, picking out classes, and researching fellowships to apply for. Thanks to funding from the Career Center, she spent her first Carleton summer completing an internship with the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice. She hopes to make it to graduate school after Carleton. But amid all that, Rogers cherishes a special goal that transcends her education.
“I want so much to be able to give back,” she says. “For years I’ve had a life goal of earning enough money to be able to give generous donations to schools and charities. I want to be able to change people’s lives the way my life has been changed. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I wasn’t at Carleton. I feel like I’m at home here.”