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Business major JoAnna Burciaga balances school, work, motherhood

“I feel blessed, and I don’t take any of it for granted,” says senior business administration major JoAnna Burciaga. Photo by Wayne Armstrong

Don’t bother telling JoAnna Burciaga she can’t do something. That’s only going to give her the motivation she needs to go ahead and do it.

Burciaga grew up in a poverty-ridden Denver neighborhood that had “a lack of motivation and a lack of knowledge,” she says. Her family didn’t give her much encouragement either.

“I wanted to get away from things going on at home,” says the senior business administration major. “School was my way out of those bad things.”

So she took advantage of every opportunity she was given, every open door.

“Sometimes it’s a stranger who gives you the leg up,” she says. “Magically, I think I’ve found all the right people.”

As a high school senior, Burciaga was awarded a Daniels Fund scholarship, the resource that allowed her to attend college in the first place. “I still feel such humility about that,” she says. “Without it, I wouldn’t be here.”

In addition to her studies, Burciaga volunteers for the Daniels Fund Scholars Program, interpreting for the Spanish-speaking families of other Daniels Scholars.

“She embodies the essence of a Daniels Scholar: displaying character, integrity and a willingness to serve others in her life,” says Melissa Martinez, director of the Daniels Fund Scholars Program.

Burciaga also works 30-hour weeks as a program support assistant for the Colorado district office of the Small Business Administration — her “dream job” that will become full time after graduation.

“Not only do I get to work for a lot of nonprofit organizations — I always wanted to do that and help other people — but I wanted that business aspect. They go hand in hand,” she says.

These are all things she does while acting as mom to 18-month-old daughter Azia. She also has a baby on the way with her fiancé, Reyes.

“I feel blessed, and I don’t take any of it for granted,” Burciaga says. “I’ve always been told you can’t be superwoman — and I took that on as a challenge.”



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