In 2013, 20-year-old Carmel Wright, who had worked as a nanny and tutor after graduating from high school, was ready to consider college. Then she mysteriously lost the use of her right leg. What turned out to be an unusual muscle-bone condition set her on a yearlong path of treatment in Sacramento, Calif., where she eventually received the surgery that enabled her to walk again. Throughout her treatment she remembers thinking, “I have to recover because I’ve got to go to school.”
Because she had missed the application deadline for the nearby University of California—Davis, Wright registered at Sacramento City College. She earned two associate degrees in two years there – one in political science and one in behavioral science – and was accepted to the University of California—Los Angeles as a junior and awarded a full-ride scholarship.