By Dan Mehdi Jun 29, 2022
Spend a short period of time with 2021 Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program winner Nisa Rosales and you will see that hard work, infectious enthusiasm, persistence and resiliency are among her core values as she pursues a career in the criminal justice arena.
Hailing from México City, Rosales is a 2017 Rosman High School graduate entering her final year as a criminology major and pre-law minor at Brevard College after first attending Blue Ridge Community College.
With this scholarship, Rosales has been able to focus on her passion for the field of criminal justice while continuing to contribute financially to her family.
Rosales is the first member of her family to attend college in the U.S. after her parents moved from México to West Palm Beach, Fla., for greater economic opportunities.
At age 7, she began navigating a new school system and culture with only a cursory knowledge of English. “I only knew my ABCs and only a few other people spoke Spanish at the school,” she said.
From that time until when she began high school, her family moved back and forth between Western North Carolina and Florida working seasonally in Italian restaurants.
Rosales described that work as the “family business,” explaining that at age 15 she began cleaning tables at Osteria Del Monte in Sapphire, N.C. During semester breaks, she works up to six days a week as a waitress and is trying to learn Italian in her spare time.
Despite the obstacles of moving to a foreign country, Rosales remained undeterred in her effort to excel, particularly in academics.
She recalls her mother Susana inspiring confidence in her by often stating, “I know you can do this.” Her mother’s strong work ethic and accountability inspired Nisa to do the same.
Rosales described herself as being focused on giving her best effort regardless of the task because, “Once I set my mind on achieving a goal, I will achieve it.”
Her mother’s encouragement and example apparently took hold, as Nisa was consistently on the honor roll at Rosman High and recently made the Brevard College dean’s list for academic excellence.
Following graduation from Brevard College, Rosales hopes to attend law school in North Carolina and is currently considering programs at Chapel Hill, Wake Forest and the Elon University School of Law. Although undecided on which specific area of law to pursue, she is considering criminal and immigration areas while remaining open to learning about the prosecutorial and defense aspects of the law.
When not working at Osteria Del Monte or participating on the Brevard College basketball and football cheerleading squads, Rosales enjoys traveling back to the beach in Florida, hiking and camping in the natural beauty of Western North Carolina, spending time with family, reading and watching sci-fi movies.
She expressed gratitude for the Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program as it helped her and other students achieve their dreams.
For Rosales the award translated into a “half tuition” scholarship allowing her to focus on her studies and reduce hours working in the restaurant during the school year. It also provided financial relief to her family, allowing her mother to take time off from work.
Regardless of which role she chooses in the law or associated fields, it is clear Nisa Rosales has a bright future and the efforts of the Connestee Falls and surrounding community have enabled this determined young woman to take a big step toward her goals.