Woman details her giant leap from homelessness to inspiring others

A 29-year-old woman is detailing her story about how she made the transition from being homeless to inspiring others.

News 12 Staff

May 17, 2022, 2:28 AM

Updated 794 days ago

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A 29-year-old woman is detailing her story about how she made the transition from being homeless to inspiring others.
Shu Yi Zhou emigrated from Hong Kong when she was 1 year old with her family.
"I was homeless at several points of my life and my mother -- we were on government housing," she said.
She made a giant leap from low-income housing to Bette's House -- one of the most exclusive addresses at one of the most exclusive schools in the world -- Yale University.
Zhou has a leadership position at the Yale Young Global Scholar's Program, a summer program exposing high school students from all over the world to the best Yale has to offer. But that is not all.
"I am currently a graduate student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education studying higher education," she said.
Zhou is also focused on a third pursuit. She started Inspira Education in 2020. Inspira Education is a college consulting startup designed to help level the playing field for young people in both rural and urban areas. Zhou helps them navigate the complex and costly admissions process, regardless of their background, and uses Ivy League advisors who are mentors just like her.
Zhou says the person who has had the most influence over her is her mother.
"My mother is the strongest woman that I know," she said. "At a very young age, my mom always told me that education is going to be our way out."
Zhou says she writes letters to her 16-year-old self, letting the insecure child know the woman she grew into eventually found her footing, and is now clearing a path forward for others.
"My 16-year-old self would say 'I am so proud of you, I'm so proud of us, for sticking to what we believe in,' and that's education -- and paying it forward," Zhou said.


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