California woman dedicates Masters degree to her parents

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A California woman is dedicating her newly-acquired Masters degree to her parents.

Erica Alfaro graduated from San Diego State University on Sunday with a Masters degree in Education. Just days prior to this, photos that she posted in her cap and gown with her parents went viral, appearing in multiple media outlets.

The photos show Erica and her parents standing in the strawberry fields of Carlsbad. Her parents are farm workers who have worked in many locations, including that one, Erica told Fox 35. Both of her parents do not have any formal education. Erica is the first in her family to go to graduate school.

Erica told Fox 35 that she chose to take her graduation pictures in the strawberry fields because she wanted to dedicate her degree to her parents. She said she wants to thank them for their sacrifices and never forget where she came from.

Now that Erica has graduated, she said that she wants to be a school counselor or work for a non-profit organization. She hopes to encourage underrepresented students to continue with their education, help domestic violence survivors, and help teenage moms.

According to the California State University San Marcos, Erica was a teenage mom and is a domestic violence survivor. She made a promise to her son when he was just eight-months-old that she would be part of the two percent of teenage mothers who earn their college degree.

Not only did Erica earn her degree and go on to grad school, but she was also the student speaker for the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences morning ceremony, the California State University San Marcos said.

This story was written in Orlando, Florida.