2020 National Voices Fellow
Nicole Serrato

Nicole Serrato has first-hand experience of the difference the right kind of education can make in changing a life.

Born and raised in the small town of El Sereno, northeast of downtown Los Angeles, Nicole attended the local public schools and struggled academically. In 7th grade, she was awarded a scholarship from the Children’s Scholarship Fund and it changed the trajectory of her life. That year she became an A and B student and was elected as the student body treasurer. She continued on this path and was offered acceptance into California State University. She declined the offer to begin a career with Primerica Financial Services, where she started as a sales representative, moving her way up to a Regional Manager within a few years.

After 2008’s financial crash, Nicole started working as a model, poet and actress in Hollywood. During this time, she frequently performed in the Los Angeles open mics, graced the runway, and trained at Anthony Gilardi’s Acting Studio. Once the economy improved, Nicole went back to finance, selling medical and business loans for Lending USA. In her spare time, she continued to follow her passion and began hosting Eastside Poetry, an open mic in Montebello, CA. Shortly after, she self-published a collection of poetry, Pieces of The Puzzle.

Nicole briefly toured in New York and Boston to sell her new book. While doing so, she connected with CSF, the organization that changed the trajectory of her life. In 2016, Nicole discovered her passion for filmmaking, quit finance and enrolled in Santa Monica College to pursue her degree. In 2018, she transferred to City College of New York, where she is finishing her senior year, majoring in Film Studies and minoring in Journalism. She currently works for The Children’s Scholarship Fund as a media and communications assistant and is a member of the CSF Young Leaders Board.

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