Karina Levesque, majoring in Human Services Management, is a DiversityJobs Scholarship Finalist

[I] chose my major due to my own lived experience. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol for ten years of my life. I had a career as a fine dining chef. I created meals for customers that were amazingly simple and yet extraordinarily delicious. While creating these meals, I would match wines with each dish. Not only would I match them, I would also drink them. So much so that I created an alcohol and drug dependent monster out of myself. 

During that time I lost my family, friends, home, car, jobs, and myself. I came to the realization that I needed help and was willing to do anything I had to in order to get back to my life. I humbled myself and went to a detoxification center and cleansed my body from the poisons. I knew, in my heart of hearts, that if I went back to where I was from, I would use again. I asked for further treatment.

I ended up in a halfway house with a case manager that had more faith in me than I ever had for myself. He made me realize that I am worth something, a force to be reckoned with. After 4 months of treatment and then a year of sobriety I decided a career change was in order. I wanted to be a case manager for people with substance abuse addiction.

Currently I work in the mental health field; however, once I get my degree I know I will be able to do more than I ever dreamed. Getting my degree means I can help others that have gone through what I went through. It means that, possibly, I can prevent people from going through what I went through. It means I will be able to tell my kids that I set a dream and I achieved it. And that they can, too.

If I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, I would not change a thing. The experiences I went through created who I am today. I am a gay woman who has battled addiction and won. The gifts I have received from this battle are my wife, step-children, family, and myself. I would not have it any other way.’s scholarship program is proud to announce Karina Levesque as one of the finalists for its December 2012 application deadline. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.