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SEU is You Jacqueline Merlos-Pacheco

SEU is You: Jacqueline Merlos-Pacheco, '20


Morristown, N.J. (August 19, 2020) – "My parents made the difficult decision to leave El Salvador and Ecuador to come to the United States and pursue the American dream," says Jacqueline Merlos-Pacheco, '20. "And my graduating from college was part of that dream."

Throughout her childhood, Jacqueline's parents both worked at least two jobs each to support their family. Their determination to provide her with a better future made Jacqueline feel a personal responsibility to prove that their struggles were not in vain.

This led Jacqueline to double down on her education and pursue a bachelor's degree in history, an individualized major in legal studies and a minor in political science. Her academic excellence in these fields earned her membership in SEU's honors program, Phi Alpha Theta, the history honor society, and the National Honor Society, Chi Alpha Epsilon.

"It makes me feel proud that I was able to live up to my parent's expectations for my education," says Jacqueline, who was a member of SEU's Commuter Council for several years. "And I will do all that I can to never let them down."

While earning her bachelor's was Jacqueline's first step in fulfilling her parents' American dream, her educational journey is far from over. In fact, she's been planning to attend law school ever since she participated in a play for her English class in the eighth grade.

Assuming the role of protagonist in "Twelve Angry Men," Jacqueline was able to help a fictional man escape the death penalty. This gave her a unique insight into the workings of a court room and made her want to pursue a career path that promoted justice and truth.

"I want to specialize in family law and handle cases that have to do with divorce, domestic violence and child abuse," explains Jacqueline. "SEU prepared me for this by offering classes like Victim Services that taught me how to properly offer services to my clients."

Despite Jacqueline's confidence in her own abilities, she credits SEU's EOF department with successfully guiding her transition from high school to college. The program's intensive learning structure helped Jacqueline expertly navigate deadlines throughout her college career. However, without the EOF program and other scholarship opportunities, Jacqueline might have never been able to earn her degree.

"My family does not have the money to send me to college and I didn't want to take out loans because of how much I will need for law school," explains Jacqueline. "Saint Elizabeth University has given me everything and more and I couldn't be more grateful."