Kimberly Lamadrid chose ACU because it met all her key requirements in a school: Christian; not too big but not too small; excellent cross country team; and located in Texas, a state she wanted to explore.
She didn’t anticipate the relationships that would change, and even save, her life.
Kimberly came to Abilene with a secret.
“I used to starve myself,” she says.
She felt pressure to be a certain size while running track in high school in West Covina, Calif., and she continued to battle her eating disorder on ACU’s cross country team.
Here, however, her teammates could tell she was struggling with something.
Kimberly opened up to teammate and new best friend Diana García Muñoz; the two had already bonded over their shared Mexican heritage. Diana held Kimberly accountable, offered support and encouraged her to get help.
She did. The junior psychology major is now studying how to help others do the same.
“A lot of girls have self-esteem issues,” she says. “They feel like they have to look a certain way. [I can help] show them there are people out there who care about them and that it’s fine to look different.”
Kimberly has long had a desire to help others, inspired by watching her older sister found her own non-profit to aid high school students in Mexico. She’s doing her part working with students in Abilene through the Upward Bound program, helping them prepare for college academically and financially.
She knows first-hand the struggle of paying for school.
“I almost didn’t come back my sophomore year because I couldn’t afford it,” she says.
But with the help of her admissions counselor, she found the financial aid she needed to stay and succeed. She’s focusing on her studies and plans to earn a master’s degree in psychology so she can help others succeed, too.
“We get to do a lot of research, and I think that’s very important,” Kimberly says. “At a bigger school, you can’t do that much research, and professors can’t help you as much as they do here.
“I love the community. It’s not small, but it’s small enough to meet a lot of people. I think it’s really cool that after so many years, the school has maintained so many traditions. I also like the growth I see in facilities and programs. ACU really embraces innovation, and it’s awesome.”
Published: September 2015