Trista is a dedicated mother and fierce advocate for her community. She bounced around between friends and family members most of her life until she formally entered the foster care system at age 12. She stayed in foster care until she aged out at 18, and stayed in 11 different placements. During these continuous transitions, Trista also started working when she was 14, helped to launch youth leadership groups when she was 16, secured an internship with a local law firm, and maintained a steady job. Trista obtained her high school diploma shortly after leaving foster care, and spent the next 8 years going to college part time while working full time to ensure that she would not be homeless while getting her education. She was able to have incredible opportunities including working for CPS as a Youth Specialist to advocating for foster care reform on Capitol Hill. At Austin Community College they were able to create positions and clubs for former foster youth as wella s paid positions at the school. At Texas State, they built support systems that allowed former foster youth to connect with their school community and become part of the 3% of youth who obtain a post secondary degree. Trista also worked in technology, which is really where she made the money to stay in school. During that time she also had her oldest son and was pregnant with her second son when she finally graduated with her B.A.S. in Criminal Justice in December of 2011. She originally wanted to be a Juvenile Probation Officer, but during the 8 years she was in school, Trista’s focus shifted to finding efficient ways to make the greatest impact through community outreach and service projects. However, working in technology allowed her to fund her free time, first allowing her to work on community outreach, but then as she became a mother, to spend time with her children.