Degree: Master of Arts in Public Administration
College/School: Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs
Gisette “Gigi” Bolt knew the odds were stacked against her when she became a single mom at 16. Determined not to become another teen pregnancy statistic, she finished high school and began pursuing her degree in political science at FIU. She worked on several statewide political campaigns – including for Governor Jeb Bush and President George W. Bush - while going to school at night and supporting her daughter Katherine. In 2007, her family was dealt a blow when her mother Elsa was diagnosed with cancer. Gigi persevered, supporting her mother through intense radiation treatments and completing her bachelor’s degree in 2012.
Last year, while working toward her master’s degree, Gigi suffered an even greater tragedy - the loss of her mother. Though at times she wanted to quit, she knew she had to honor her mother’s legacy and be an example to her own daughter, who had also enrolled at FIU to pursue her bachelor’s degree in political science. Gigi continued her studies, including a weeklong study abroad experience in Spain just five months after her mother’s death, allowing her to immerse herself in the culture she had learned so much about from her mother, whose family originated from Spain. This semester, Gigi, 38, and her daughter Katherine, 22, will graduate together, fulfilling the dream of the woman who inspired them both.
By Amy Ellis
Communications Manager, Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs