At 16 years old, Denisse became an emancipated minor and upon graduating from high school, enlisted in the United States Coast Guard to escape the toxic environment in which she grew up. Denisse remained in the Coast Guard for 6 years and, upon returning to New York, became an EMT and later a certified medical assistant. Despite her work, Denisse began to feel that something was missing from her life and enrolled at Bronx Community College. Shortly after, she entered a toxic relationship that hindered the pursuit of her college degree. But after recognizing how the relationship mirrored that of her childhood, she knew she had to get out. Motivated by her 4-year-old son, Denisse has the goal of creating a career for herself in Information Technology. Denisse has now graduated from Queensborough Community College and is currently en route to finish her bachelors degree from CUNY School of Professional Studies in Information Systems by June of 2023.


“I am sure that in my life there will be many more obstacles and challenges that will arise, but I am confident that I will tackle any of them head on.” – Denisse Rivera