Kristina's father lost his battle with cancer when she was seven years old. After his death, her family fell below poverty level and struggled through years of emotional and financial turmoil. On the first day of high school, Kristina's mom informed her that she could not financially support her after graduation; she needed to find her own way to pay for college. As a student with decent grades and average test scores, Kristina realized that she was going to have to sell herself to scholarship committees if she wanted to stand out. That's when she devised the plan that led to her receiving several of the most selective and prestigious scholarships and grants that paid for 100% of her education at a Top 20 university.