Describing herself as a 'young Black 18 year old with a dream', Vittoria Mario launched a fundraising page so she could go to the University of Warwick to study mathematics.
Now, she's going. Thanks, in no small part, to a £23,000 donation from Taylor Swift.
Mario, from Tottenham in north London, created her page on GoFundMe explaining that she recently achieved grades A*, A* and A in maths, further maths and physics so had been accepted to the prestigious uni.
However, as is the case with so many students, money was a barrier.
'I may not be able to attend university due to my circumstances,' the 18-year-old explained on her page. 'I have lived in the U.K. for 4 years now, after migrating from Portugal to live with family in Tottenham. The socio-economic barriers of not being eligible for maintenance loans and grants is due not only to not having ‘Home’ status, but also because my family are low income, and unable to help me self-fund through university.
'Sadly, my father has passed away, and my mother remains in Portugal. Moving away from her was a challenge but it was a sacrifice worth being made, in my family’s eyes.'
Breaking down the costs involved including accommodation equipment and living costs, Mario explained how she had emailed over 400 businesses to request financial assistance but hadn't heard back. Mario also mentioned the lack of women, specifically Black women, studying and working in STEM courses in the UK, and how she wants to help dismantle that by being the change.
Swift - who has a history of making random donations to fans and organisations to help with things like college in the US, saw the Londoner's page so commented, simultaneously donating £23,373 exactly, to reach the £40,000 target.
'Vitoria, I came across your story online and am so inspired by your drive and dedication to turning your dreams into reality. I want to gift you the rest of your goal amount. Good luck with everything you do! Love, Taylor.'
Mario said her 'mind has been blown' by the gesture, describing it as 'miracle'.
Good luck to Mario and all the other future female mathematicians out there!
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