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Northern Arizona University student awarded $40,000 by Arizona Lottery

The money is part of the Arizona Lottery "Gives Back" program aimed at helping deserving individuals financially.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — One Northern Arizona University student, Angela Sotelo, who is studying to become a Physician’s Assistant in downtown Phoenix got the surprise of a lifetime on Wednesday. 

Through the "Gives Back" program, the Arizona Lottery looks for people making an impact in under-served communities. 

"This is amazing and takes such a big weight off me, I can't even express how life-changing this is for me," she said. "I was just in Tucson and even having that added rent and pay my own rent at the place I was staying just added stress and became financially taxing."

The giant, $40,000 check was presented to Sotelo, off-setting steep student loans and heavy financial burdens. Her professors said that she is someone more than deserving of the gift. 

Now, she has financial wiggle room to refocus her energy on her passion, people in need of care, something that's been special to her, her whole life.

"There's a lot of health conditions in my family, my sister has epilepsy and she's had a lot of seizures and so I was always in and out of the hospital and my mom was diagnosed with Lupus and so I've always been surrounded by doctors," she added.

Arizona Lottery official John Gilliland said that the "Gives Back" program is a way to provide support to deserving people like Sotelo.

"All of these people who receive scholarships through the Arizona Lottery are committed to serving their communities here, communities that are under-served or may otherwise be overlooked, and those that face challenges," Gilliland said.

Sotelo said this game-changer gives her all the more inspiration to keep working toward a white-coat career, keeping patients healthy and happy.

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