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Serving the Vulnerable


By Oriana Parker

When Breana Curtis sees the face of a missing person, she can’t look away and forget it. “That’s someone’s child, or someone’s mother,” says Curtis, a criminology and criminal justice senior at Arizona State University.

Curtis has spent her ASU career seeking to understand who goes missing and how to help them. She has studied this issue through the lenses of race and crime and sought to understand the victims of human trafficking, particularly women and children.

Now, with support from ASU’s Christopher Rearley Scholarship, Curtis can pursue her ambition to make this her life’s work.

Awarded annually through ASU’s Disability Resources Center, the Rearley Scholarship will enable Curtis to keep a promise she made to herself.

“Before I went to college, I made a commitment that I would not get into debt while in the pursuit of my education, and the Christopher Rearley Scholarship has helped me stick to a personal commitment,” she says. “This fills my heart with gratitude.”

Created by Robert and Carolyn Rearley in memory of their son, who lost his battle with muscular dystrophy in 2007, the scholarship is given to students in ASU’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. “We feel that our son—who earned his criminology degree in 1997—is reaching out and impacting peoples’ lives in a positive way through this scholarship,” Carolyn Rearley says.

Curtis is grateful for the chance to help those missing faces. “I’d like to work for a nonprofit organization, such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,” she says. “As long as I could help serve vulnerable populations, I would be happy.”

Scholarships are one facet of ASU’s Disability Resource Center. To learn more about its impact go to

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