When Maria Malik found out she had been accepted to Princeton University with a full scholarship, she didn’t know if she would be allowed to go.

The eldest of six children in an observant Pakistani Muslim family, she knew that her parents wanted her to stay at home and would much prefer that she go to a women’s college.

But Princeton was her dream school. She never really thought she’d get in, but she had applied at the last minute after reading the memoir of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who also grew up in a family that struggled to make ends meet. Princeton sounded like paradise.

After double-checking to make sure she hadn’t been accepted by mistake, Maria — a debate champion at the all-girls Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice in Brooklyn —set out to persuade her parents that she could live in a co-ed dorm at the Ivy League college and still maintain her faith.

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