By Alicia Roberts

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A local woman who just returned from graduation at Oxford University is proving that anything is possible. She earned two degrees as a Rhodes Scholar.

Eyewitness News reporter Alicia Roberts has her inspirational story you’ll only see on CBS3.

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“It changed me in a lot of ways, it really did,” Anea Moore tells CBS3.

On Sunday, 24-year-old Anea Moore graduated from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar – an honor awarded to only 32 Americans every year. And she did so earning not one but two masters degrees, something that even caught their master of ceremony off guard

“‘You’re getting two?’ Yeah, I am getting two, and the whole audience was shocked. ‘She’s getting two!’ Because everyone there was getting one,” Moore said.

It’s not the first time Moore has defied the odds.

“When my parents died I largely had to make the choice that I was going to fall down and let this defeat me or I was going to get back and really push,” she said.

In 2015, when Moore was just 17, her dad passed away. Nine months later, her mom followed. Both from health conditions many who grow up in lower-income communities often face.

“She was making $7.50 an hour. We were on food stamps, we didn’t have health care, and I remember the day that she died the emergency medical examiner said to me, ‘Well didn’t she ever go to a doctor? They would have been able to detect she had hypertension,’ and I said, ‘Sir she didn’t have health care,” Moore said.

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Moore says following their death, she lost her home – staying with relatives and friends in between semesters at Penn where she earned her undergraduate degree. It was then, she took action on a high school guidance counselor’s advice to continue her studies outside Philadelphia, a journey that brought her to Oxford, England.

“I have friends from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and when first time in your life are sitting with people from all these different places you’re learning about so many more different lifestyles beyond what you see every day walking down the street,” she said.

She’s now back in Philly working full-time and volunteering for nonprofits focused on investing in our public schools, determined to help break the status quo her parents faced.

“They did the best they could with what they had but I always imagined if they had all the opportunities that I have been so lucky to have what would have happened?” she said.

Moore credits her success on her parents and those who stepped in in their absence. She is hopeful others may take watch of a young person who just needs that someone to believe in what is possible.

“Never underestimate how much your help and your love, and your care means for the person that’s struggling next to you because without my community and my family I would have never gotten here and never gotten through everything I have been through,” Moore said.

As remarkable as Moore is, she is just getting started.

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Moore says she’s considering law school down the road and hopes to run for public office in Philadelphia one day soon to improve schools for the next generation.

Alicia Roberts