Scholarship Recipients

 2018 Scholars

Welcome our 2018 scholar recipients…

Adam Casillas

I am Adam Zuriel Casillas, a mexican-american-korean from Long Beach, California. Although I sometimes feel like I am lacking something because I don’t speak Spanish, I am immensely proud of my heritage. I chose Berkeley because I believe it is where a lot of history happens, and that historical/current importance would help me grow both academically and personally. I’ve especially come to love the experience of taking chemistry classes at the place where so much of the foundation of chemistry has been established. I intend to be a molecular & cellular biology major with an emphasis in biochemistry. With that degree, I intend to go on to graduate/medical school to become a physician scientist, and hopefully treat children while simultaneously finding cures to their ailments.

Brenda Gomez

My name is Brenda Karina Gomez and I am from Pomona, CA and I am a first year at UC Berkeley. I am the oldest out of three girls and will always strive to serve as a role model for my sisters and other children from my community.

Due to my community involvement, I accumulated an interest and passion in community development which is why I am an intended Social Welfare Major with a Minor in Public Policy. I hope to one day create restorative justice programs in the city of Pomona and advocate for better educational pipelines that properly equip low-income students for higher education. In the future, I hope to become an elected official in the City of Pomona or even at a federal level!

I want to extend my gratitude for your kind donation and investment toward my educational career. Navigating higher academia while being a low-income student can be an arduous journey. This will allow me to buy books, food, and other utilities I need while at Berkeley.

Diana Renoj

I am Diana Renoj, the first of my family to go to a four-year university straight out of high school. My plan for the next four years at Cal is to find my passion within the Business industry, once I find this passion I hope to begin and expand a small business of my own.

Jessica Flores

Hello my name is Jessica Flores, I am a first-year at UC Berkeley. My intended major is in Business Administration, I am planning to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree and meet all prerequisites to get into HAAS School of Business. After my bachelor’s degree I would also like obtain a Master’s Degree to help open more doors into my “dream job”. Of course, along the way I will support my parents the same way they have supported me get into the place I am now. On that note, I would also like to thank all the donors that have contributed into our education and on our future success, it is greatly appreciated. Once again, Thank You!

Jennifer Ramirez

My name is Jennifer Ramirez and I am a freshman at UC Berkeley. I am an anthropology major and I am interested in the subfield of medical anthropology. My career goals involve some form of work in the medical field, either as an oncologist or pediatrician.

Kely Cortes

My name is Kely Cortes and I am currently a senior at UC Berkeley. I am double majoring in Chicano Studies and Legal Studies. I was born in Mexico and when I was 4 years old my family and I immigrated to the United States. Moving to a different country was difficult. My family and I were low-income and were living in the United States as undocumented mujeres. We grew up not having access to healthcare or many federally funded programs and lived in constant fear of being deported to Mexico. I care deeply about advocating for the rights of undocumented immigrants and yearn to be an immigration attorney because every day the Latinx community is disproportionately impacted by local, state, and federal legislation. As a noncitizen of this country, I understand from first-hand experience the struggle and fear of being undocumented and the adversities that accompany this vulnerable position. I aspire to be an attorney because it is important to have attorneys that truly care about the lives of immigrants.  I am profoundly humbled and thankful to the Chicano Latino Alumni Association for selecting me as a scholarship recipient. This scholarship will give me the opportunity to participate in UCDC (the University of California in Washington), a competitive program that combines an internship experience with a research seminar and an elective course without having to worry about the financial burden this program will bring on my family and me. I am eternally grateful for the donors of this scholarship for giving me the opportunity to travel to DC and acquiring knowledge and experience to help empower my Latinx community, a community that has so much to me.

Marithza Quiroz

Marithza Quiroz is transferring from Berkeley City College and plans to major in American Studies. One of her academic and career goals is to find innovative ways to merge storytelling, design and technology to advance social justice.

Mynor Martinez

Dear donors,

From an early age, I knew I wanted to become a doctor. Seeing the life of a family friend being taken away by gang violence, but most importantly experiencing death at first hand by the passing of my grandparent due to a heart attack, were some of the reason that shaped this desire. Coming from a rural area in Guatemala, my grandparents did not have the resources and access to the necessary standard medical care. The most they could obtain was in a local clinic that was equipped with the bare minimum: acetaminophen for headaches, aspirin for inflammations, and ibuprofen for fevers. Therefore, when my grandparent arrived in the middle of his heart attack, the only option that my family received was to transport him to the nearest hospital located one hour away. It was no surprise he did not make it. Thus, my career objective quickly became to be someone that could aid those when they need it the most. I soon became interested in emergency medicine, more specifically in becoming a trauma surgeon. I am currently studying to acquire a Bachelors of Arts in Integrated Biology in hopes of making this dream more tangible. As a trauma surgeon, I plan to work in the public field at first serving underrepresented and low-income communities here in Los Angeles. After acquiring experience and stabilizing myself economically, I plan to open my own clinics to serve those same communities regardless of their socioeconomic background. My aspirations do not stop here, as I also plan to cover international grounds and help those in rural areas by providing standard medical care, as well as creating projects that will allow the construction of clinics equipped with operating rooms, bed resting, and early treatment department: things that are missing in many of those areas. I do not believe this is unconquerable; rather it’s only a vision that requires time, support, patience, and perseverance.

Lesly Ardon

I would like to take this chance to thank you for aiding my family and myself through this scholarship. Though I cannot thank you personally, I hope that this letter showcases my gratitude and covers all the areas of my appreciation, for it is a true blessing to be a recipient of this scholarship.

Coming from a low-income household, my parents cannot extend the support and assistance that they would like to at times. I am one of four children and the second to go to college, so it is through this scholarship that I am able to see college as something for opportunities and not just a financial obstacle.  I thank you for the immense generosity that you have exhibited through the funding of this scholarship, but mostly thank you for allowing me the chance to be a student and not just a worker.

The scholarship will allow me to get more back from UC Berkeley as it will ease financial burden and alleviate some of the stress that comes with finance issues. It is for these reasons that I thank you for the scholarship and the avenues of opportunity that it will open for me. I have explained before that this scholarship can help me in more ways than one, it can help me either through personal avenues or through my academic expenses. I would like to take this moment to thank you for allowing a student from South Central Los Angeles to be a student in such a competitive space as UC, Berkeley and not just be a worker.

Ayla Martinez

Many dream of attending college and being well off in life. I am not many. I am Ayla Martinez, a Latina scholar and leader from South Central Los Angeles, witnessing injustices like discrimination, food inequity, and lack of school resources on a daily basis. I am the child of a single parent, and I understand how families in less-fortunate communities suffer.

My intended major is social welfare. Starting a new life at Cal means gaining the tools to educate, empower, and create a greater change. I am looking forward to learning from and alongside driven students and creating life-long connections. I am excited to work with the community and learn about more ways to make a larger impact. I am currently a CLAA fellow and a counselor for the organization called Student to Student Peer Counseling. Education and mental health are areas I feel strongly about, which is why I pursue opportunities where I can provide resources to those who need them. After graduating Cal, there is no doubt that I will impact low-income communities by reforming policies and creating organizations that help low-income students become leaders, take care of themselves, and reform their community.