Empowering undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals
NEW AMERICAN SCHOLARS PROGRAM 2008 SCHOLARS
In 2008, we received applications from 176 talented immigrant students representing 78 Bay Area schools and 21 countries of origin. We invited nine extraordinary immigrant students to be part of our 2008 New American Scholars Program, granting them $40,500 in scholarship awards. Our 2008 Scholars hailed from Brazil, China, Guatemala, Peru, and Mexico. They attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz.
Agustin By the time I was in seventh grade, I decided that I would go on to college because I did not want to keep living the life I was living. I would see my father work 14-hour shifts, 6 days a week, without any pay for overtime. I wanted to escape the poverty-filled world I was living in and at the same time help out my own family. I was determined to go to college and nothing could stop me.
Since immigrating to the US when he was four years old, Agustin has proven that nothing will stop him from earning his college degree. In high school, he graduated in the top 10% of his class, received the Outstanding Student of the Year Award, and served as president of the Young Latino Leaders, where he volunteered with the Redwood City Pride and Beautification Committee and the Salvation Army. Simultaneously, Agustin worked up to 30 hours per week to contribute financially to his family. Agustin is now a junior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and still doesn't let anything slow him down. He is completing the rigorous Civil Engineering program, while working more than 20 hours per week at Trader Joe's to cover his college expenses.
Iris I am proud of my progress -- from a struggling immigrant to a healthcare advocate. Now I am determined to expand my knowledge about global health issues and further develop my skills as a leader in college.
Iris has been unstoppable ever since she emigrated from China when she was 14. She just graduated from Mission High School, where she completed seven Honors courses, six AP courses and earned a perfect 4.0 GPA. Iris co-founded Student Health Educators, a student group that advocates on health issues for under-served student groups. Through this group, she led an ambitious project to increase awareness about the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) among low-income teenagers. She applied for and received a $10,000 grant, and was also recognized by CA Assemblyman Mark Leno for her accomplishments. Iris has been accepted to and will be attending UC Berkeley in the fall, where she plans to study public health, applied mathematics, and anthropology.
Jonathan After visiting the Civil Rights Memorial in Atlanta, I realized I had to do more than what was expected of me. Without knowledge, a person is just giving himself away. I didn't want to fall into this category.
Jonathan's high school career was truly transformative. He went from being a self-described class-clown, who thought "there was no point in education, especially being a minority," to becoming one of this year's top graduating seniors at East Palo Alto Academy. He was one of the school's first students to enroll in an advanced placement math course, AP Statistics. Jonathan's teachers describe him as an inspiring role model inside and outside of the classroom. He was co-captain of the school's soccer team, leading his team to their first ever league title and undefeated season. He has also given back to the community as a peer mediator, school ambassador, and chairman of the Philanthropy Club. In the fall, Jonathan will be attending UC Santa Barbara to pursue Business, Economics, and Political Science.
Geidy Ever since I was a little girl, I would stare at the stars for long periods of time. Little did I know I was going to choose to major in Earth Science. I am passionate about Earth Science because it is an area where there are innovations and breakthroughs that can benefit humankind and provide future generations with a livable planet Earth.
Geidy's lofty childhood dreams are now grounded in the reality of academic success. She enters her final year at UC Santa Cruz as an Earth Science major with top accolades from her college professors and an exceptional 3.8 GPA. In preparation for a career in geology, Geidy is pursuing an intensive field study program that involves fieldwork at multiple geological sites. She is also an accomplished dancer, with strong ties to her home country of Peru, and performs with several dance companies in Peruvian, Bolivian, Indian, and other Latin dance forms. To contribute to the cost of her education, Geidy has worked throughout high school and college, waking up in the early morning hours to deliver newspapers with her mother.
Rodrigo Organizing a statewide fast was one of the most challenging events in my community-organizing career. Not only was I one of the main coordinators, but I also fasted for a week! Unfortunately the DREAM Act did not pass, but the organizing efforts left me with memorable experiences and a more solid relationship with the Bay Area immigrant community.
Rodrigo is a passionate community organizer and activist. He was valedictorian of his graduating class at MACSA Academia Calmecac in San Jose, where he participated in many social justice activities, including protesting against the execution of Kevin Cooper and going to Sacramento to address the California high school exit exam. Rodrigo is now a junior at UC Berkeley, where he helped create Rising Immigrant Scholars Through Education (RISE), a student-led group that advocates for the rights of immigrant students. In addition to his numerous academics and extracurricular activities, he currently works as a multimedia intern at The Greenlining Institute, a multi-ethnic public policy and advocacy research institute, and the assistant house manager at Casa, multi-ethnic residential program for students attending UC Berkeley.
Rosa My aspiration is to become a medical researcher so I can take care of my family's health and be an accessible resource to my often-neglected Latino and Asian communities' needs. I strongly believe I am on the right path to a hard, rewarding, and noble profession that will enable me to give to my community.
A fluent speaker of Portuguese, Spanish, English, and Cantonese, Rosa immigrated with her family to the US from Brazil six years ago. She quickly adjusted to her new surroundings and successfully graduated from Balboa High School with a 3.91 cumulative GPA. In order to save on college expenses, Rosa chose to attend City College, where she has studied the biological and health sciences, maintained a 3.85 GPA, and been placed on the Dean's List multiple times. Rosa's extraordinary accomplishments recently earned her acceptance to UC Berkeley, where she will be transferring in the fall. This summer, Rosa was awarded a highly competitive internship at the biotechnology firm, Genentech.
Daniela My teachers were confident that I had what it took to be a successful college student, but I never considered myself worthy of attending one of the top research universities in the country. Me? The foreign girl who just moved from Mexico three years ago, the one with the funny accent and not so perfect SAT scores. You must be kidding, right?
Daniela has never been one to shy away from opportunity. Only three years after moving to the US, she ranked 11th in her graduating class of 317 students at Concord High School, where she acquired a huge fan base of teachers, counselors, and classmates. Daniela just completed her first year at UC Davis, where she has already made herself known to professors in 200+ student classes, pursued a student post on the UC system's Board of Regents, and worked on the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. During her first quarter at UC Davis, Daniela saved money by living at home, waking up at 5am and commuting by train three hours a day. She has excelled in the UC Davis Honors program, earned a 3.75 GPA and plans to major in Economics and International Relations.
Ying Growing up as an immigrant and in foster care has made me an even stronger person. There are many more unforeseeable challenges ahead of me, but I am ready to work two, three times or even four times harder than ordinary American people to overcome those potential obstacles.
Ying is a survivor who has fought hard for his opportunities. After emigrating from China to the US with his father, Ying was later placed into the foster care program. Even though he has needed to work 20 to 40 hours per week in order to maintain financial self-sufficiency, Ying has managed to pursue his dream of higher education. He attended Skyline College and was placed on the Dean's List every semester. His academic accomplishments recently earned him acceptance to UC Davis, where he will begin studying Managerial Economics in the fall. In the future, Ying hopes to become a successful international businessman and start his own China-focused trading company.
Karen My dream is to one day provide the means for other children in Guatemala to obtain an education. I hope to build a school in Guatemala, in a small indigenous community near the coast, where children from disadvantaged families will be given the opportunity to obtain an education. This desire -- to create positive changes in my environment -- is what inspires me to overcome any obstacles in my pursuit of a higher education.
Bettering the lives of others is of greatest importance to Karen. At Eastside College Preparatory School, she co-founded a club called Step-by-Step, which has since become one of the largest and most active campus groups. As club president, she led efforts to test for water quality in the community, help with tree restoration in local parks, and raise funds for disaster relief efforts in New Orleans, Southeast Asia, and Guatemala. Karen has recently been awarded the highly competitive Hurtado Scholarship at Santa Clara University, where she plans to study Global Economics and Latin American Studies. In the future, Karen hopes to return to her country of birth, Guatemala, and improve the educational opportunities for children there.