Victoria Alexander is a disabled and first-generation transfer student who has attended both Los Medanos College and Diablo Valley College. Victoria’s intersectional identities have influenced my goals to complete the undergraduate work with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and to engage in graduate study of LGBTQIA+ issues and trauma in Psychology / Neuroscience. Victoria expects to transfer to UC Santa Cruz. “After serving as a clinical psychologist and researcher, I have goals of teaching at the university and community college level.”
Amber Bell is a 29-year-old mother of two and a full-time college student at Contra Costa College. She expects to pursue a Political Science degree at Dominican University of California. One of her references said “Investing in Amber is investing in positive social change.” Amber plans “to be part of the transformative change our country needs to see.” Transformative activity begins at home as she has been a volunteer for the Alameda County Food Bank, and its healthy food program. She also active in the Birth Church.
Janette received her Bachelor degree in Integrative Biology from the University of California. She aspires to become a Physician Assistant (PA) because of the value PAs provide as essential members of interdisciplinary healthcare teams and leaders in the healthcare community. To that end she has been accepted to the Master of Physician Assistant Studies at Dominican University of California.
As a first generation college student, Blanca Castillo and her family faced extenuating financial obstacles. Her solution was to apply to Contra Costa College. She was very successful and will be graduating from community college with a 4.0 grade point average. While at Contra Costa she was Executive Vice-President of the Associated Student Union, on the Budget Committee, and interned with the City of San Pablo. Her intention is to pursue a Business Administration degree at the University of California or San Francisco State University
A first-generation, low-income student, Thyra Cobbs has been studying psychology at Los Medanos College and African American studies at Contra Costa College. She is a part of Umoja, Honors, and EOPS at Los Medanos and has served as the president of the Los Medanos College Associated Students. Thyra plans to transfer to Stanford University or UCLA and pursue a double major in Psychology and African American Studies. Her aspiration is to obtain a doctoral degree in psychology.
David De La Cruz, a first-generation college student, was raised in a single-parent household. He recognized in his younger siblings the struggles they had in the academic setting in large part because the community lacked the resources necessary for them to succeed. This became the motivation for his educational aspirations—majoring in business administration/economics. He intends to pursue his education at the University of California. He plans to enter the non- profit sector to serve as a leader in his community as a public interest lawyer battling discrimination in marginalized areas.
Albert Orozco is a first-generation Chicano college student graduating from Contra Costa College as a Molecular Biology transferring to the University of California. He is an active student on campus being a part of the student government body and advocating for LGBTQ+ students in the Rainbow club. Albert has been giving back to the homeless community in Richmond by volunteering at the Bay Area Rescue Mission. His dream is to graduate from Berkeley, pursue a Master’s degree, and do research work in medicine.
Chisomaga Ekwueme is a pre-med Biology major at Diablo Valley College who expects to transfer to UCLA. Fear of losing educational opportunities due to a recession led her family to emigrate from Nigeria four years ago. At DVC she served as Vice-President and Public Relations Officer for Alpha Gamma Sigma honor society, and is the current Student Trustee for Northern California. Chisomaga’s goal is to pursue a career in research and, eventually, in public service and advocacy for disenfranchised populations.
Bridgette is a first generation Latinx woman who is determined and strong willed. She aspires to work with low-income, minority individuals and families in her professional career. One of her references says “Bridgette has tremendous potential for success; the key is that she’s aware of that potential. I can easily say that her overall work ethic is one of the strongest I’ve seen.” This is exhibited by her excellent GPA at DVC and LMC. Her immediate goal is to pursue a Sociology degree at the University of Nevada Reno.
A first-generation Latino student, Mario intends to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Psychological Science at UC Irvine. Once he graduates he intends to pursue one of two paths—as a police officer or a private investigator; or returning to school so he could become a teacher or a counselor. Mario has worked and volunteered at the Northern California Family Center for foster youth. He goes out of his way to make sure they know he cares and is an advocate for them. The youth trust him because they know he genuinely cares.
A first-generation college student, Blanca Gonzalez attended both Contra Costa College and Diablo Valley College. Even in the face of significant challenges Blanca, as a young Latinx mother, invested time into herself to pursue an education and to build a foundation for her son. Her aspiration is to be federal agent for the FBI. Blanca intends to pursue a degree in Political Science, Legal Studies, or Administration of Justice at Sacramento State. Her volunteer activities have paralleled her career aspirations with work for the Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Alameda County Sheriff ’s Office.
Sasha attended Contra Costa College. After being awarded the Kennedy-King Scholarship in 2017 she attended U.C. Berkeley where she became a Regents’ Scholar. She earned her B.A. in Ethnic Studies in 2020. Sasha just completed her first year at the University of California Law School. She hopes to earn a judicial clerkship, possibly work as a prosecutor and eventually become a judge
Rafael Grande is a Diablo Valley College student who expects to transfer to the University of California Haas School of Business to obtain his degree in Business Administration and Finance. He has been the Controller for the Associated Students of DVC. He was admitted to the Harvard Virtual Venture in Management Program. He has developed a mentorship program to prepare students for college. Rafael has also connected with a Rotary Club in Honduras to raise over $1,000 to address hunger issues.
LaVanta received a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from CSU East Bay in 2020. LaVanta is committed and determined to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been accepted into the Master’s Program in Community Mental Health at Cal State East Bay. LaVanta says, “I take no opportunity for granted. My community needs me to help shift the underserved into overcomers like myself.”
Aiden Guzman was described by one of his Diablo Valley College teachers as “one of the most thoughtful, intellectually curious, and articulate students I have had the pleasure of teaching.” His 4.0 GPA attests to this. Aiden expects to transfer to the University of California-Santa Barbara where he will major in Philosophy. His goal is to become a lawyer. His work in the community tutoring children at the Monument Crisis Center and leading a De La Salle retreat to teach his fellow students what it means to grow up and self-actualize underscores this ethos.
As a first-generation college student and first-generation immigrant Veronica Guzman has encountered many educational and personal barriers. Born in Peru, she immigrated alone to the United States at the age of 15. Being part of a minority group she noticed the lack of minority STEM professionals in the country. This influenced her desire to become a role model in the medical field. Veronica intends to transfer to the University of California and major in Integrative Biology and Spanish.
Tyree Harris is an African American who was raised by his mother and grandmother. They always told him that his greatest assets are his work ethic and dedication to prosper in life. At Contra Costa College he majored in Philosophy.Tyree was a student-athlete at Contra Costa College competing on the baseball team. His work ethic paid off when he received a student-athlete award for combining his excellence on the field with excellence in the classroom. He expects to enroll at Fresno State University, Southern University, or San Jose State University to pursue a degree in Philosophy.
Monica Hicks read about the field of Computer Science in a newspaper, and it inspired her to return to her education. The difference was returning after addressing addiction issues through a 12-Step Program. These actions ultimately led her to Diablo Valley College where she excelled with a major in Computer Science. She expects to transfer to Cal Poly–San Luis Obispo. Her long-term goal is to be a project manager at a tech company where she can couple her soft-skills with technical prowess as a team lead.
Genevieve Kaplan is an indigenous person proud to be part of the Apache, Creek, and Yaqui Nations. While she was raised by non- indigenous parents, she did not lose her tribal heritage. Genevieve’s adoptive family is Jewish, so she has a unique background and perspective on life. The principal of Tikkun Olam—repair the world— became the governing principal for her interests. Her success at DVC, where she had a 4.0 GPA, has given her the opportunity to pursue a Political Science/Public Policy degree at the University of California.
Dannesha is a re-entry student who returned to the classroom in 2016. She transferred to CSU Sacramento where she received a Bachelor degree in Criminal Justice. She started working for a firm that produces software for organizations conducting clinical trials. Following the birth of a son, she is now prepared to pursue her Master of Cybersecurity at the University of San Diego.
Stephanie attends Contra Costa College and intends to transfer UC Berkeley or San Jose State University to obtain her B.S. in Chemical Engineering. She also intends to pursue a M.S. in Petroleum Engineering. “As a woman in STEM, I’m proud that I made this movement which helps students from under-represented backgrounds receive educational support. I find joy in tutoring and do my best to pass on my understanding and encouragement in all areas of my life and will continue to do so.”
Miguel received a BA in Political Science with Honors from the University of California in 2016. Miguel spent three years working as a Legislative Aide to Senator Steve Glazer learning the value of constituent services. Miguel will be entering his third year as a JD candidate at the Yale Law School where his work focuses on constitutional law, election, and political law. Miguel intends to establish a private practice and to enter electoral politics in the near future.
Marco is a first-generation college student. By rigorously working in the classroom, and by joining various clubs and organizations, including membership in the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) learning community, he developed the confidence needed to excel. Following a trip to Washington D.C., he was inspired to both develop his own personal skills and to share his expertise with other community college students. Marco intends to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UCLA.
Gloria Menjivar Beltran is a single mother of two who was born and raised in El Salvador and immigrated to the U.S. in 2011. She currently works as a Family Support Worker for Contra Costa County Behavioral Health. Her bilingual abilities have been important in her career opportunities. At Contra Costa College, Gloria did very well, with a 3.9 GPA. She intends to pursue a Psychology degree at Sacramento State University. The long-term goal is to pursue a Master’s in Social Work and work in mental health services.
Anita graduated from Los Medanos College in 2015, and transferred to CSU Los Angeles, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health. She then went on to pursue a BS in Nursing from Roseman University of Health Science in Las Vegas, NV. She is currently working as a Neuro Medical Surgery Registered Nurse at Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas. Her goal of securing a Master of Science in Nursing degree in order to become a Nurse Practitioner.
Following her graduation from Los Medanos College in 2011, Toi transferred to SF State University where she received a BA in English: Creative Writing. Toi recently served as a Gilman Ambassador with the Department of State for International Education. Toi will be attending Arizona State University in the Fall 2021 where she will be pursuing her Masters of Science in Family and Human Development so she can study the family structure.
Miguel Hernandez is a first-generation college student who emigrated from El Salvador just four years ago. He began his college career in El Salvador but had to drop out to help with family finances. After immigrating he arrived at Diablo Valley College to continue his studies. Despite working full-time, he has been very successful academically and is unwavering in his pursuit of a Ph.D. in Physics. He intends to transfer to the University of California. He wishes to return to his homeland to promote physical sciences via scholarship programs designed to inspire middle and high school students.
A first-generation college student, Daniela has begun to discover her potential in her two years at Diablo Valley College. Her goal is to obtain a teaching certificate and become a High School Government or Ethnic studies teacher. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in order to become a college professor at a community college. Transferring to UC Santa Cruz is something few expected from her while in high school, where she experienced challenges related to anxiety and homelessness.
Raised by a single-mom, Paula immigrated to the United States from Peru. Paula is an Economics major at Diablo Valley College who will be transferring to UC Davis or UC Berkeley this upcoming fall 2021. She intends to specialize in Data Science and Development Economics. Paula has used a heavy dose of community service to develop skills that will aid her in achieving academic excellence. One reference characterized her as a “reliable, hard-working, and genuine, and operates with the highest level of integrity.”
Joana Orozco is a first-generation college student at Contra Costa College where she earned a 3.9 GPA. She plans to attend UC Davis or San Francisco State University in the fall. She intends to study child and human development since her ultimate goal is to become a child therapist. She is determined to change her community outlook by helping minorities accept that mental health is as important as one’s physical health. Joana is the eldest daughter in the Orozco family and as such was the translator, bill payer, tax preparer, and job consultant for her mother.
Born in Mexico,Yazmin is a first-generation college student at Contra Costa College. She is transferring with an Associate Degree in Psychology to either UC Davis or San Francisco State University. She will major in Psychology and plans to become a therapist to help break the stigma around mental illness, especially in the Latino community. Yazmin has been actively involved in the family business during her college years. She developed a marketing strategy to increase the services of her Father’s janitorial services business.
After overcoming immigration struggles, family troubles, addiction, and repercussions from a life of crime, Irving was able to rebuild his life with a central goal: to use his preference for science to improve as many lives as possible. After his early struggles Irving found it difficult to obtain meaningful employment, so he used his entrepreneurial skills and started his own business—New Glory Painting. He is now pursuing a biochemical engineering degree. He expects to transfer to UC Davis. His aspirational goal is a Ph.D.
Juliana is a first-generation college student, at Diablo Valley College. In addition to pursuing associate degrees in sociology and Social Justice, she’s a student ambassador at the campus. With a 3.7 GPA, she intends to transfer to the University of California, Riverside to receive a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She later plans to further her education and seek a License in Clinical Social Work. Overall, her volunteer and personal life experiences have made her passionate about advocating for and assisting underprivileged individuals.
Andrea Sanchez is currently attending Diablo Valley College. She is majoring in Psychology and intends to transfer to UCLA. Andrea hopes to be a good role model to her 3 younger brothers by being the first to attend college in her family. She plans to earn her Bachelor’s degree and then pursue a law degree with the goal of becoming a medical malpractice attorney. Andrea has been active on projects of the Oakland Education Foundation and has interned with the Best Foundation running their website and social media platforms.
Ricardo grew up in Mexico and knew that education was a privilege that he shouldn’t take for granted. Employing a strong work ethic instilled by his parents. Ricardo’s ultimate goal is to work as an engineer in a company that holds the values of the community it serves. Ricardo intends to transfer to San Francisco State University after graduating from Contra Costa College. On campus he became a club member of La Raza, then as the Vice President of Club Affairs for the Associated Student Union (ASU), and finally as ASU President for 2020-2021, arguably the most challenging year for an ASU President.
Jonathan Torres Samayoa is a first-generation college student attending Contra Costa College and majoring in Electrical Engineering. Jonathon grew up in Richmond. He has lost friends due to gun violence always known what he has wanted to do and understood what an education could do for him. Jonathan’s first choices for matriculating are San Jose State University and San Francisco State University. With the help of his village, the whole community that supported him, he will make it.
Upon graduating from Contra Costa College Tamara transferred to the UC Davis where she received a BS in biotechnology. Upon graduation she affiliated with Children’s Hospital in Oakland working with an infectious disease physician. Her role led to studies of infectious diseases in rural communities in Kenya. She went on to work for a biotech firm where she conducted research studies in immune- oncology. In 2020 she enrolled at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. She expects to receive her MD in 2024.
A 2018 graduate of Diablo Valley College, Brendan transferred to Santa Clara University where he obtained his BA in Communication Cum Laude. He intends to pursue a Master of Communication Management at the University of Southern California in the fall. Brendan excelled in his coursework at both DVC and Santa Clara due to the support and mentoring he received from the Puente Project.
Daniel is a first-generation Chicano student who has come to understand the difficulty of navigating through an educational system that reflects the inequality of society. Through his scholarship he intends to pursue economic inequality research. Daniel intends to major in Economics at the University of California-Davis. His aspirations are to pursue a Master’s degree, undertake research, and run for local political office. Daniel’s founded an organization – Dreamers to Innovation – that provided high school students training in personal finance, economics, and entrepreneurship.
Jacqueline is a first-generation Latina student from Los Medanos College who expects to be transferring to UC Davis to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology and Behavior. She was named NASA Community College Aerospace, John Hopkins Neuroscience and Los Medanos College STEM scholar. Jacqueline wants to provide psychiatric care for at risk youth in her community as a future Physician-Scientist and ensure that every undocumented patient receives dignified care.
Brian is a 34 year-old family man with a wife and three children. He intends to transfer to San Francisco State University to major in Cinema. His goal is to become a screenwriter/director, and to one day own a production company. A larger goal is to help diversify the film industry. His volunteer activities include running and organizing the activities of his daughter’s Girl Scout Troop. A reference described him as “The Dad who always shows up.” He also volunteers with AA where he sponsors and mentors individuals in the program.