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Congratulations to our 2020-2021 Chicana/o Scholarship Fund recipients! Get to know what our recipients are studying, what this scholarship means to them, and their motivation.

Marisol Perez Gonzalez

Master of Public Administration
By receiving this scholarship, I'm able to continue to finalize my studies here at the U and continue to give back to my community in different ways.

I'm always very motivated by my mom.

Blanca Fabiola Cisneros

Master of Social Work
This scholarship allows me to pursue my dreams, but also to give back to my community. Additionally, it's a validation of all the work I've done and all the work our community does. That to me is very special, and I'm so grateful to be here.

Outside of my parents, brother and sister, la comunidad motivates me. Pero, not just the academic and local community, but also las comunidades that helped us get thus far. My familia in Mexico, and la comunidad that helped them thrive, laugh, and love. Additionally, las comunidades we have built y las comunidades we have yet to build. The comunidades that our youth will build and the comunidades that will outlive all of us. This has always and continues to light my fire.

Sinndy Rios

Major: Honors Political Science and Sociology
Receiving this scholarship allows me to help the undocumented community and allows me to focus on community work instead of working multiple jobs to pay for tuition. This provides me ample time to dedicate to research or involvement in areas that will help elevate the voices of undocumented immigrants and first-generation students.

What motivates me: My parents, family, and community motivate me to continue my educational journey. All their sacrifices ensure an opportunity to pursue a career where I hope to create change for future generations. The necessity to represent the Latino culture in various institutions is imperative to create inclusive systems that work for the people. I hope to become an immigration or civil rights attorney where my work will continue to be influenced by the support from my family and community.

Jasmine Garcia

Major: Environmental Geoscience, Environmental & Sustainability Science
When I received a notification email that I got the scholarship I was really happy. I was already feeling the impacts from COVID-19 and receiving very little hours, so this scholarship really gave me hope to continue my education without having to apply for a loan.

My family motivates me to do more than what I am comfortable with, which has helped me gain confidence even during difficult times. I am grateful for the support my siblings have provided for me to continue achieving above and beyond. I am passionate about scientific research regarding water quality as well as looking for ways to achieve environmental justice in marginalized communities, including our community in Salt Lake City. When I combine research and social studies, I can start identifying strengths and capabilities rather than problems our community has and use them to make our community healthier and happier.

Janet Reyes

Major: Psychology, Positive Psychology Certificate
Minor: Sociology
Receiving the Chicana/o Scholarship means a lot to me and my family, because I can be able to keep going in my studies and accomplish my dreams and goals in life.

My biggest motivation is my parents. They have always been there giving me all their unconditional support. Motivating me to become a better version of myself. They are my greatest example of perseverance, resilience, effort, and hard work. My parents have sacrificed so much for us, coming to a country that was unknown to them. Which is why I want them to feel proud of my accomplishments. Knowing that their sacrifices were not done in vain. My passion about how we can use positive psychology in our daily lives to motivate ourselves and our loved ones, being resilient when we face difficult times, have self-compassion, and self-love among others, I know has impacted my family to live a happier life. I feel motivated to learn more about other topics such as discrimination, race/ethnicity, equal opportunities, culture, society, and higher education and be able to put them into practice. Such as helping college students from different backgrounds. I myself have felt discrimination and know how hard it is to learn a whole new language. I wish to create a welcoming environment for students full of support and be the guidance I know I needed in my most difficult times. My family and I came to this country with a mind full of dreams and thanks to the Chicano/Chicana Scholarship, I can make them happen.

Gabriela Villalobos

Major: Sociology, International Studies
Receiving this scholarship impacts my life, because it allows me to do more than just dream and actually do. Being here at the University of Utah as a student has been a life-long dream of mine since I was a little girl. I grew up in a financially unstable family. Being able to come to this university and receive this scholarship doesn't only help me and my family, but future generations to come.

There are so many people who motivate me to push hard - to fight back - to speak up; these people include my family.. the community.

Paola Linette Cervantes

Major: Political Science, Latin American Studies, International Studies
Thanks to this scholarship, I was able to declare a third major. I am proud to be a chicana recipient, and I'm happy to continue my undergraduate education here at the University of Utah.

Mi más grande motivación ha sido mi familia,amigos, profesores y mentores. Todas estas personas han sido un gran apoyo a lo largo de mi carrera académica. Cada consejo y cada oportunidad que me han brindado ha sido crucial en mi formación académica y profesional. También algunos miembros de la comunidad Latinx han sido un gran apoyo y un gran ejemplo para mi. Ellos siempre han confiado en mí y me han dado el apoyo necesario para continuar estudiando y hacer lo que más me gusta, sin importar que tan difícil sea el camino.

Reyna Elizabeth Tovar-Solis

Major: Social Work
Being at the U has been an amazing experience. I love the community, and being in a community with diverse Chicano and Chicanas.

My motivation is seguir adelante a pesar de todas las dificultades y pruebas de la vida. I have been working with students for the past three years. These students have impacted my life by being able to see them grow and share their stories with me. Knowing they count on me Working with kids has also been a motivation of mine to be able to see them grow and share their stories with me has motivated me to want to do better to ensure I will be able to help others make a change in their life. These students have been my motivation to get to work and continue with my day when things get rough along my journey.

Michael Anthony Gonzalez

Major: Operations & Supply Chain
This scholarship impacts my life tremendously. Working a job which pays minimum wage for part-time every week isn't really going to pay for a higher education, so this scholarship really means the world.

My motivation is driven by the people around me, I want to make the world a better place than what it is and the way to get that done is by the help of society around me.

Alec Serrano

Major: Games
Being at the U, I feel proud. I honestly didn't feel I would get here, but here I am. Receiving this scholarship means I can pursue higher education, continue my education after high school, and go on to greater things.

My parents are my motivation. They've always pushed me to do my best and have taught me why education is so important. By coming to this country, my parents have sacrificed so much and have given me the educational opportunities they themselves didn't have, and I won't let their sacrifices be in vain. They've been my biggest supporters throughout my education and I want to make them proud.

Melissa Medrano-Lopez

Major: Biology
Receiving this scholarship and even being considered as a recipient was such a great blessing to me and my mother. She has been a single mother raising me and my brother. I feel she has done so much for me, and this was a way of giving back to her.

My mother has been my biggest supporter throughout my life. Which makes her my biggest motivation to continue to pursue a higher education that she wasn't able to obtain. She has made sacrifices to give me a better future that she wasn't able to have. She has given me and my brother everything when she came here with nothing. That's why everything I do and hope on becoming is for her and my brother that have given me unconditional love and support. To become the first generation to graduate high school and even have a chance of going to a university. My family motivates me on becoming the person I always dreamed of becoming and not the person I have thought less of.

Yexalen Barrera

Major: Chemistry - Pre-Med Track
I'm personally really grateful for this scholarship, because it allows for me to continue my education and show that being a first-generation latina college student is possible.

What motivates me is my passion for learning and the idea that I can make a change. More importantly my family is a big source of my motivation. I will never be able to fully thank my mom and sister for the sacrifices they have made for me. They both taught me the value of hard work and persistence when things in life get difficult. They taught me to be proud of my cultura. I want to demonstrate education is possible as a first generation Latina college student. Go beyond the set biases and expectations.