Media Contact: Adam Shapiro
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -OCTOBER18, 2011
HSF Names 12 College Students as Obama Scholars —
Funded by the President’s Nobel Peace Prize
Students Across the U.S. Benefit from Obama’s Gift and They Pledge to Give Back by
Teaching the Sciences
NEW YORK CITY— Hispanic Scholarship Fund (www.hsf.net), the nation’s leading Hispanic higher education fund, announced the second class of Obama Scholars. When President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, he donated $125,000 of his prize amount to HSF; other non-profits also received a similar contribution.
HSF, in keeping with the President’s call for more diversity in the teaching ranks of high school science, technology, engineering and math classes, decided to invest the money in scholarships for college students studying in the STEM fields who want to go on to teach these subjects in lower grades for part of their careers. The two-year scholarships will continue into the students’ senior years.
“This year’s class of Obama Scholars join last year’s group of 12 students who are now getting ready to fulfill their pledge to give back to the community. Together, all of these students represent the best traditions of America in terms of pursuing higher learning and desire to help the next generation understand math and the sciences. Many of the students are the first in their family to go to college and that also is an important way to create a college-going culture for Hispanic Americans,” says Frank Alvarez, CEO/President, HSF. “We remain grateful to the President and Mrs. Obama for their trust in HSF in making this donation and we feel we have carried out these scholarship choices in a way in which we can all take pride.”
HSF chose the Obama Scholars based on their academic achievements, essays they wrote, community activities and commitment to teaching in the STEM fields after graduation. The 2011 scholars are:
Walaa Abdallah, 20, of Yonkers, N.Y., is majoring in chemical engineering at Manhattan College in Riverdale, N.Y. She’s president of her school’s chapter of theInternational Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers, is helping to conduct research on heparin binding peptides, and is a peer tutor.
- Itxia Acevedo, 19,of Lewisville, Texas, is majoring in biology with minors in chemistry, secondary education, and Spanish at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. He has studied in Africa and eventuallywants to become an English as a Second Language biology teacher.
- Carlos Alas, 20, of Naples, Fla., ismajoring in mechanical engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He wrote, “I want to become an excellent engineer by working in the aerospace industry. I want to be a great leader by working on projects that benefit developing countries and by representing the Hispanic community to the highest standards.”
- Juan Crespo, 20, ofGranger,Ind., is majoring in atmospheric science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. His goal is to studyatmospheric phenomena our planet experiences and his inspiration is his 100-year-old grandfather who is still an engineering professor today.
- Rachael Hernandez, 21, of Chanhassen, Minn., is pursuing a double major in biology and Spanish at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn. Hernandez has worked extensively as a summer youth counselor for underserved students where she has developed lesson plans and conducts outdoor trips that help teach the physical sciences. She would also like to attend agraduate program to obtain a genetic counseling license.
- Roberto Jaramillo, 22, of Tucson, Ariz., is majoring in elementary education at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “After teaching for about ten years I would like to become a principal of a low achieving school and help to turn it around. I would work hand-in-hand with the teachers and other administrators to help the students test scores rise and to give them hope for their futures,” writes Jaramillo. He also is an officer candidate in the U.S. Marine Corps.
- Jesus-Mario Luevano, Jr., 20, of El Paso, Tex., is majoring in molecular and cellular biology with a minor in global health and health policy at Harvard University in Boston. He’s an undergraduate member of the Turnbaugh Lab, part of the HarvardFaculty of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Systems Biology, where he studies the complex interactions of intestinal bacteria, and was selected as a Harvard Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Fellow this past summer.Luevano also plays the violin as a member of the Mariachi Veritas de Harvard.
- Katherine Minaya, 19, of New York City is a biological science major at the University of Chicago. She aims to give back by participating in Teach for America or the NYC Teaching Fellows program upon graduation. “I want to teach high school students and lead them in a path that will get them to where they want to be,” she wrote.
- Eduardo Morfin, 23, of Sylmar, Calif., is majoring in aerospace engineering at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He wrote, “My goal this year is to work for an after school program called LA’s Best. I plan on becoming my school site’s science coach. Having the kids perform science experiments and competing in competitions is only the first step towards having them realize the importance of science in our society.”
- David Rodriguez, 20, of Casselberry, Fla., is an information technology major at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla. He wrote,“Throughout school I’ve always been very engaged with extracurricular activities. Whether it’s the Hispanic Student Association international fairs or volunteering with the Student Government Association at the lake clean ups, I always find these activities to be important, worthwhile, and fun.”
- Adriana Ruiz, 19, of Phoenix is a civil engineering major at Arizona State University in Phoenix.“I have become aware that there is an overwhelming need for science and math teachers in the United States and students are ultimately suffering because of this shortage. I want to help reduce this shortage and contribute my knowledge, passion and education within the science and math fields to the students who desperately need it,” she wrote.
- Jenny Salgado, 21, of Charlotte, N.C., is a civil engineer major at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is vice president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers at her school and is the first person in her family to go to college in the United States. Jenny says her main motivation comes from the desire to be a great role model to her two younger brothers.
Many of the Obama Scholars will be attending the upcoming HSF Education Summit, presented by Wells Fargo, and the Alumni Hall of Fame, supported in part by Walmart, at The Plaza Hotel in New York City on Oct. 24. The summit will examine the changing demographics of the United States with new insight about how Hispanics think about college. At the evening alumni event, HSF will induct four prominent individuals into its Hall of Fame.
About the Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Founded in 1975, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund believes that the country prospers when all Americans have access to the opportunities a college education can afford. As the nation’s leading Hispanic higher education fund, HSF works to address the barriers that keep many Latinos from earning a college degree. HSF has awarded over $330 million in scholarships over the past 36 years and has supported a broad range of outreach and education programs to help students and their families navigate collegiate life, from gaining admission and securing financial aid to finding employment after graduation. HSF envisions a future where every Latino household will have at least one college graduate, creating an enduring impact on the college outlook of Latino families nationwide, and strengthening the American economy for generations to come. For more information about the Hispanic Scholarship Fund please visit:www.HSF.net.
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