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HSF Staff

Janelyn Amaya

  • Gender: Female
  • University: Santa Cruz (UCSC)
  • Undergraduate Degree: Politics
  • Hometown: Perris
  • State: California
  • Organization: Hispanic Scholarship Fund
  • Position Title: Analyst, Scholarship Administration and Processing

Janelyn Amaya was born and raised in Perris, California. From an early age, her parents instilled in her and her siblings, the importance of education. They wanted their kids to aim high, and the household mantra was, “Que quieres ser? Una doctora o abogada?” [What do you want to be? A doctor or a lawyer?]

With her parents’ moral support throughout the college application process, she was admitted to the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). The sheer joy of having come that far, was paired with a set of obstacles, however.

“My hardest year was my first year at UCSC. I had never been away from home and I was seven hours away, which itself was a challenge for me. On top of that, both of my grandmothers, to whom I was very close, and who were so proud of me for pursuing a higher education, passed away that year.”

In the midst of processing the loss of her grandmothers, Janelyn decided to tap into their love and support as a source of strength—as “beloved angels” who could help guide her through tough times.

Her perseverance resulted in a bachelor’s degree in Politics and, while still in school, a part-time job with UCSC’s Academic Senate, involvement with Sigma Pi Alpha Sorority, Inc., and an internship at UCSC’s El Centro: Chicanx/Latinx Resource Center. At El Centro, she planned events, such as Dia de los Muertos and the Cesar Chavez Convocation, which were designed to “create a sense of belonging for students, through cultural affirmation, social justice values, and community service.”

Now, as an Analyst in Scholarship Administration and Processing at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, she feels gratified being able to assist students with their future academic goals. She also believes it is imperative that parents support their children in their pursuit of higher education, by being engaged with them, every step along the way.

In addition, she wants students to know that, “No one can take away your education, and knowledge is power.” She recognizes that college can be difficult, but advises that with hard work, success will follow.