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HSF Students

Amanda Gabriela Chacon

  • Gender: Female
  • University: The University of Chicago
  • Hometown: Raleigh
  • State: North Carolina

Amanda spent the early part of her life in Florida, but she now calls Raleigh, North Carolina, home and considers her family to be the greatest source of her drive to complete a higher education. Her parents, each of whom holds a degree in Computer Science, were the first ones in their respective families to go to college and have worked hard to build their professional careers. Her older sister, an HSF Scholar at Georgetown, has also been a positive influence, demonstrating the power of hard work and persistence.

In the spring of 2020, she graduated from Cardinal Gibbons High School and is now a freshman at the University of Chicago, from which she received the University of Chicago Scholar Award Scholarship. As an undergraduate, she plans to major in Anthropology, ultimately intending to earn a doctorate.

Despite having had to overcome a significant health issue in high school, she made the All A’s Honor Roll for three consecutive years and was a member of the Biology Club and the Green Team, an environmental club, as well as the French Club. In addition, she was president of her school’s Model UN chapter and participated in school theater productions both, onstage and backstage. Her writing was published in the school’s literary magazine, and she won first place in the 11th Grade Writing Award for the Raleigh Fine Arts Literary Society Contest. Outside of school, she has been active in her church as an altar server, lector and Eucharistic minister, volunteered during the summer at a camp for young children, and participated in a local research study about adolescents with asthma.

In June 2019, Amanda was one of 200 students selected to attend the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s 2019 Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) at The University of Chicago. YLI is a four-day, overnight program that gives outstanding, Latino, rising, high school seniors the practical tools they need to set a course for success in college and career. “Being a part of the HSF network means to me that I will be able to meet Latinxs from all over the country who share my experiences and feelings about identity,” she says. “The HSF network will let me make new and meaningful connections to other Latinxs and prepares me, as I approach the adult world, with personal and professional connections.”

She wants students now debating whether to go to college to understand that it’s worth a lot more than just gaining knowledge in a particular field. “College allows people opportunities to make lifelong connections,” she said, “whether they be personal or professional…that allow access to new opportunities, such as internships, research projects, or even jobs.”