Scholarships 2012

Beserra, María Flores

SCHOOL

James Madison University (Freshmen)

AWARD

$500 VALHEN Scholarship

BIO

María is a freshman at James Madison University after completing her high school career with an average of a 4.15 GPA. At JMU, she plans to obtain her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and also become a licensed Registered Nurse. She would like to specialize in Oncology Nursing. While she was still in high school, Maria chose to get involved in her community and selected to do this through service to her school, church, and by participating in the track and field program. In her application essay, María expresses that for her, being a Latina is about putting forth her best effort in all that she does. María was brought to the United States at age eight and at the time didn’t really understand why her parents were making such a big move. Now though, she sees that America holds a brighter future for her and her family and she can find success through determination and hard work.

Juarez, Gloria

SCHOOL

James Madison University (Freshmen)

AWARD

$500 Liberty Tax “Una Familia Sin Fronteras” Scholarship

BIO

Gloria is starting her college career at James Madison University after completing high school with a GPA of a 4.1. Gloria plans to study nursing and would like to specialize in pediatric oncology to help children and adolescents battling cancer. For Gloria, giving back has been a part of her life through the service she has provided in her community by volunteering for a free clinic and engaging in student activities while in high school. Gloria understands the sacrifices that her parents have made and plans to take advantage of all of the opportunities afforded to her, especially that of obtaining her education.

Suxo-Smith, Dayshva

SCHOOL

George Mason University (Junior)

AWARD

$500 Liberty Tax “Una Familia Sin Fronteras” Scholarship

BIO

Dayshva is a graduate of Northern Virginia Community College where she completed her Associate of Science degree in Business Administration with Summa Cum Laude honors. Her academic achievements garnered the distinction of being on the Dean’s and Presidential Scholar’s lists every semester, completing her studies at NOVA with a 3.95 GPA. Her future goals include completing her bachelor’s degree in business with the aspiration of opening a bakery alongside her husband one day. Dayshva began to cultivate her love of baking and culinary arts while in high school by taking classes, participating in workshops and even taking part in baking competitions. She also began to hone her entrepreneurial skills in high school by starting a catering business. With a few more years of experience and a business degree in hand, she plans to embark on a bakery business of her own.

Velazco, Diego R.

SCHOOL

James Madison University (Freshmen)

AWARD

$500 Liberty Tax “Una Familia Sin Fronteras” Scholarship

BIO

Diego Velazco is a college freshman beginning this fall semester at Hampden-Sydney College. While in college, Diego plans to sharpen his skills as a writer and pursue a degree in Journalism, pursuing graduate studies after he completes his Bachelor of Arts. His career goal is to become a writer so he can highlight the plight of the immigrant workers in this country and help provide alternatives to the many issues they face on a daily basis. For Diego, watching his father and others sacrifice so much for an opportunity to accomplish their dreams in the United States is a motivating factor that makes him work with dedication. He plans to take advantage of every opportunity so he can advance and grow professionally and in this way make a name for himself and his family.

Vera, Brandon D.

SCHOOL

James Madison University (Freshmen)

AWARD

$1000 Mario Colón Rivadeneira Memorial Scholarship

BIO

Brandon is starting college this fall at Regent University. He graduated with a 4.17 grade point average from high school and was an active participant in his school and home communities with involvement in various honor societies, madrigals choir group and other community service activities. Although Brandon is just beginning his college career, he already has a clear vision of the future he wants for himself. He pictures himself as a world-class journalist writing for the New York Times one day. Brandon believes that overcoming obstacles and achieving dreams is at the core of what it means to be a Latino in America. He plans to make his mark on the world by writing inspiring stories about people who face hardships that seem insurmountable, to prove that there are ways to overcome and be successful, despite the odds.

Vera-Brain, Sebastian

SCHOOL

James Madison University (Freshmen)

AWARD

$1000 VALHEN Scholarship

BIO

Sebastian Vera-Brain completed his high school career with a GPA of 4.08 and is now in his first semester of college at Randolph-Macon College. Sebastian plans to pursue his love for music and engineering in college and has aspirations to develop new technologies that will benefit his community in the future. While in high school, Sebastian was selected to participate in Richmond’s Steward School’s Latino Educational Advancement Program (LEAP), where he learned more about his Latino roots and grew in his understanding of his heritage and began to take more pride in it. He also had time to participate in extra-curricular activities during high school where he perfected his love of music by participating in the jazz, pep, and concert bands.

Villarroel, Gisela M.

SCHOOL

Northern Virginia Community College

AWARD

$1000 VALHEN-CVC Campaign Scholarship

BIO

Gisela Villarroel will receive her Associate in Business degree from Northern Virginia Community College and then transfer to the University of Virginia next fall. Gisela is very proud of this accomplishment as she will be the first one in her family to receive a college degree. She is also a participant in the Pathway to the Baccalaureate program, a college access and success program that has helped her on this educational journey. Her future goals include leading organizations while helping to advance the lives of low income families like the one that she comes from. In addition to working full time to help her family and pay for her studies, Gisela also makes time to participate with Virginia 21, an advocacy group for young voters.