Profile of Student Success

Winter 2008 | | March 6, 2008 at 9:41 am

 Educational Trust Award Winner Enrolls at University of California San Diego

Receiving a GEAR UP Educational Trust Award at De Anza Junior High in 2004, Araceli Saucedo graduated as Valedictorian from Calexico High School and enrolled at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) in September 2007.

She is also the recipient of the Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship and has full tuition covered up to a doctorate degree. Coming from a family of five dependents with a limited income, Araceli achieved a commendable high school record and was awarded a generous financial aid package for her freshman year in college.

1. Tell us a little about your family and your background.
I come from a beautiful and unique Mexican heritage with all its bright colors and sweet smells, a family based on hard work and dedication. My family is composed of five members, my father Peter Saucedo, mother Araceli and two younger sisters Melissa and Sarah. My father has always worked hard and been dedicated to provide for his family. My mother at all times has been there for advice and guidance. We are close together and have God and ourselves to rely on. I am a young Latin-American woman who has withstood some of the hardest times of life and who is determined to advance.

Throughout my years of life, my parents have told me that they have no means of leaving me an inheritance; but what they can leave me is a good education. A solid education, they say, will be far more important
than any other material thing because it is one of the few things one can fully say, “it’s mine.”

2. When did you decide to attend college?
What is your educational goal?
Ever since I was a small child there was no doubt that I was to attend college. My parents brought me up thinking that I could do anything. Being that we are in the country of opportunities, college is possible. College is a beautiful time in a person’s life. It is a time where you develop socially, academically and as a whole person—a period when you work for what you will become in the future.

My educational goals as of right now are to major in Bioengineering: Technology and then proceed to graduate studies in Public Health. Bioengineering is a career where medicine and engineering come in unison. Bioengineering is applied to enhancing and helping the human body, an example of such is an artificial heart. Furthermore, Public Health is a field of study and practice of addressing threats to the health of a community.

3. What have you learned about financial aid, including the GEAR UP award from junior high school that is in a ScholarShare account?
Financial aid is a means through which a student’s academic goals can be accomplished.
It comes in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and work study. As a result, financial aid is money that you will get without having your parents pay or you work for it. Thus, the more you get, the less you owe.
Specifically speaking, the GEAR UP award is gift aid, meaning it is money that goes to pay for any of school-related needs. Moreover, as long as it stays in the bank and in the original account, it keeps on earning interest every year. This means that when you finally decide to use your scholarship money, you will get a bit more than what the amount was. Throughout junior high and high school years every so often, GEAR UP awardees receive statements of the total amount of the ScholarShare account. The scholarship is to be applied once the person has graduated from high school and enrolled in a college or university.

4. What educational expenses will be covered by your scholarship awards?
God has really blessed me with the Gates Millennium Scholarship and the GEAR UP award. The GEAR UP award is to be used in one academic term to pay for tuition or enrollment expenses. The Gates Millennium Scholarship
will help me pay up to my doctorate degree, summarized as 10 years of my education. It is a scholarship that pays for my unmet needs and takes the place of loans and work study. It provides for tuition, fees, room and board, books, and/or living expenses. Living expenses take the form of travel, food, clothing, health insurance, school materials and allowance.

Furthermore, it provides me the opportunity to study abroad such as France, Italy, Spain or any other country.

5. Do you have any suggestions for current middle school students, especially those from low income families, who want to attend college?
My main advice is summarized in one phrase—”Anything is possible.” It is a matter of reaching high, working hard and placing priorities first. One needs to have a plan for the future and middle school is the right time to start planning what classes to take in high school such as Advanced Placement, researching scholarships, looking for colleges, and what it takes to get there.

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