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Scholar and Alumni Newsletter
September 2016
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Scholar and Alumni Newsletter

September 2016

A Message from the Simon Scholars Staff

Greetings Simon Scholars college students and alumni! It has been a while since we shared a newsletter with you, and a lot has taken place in the interim. Many of you have graduated from college and many more have made steady progress toward that goal. Close to 90 of you are enrolled as full time students this semester! You have, collectively, served in a variety of leadership roles on campus and in your communities. You have studied abroad, seeking to better understand the world in which we live. You have dedicated time in service to others, both close to home and abroad. Many of you have entered the workforce, taking your gifts and talents out into world, and others have chosen to pursue advanced degrees. We have watched you struggle at times, and we have been inspired by your dedication and perseverance.

In short, you have demonstrated beautifully what it means to be a Simon Scholar. Thank you for all of your hard work, passion and dedication. We could not ask for better ambassadors of our program!

In this newsletter, we would like to share some updates on our newest class of Simon Scholars, our recent high school graduates/incoming college freshman, recent college graduates and our alumni. Thanks to those of you who contributed to this newsletter, and we look forward to including more of your voices in the future!

Graduation Announcements

Congratulations to the following Scholars for successfully completing their undergraduate degree this Spring! We are immensely proud of each of you and are honored to call you Simon Scholar Alumni. While we were unable to join you in person on your big day, please know that we were there with you in spirit and cheering for you from afar. It has been a pleasure watching each of you grow into the people you are today, and we look forward to seeing the future that unfolds for you. 

Niqyira Rajhi
Albuquerque High School, Class of 2012

Bachelor of Arts, Journalism and Design

Eugene Lang College, New York NY
Sheneille Wilson
Albuquerque High School, Class of 2012

Bachelor of Science, Political Science
and Criminal Justice

George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
 
Connor Carman
Santa Fe High School, Class of 2012

Bachelor of Science in Environment Studies, concentration is Sustainable Forestry

Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC
Anai Pulido
South Valley Academy, Class of 2012

Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice and Spanish,
with a Child Advocacy Minor.

New Mexico State University, Las, Cruces, NM

Armando Barquero
Santa Fe High School, Class of 2012

Bachelor of Arts, Business Administration

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Alyssa Romero
South Valley Academy, Class of 2012

Bachelor of Arts, Studio Art and Psychology

Cornell College, Mount Vernon, IA
Lurdes Ortiz
South Valley Academy, Class of 2012

Bachelor of Arts, Secondary Education
with a concentration in Communicative Arts

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 

Class of 2016 High School Graduates:

Congratulations to the following Scholars who graduated high school this Spring and are now entering college! These students were honored during our first official Simon Scholars Graduation Ceremony, held at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque on May 7, 2016. Alumnus Aurelio Corral served as the Master of Ceremonies for this inaugural event. Please keep an eye out for these Scholars on your campus this fall and welcome them to your communities!
 

Capital High School                                                                 Santa Fe High School
Jose Andazola: University of New Mexico                            Isaiah Wilder: University of New Mexico    
Taylor Tyndall: University of New Mexico                              Octavio Zambrano: University of New Mexico
Selma Gutierrez: St. Edward's University (TX)                    Mia Garcia: Loyola University - Chicago
Selina Fernandez: St. Edward's University (TX)                                                                                                         Lesley Estrada Diaz: SF Community College 
 
                                                            
 

South Valley Academy                                                             Albuquerque High School
Luis Pulido: New Mexico State University                              Arabella Valdes: University of New Mexico
Justin Krawic: University of New Mexico                                Imelda Nevarez: University of Denver
A.J. Granados: Cornell College (IA)
Jasmain Rodriguez: St. Edward’s University (TX)

  
West Mesa High School                                                           Native American Community Academy
Felicia Tafoya: University of New Mexico                                Felicia Sisneros: University of New Mexico
Jose Ortiz: University of New Mexico                                       Quirine Martine: University of New Mexico
Angelica Lopez: St. Edward’s University (TX)

Scholar Highlights

In preparation for creating these newsletters, we have the opportunity to reach out to our College Scholars and Alumni to gather stories of  your recent and noteworthy accomplishments. It is always rewarding and inspiring to hear what you are up to! Please let us know throughout this semester if have an accomplishment or announcement you would like to share with everyone!

Luis Ornelas, Santa Fe High class of 2014 graduate  and current Junior at Stanford University.

Luis completed an internship at the Community Foundation in Boulder, CO this summer. “I had such an amazing summer as their intern. I learned about the nonprofit sector and the amazing work that goes behind the scenes of a community.”

In his final reflection of the experience, Luis says “This experience helped me gain invaluable insights on the role that I can play within a community. Social change is possible and I contributed to it in this community, but there is a lot of work left to do and I know that this community is strong enough to make it happen.”

To read more of Luis’ reflection, check out the Stanford Urban Studies Program's blog:
http://humancities.weebly.com/blog/-mi-gente-es-mi-gente-y-la-adoro-my-people-are-my-people-and-i-adore-them

Congratulations Luis!

Adrian Sotelo, a 2016 CHS graduate and current sophomore at Knox College.

Adrian worked as a teaching fellow with Breakthrough Santa Fe this summer. During his previous semester at Knox, Adrian took a course entitled “Teaching Writing,” which proved to be very helpful while helping middle-school students with their writing this summer. Adrian shared that while he was not considering teaching as a career path when he began college, he is now more open to the idea. For more information about becoming a teaching fellow next summer, visit their website at: 
https://breakthroughsantafe.org/participate/teachers/

Suyent Rodriguez, Albuquerque High School class of 2014  graduate and current UNM student.

Suyent was nominated as Miss Black New Mexico and had the opportunity to represent our state at the Miss Black USA Pageant on earlier this month.

“I was able to place as one of the finalist on the national pageant, which was my very first pageant! Although I didn't take the crown home, I learned new things about myself by stepping outside of my comfort zone. I found my passion for writing and performing spoken word, which I will further pursue as a means to unify the African diaspora, and express my experience as an Afro-Latina!”

Way to go Suyent!

Adriana Erives Gonzalez, CHS class of 2014 and current junior at New Mexico State University.

Adriana is majoring in Civil Engineering, was recently named Vice President of  “Aggies Without Limits,” a NMSU School of Engineering student organization. This organization conducts engineering-related service projects both locally and abroad. Some recent projects include: improvements to a tent-city for the homeless in Las Cruces, and building a community center in Querétaro, Mexico and bridges in Mexico and Nicaragua.

For more information about the program, contact Adriana directly at
aerives@outlook.com. Congratulations Adriana!

Welcome Class of 2018 Simon Scholars!

This spring, we had the honor of welcoming the following students to the Simon Scholars family. As always, we received many more applications from amazing students than we were able to accept into the program. Our alumni Marilyn Cisneros, Aurelio Corral and Janeth Santos served on the selection committee and offered invaluable input throughout the process.  Thank you for your contribution!
 

Capital High School                                      Santa Fe High School
Anna Martinez                                                  Alyssa Pena
Gabriella Rodriguez                                         Diego Herrera
John Sotelo                                                      Gabriel Lopez
Jordan Quintana                                              Sakara Griffin
 

Albuquerque High School                            Native American Community Academy
Carlos Loera                                                     Reshawn Edison
Leticia Jiminez                                                   Shaylee Skidmore
Sergio Grajeda
Yamileth Vazquez
 

West Mesa High School                                 South Valley Academy
Brandon Trevizo                                                 Alejandro Rivera
Gabriela Gaspar                                                Genesis Gordiano
Serina Chavez                                                    Maribel Montes

Alumni Updates

Marilyn Cisneros, Class of 2011 Albuquerque High graduate, 2015 UNM graduate and current UNM Research Assistant.

Marilyn recently accepted a position with the Scholars Program as our Albuquerque Tutor Coordinator! Marilyn has worked as a tutor for us in the past and we are confident that she will do a wonderful job in this new leadership role. Congratulations Marilyn!

Yenni Tarango, a class of 2008 Capital High School graduate and class of  2013 UNM graduate.

Yenni recently completed a Master of Arts in Spanish Hispanic Linguistics with a focus on Morphosyntax, Phonology, Language Acquisition, and Language Variation. Yenni is currently working with the Mentor 2.0 program at South Valley Academy and hopes to pursue her Ph.D. Congratulations Yenni!

Ronald Orozco, class of 2011 Capital High School graduate and class of 2015 UNM graduate.

Ronald just began his second year at the UNM School of Medicine. Ronald is on his way to becoming the first New Mexico Simon Scholar Medical Doctor!

I can firmly say that the Simon Foundation had a tremendous influence on me and that has led me to where I am now. My future plans are to definitely serve my community as an MD and to influence others in my community in the same way that the Foundation has.”

Keep up the great work Ronald!

Melissa Amador, a class of 2009 graduate of Capital High School and class of 2013 UNM graduate.

Melissa is beginning her second year of the Masters of Social Work program at New Mexico Highlands University.

She is currently working on her field practicum at Children's Medical Services, and plans to pursue a career in medical social work.

“I really appreciate all of your support over the years! I couldn't have done it all without the Simon Foundation!”

Congratulations Melissa!

During the first week of August, we held our annual Simon Scholars Summer Retreat at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM. Antonio Maestas, Anai Pulido and Alyssa Romero served as our Support Staff during the retreat.

According to Anai, “Being at the retreat, I saw how some of the scholars were nervous about the upcoming year. I was there to share my wisdom and assure them that everything would be okay, being that I already passed through it." Alyssa added that “I think our role at the retreat was to be  there to feel the energy of the group in order to see which activities would be best at the time. We were also there to make the group feel comfortable, to answer any questions they had about college life and to share our experiences with them.”

TEAM TRIPLE A (Antonio, Alyssa and Anai) went above and beyond during the retreat, and we owe a large part of the program’s success to them. Thanks so much! In addition, a large group of Scholars came out for an afternoon to spend time with the younger Scholars and share their stories. Thanks to the following for making the journey up to Ghost Ranch: Marilyn Cisneros, Janeth Santos, Itzel Valencia, Valeria Olivas, Jasmain Rodriguez, Luis Pulido, Emmanuel Munoz, Angelica Lopez, Imelda Nevarez and Wendi Martinez. Your contributions and insights were invaluable!

College Engagement and Alumni Program

As demonstrated above, we have a long-standing tradition of utilizing our College Scholars and Alumni in our high school program. Our Scholars and Alumni have worked as tutors and retreat staff, assisted with workshops, served on the Selection Committee, assisted with planning group gatherings, and given back to the program in any way they can. We are grateful for your time and continued interest in the Simon Scholars Program, and moving forward, we would like to create more opportunities for you to engage with our High School Scholars and one another. This tradition of service and strong sense of community is, we believe, what differentiates Simon Scholars from other programs, and we want to capitalize on this strength.

Our vision for the Simon Scholars Program is that, over time, it will become largely Scholar driven and operated. In order to bring this to fruition, we need your input! During this academic year, we can foresee many opportunities for our College Scholars and Alumni to continue serving in the ways that you have in the past, and we can also foresee some new/expanded opportunities. We are also interested in providing opportunities for you to develop and practice your leadership and facilitation skills, as we believe that these skills will serve you in whatever professional path you choose. But most importantly, we want to hear what you would like to do in your capacity as a Simon Scholar college student and alum.

Early in this semester, we would like to host a gathering for any Scholars and Alumni who are interested in helping us identify the ways in which you would like to contribute to the program this year. We have discussed the possibility of developing a Simon Scholar Advisory Group, and if there is enough interest among you, then this gathering could be our first step in that direction. We have added most of you to our Facebook College Scholar and Alumni Groups, and we plan use this tool more this year given our early success with it. Please stay tuned for more news and updates!

Simon Scholar Alumni

 

Katrina Trujillo-Lucero

2007

Santa Fe High School

College of Santa Fe

Yesenia Tarango

2008

Capital High School

University of New Mexico

Daniel Fierro

2008

Santa Fe High School

University of New Mexico

Victoria Padilla

 

2008

Santa Fe High School

University of New Mexico

Chelo Rivera

2008

Santa Fe High School

West Texas A&M University

Melissa Amador

2009

Capital High School

University of New Mexico

Daniel Loya

2009

Monte Del Sol Charter School

University of New Mexico

Christian Jurado

2009

South Valley Academy

University of New Mexico

Meredith Schuh

2009

South Valley Academy

New Mexico Tech

Phuong Nguyen

2010

Albuquerque High School

University of New Mexico

Quang Thanh Nguyen

2010

Albuquerque High School

University of Denver

Penuel Bickley

2010

Capital High School

Colorado College

Nancy Martinez

2010

Santa Fe High School

University of New Mexico

Amanda Chavez

2010

South Valley Academy

Cornell College

Joel Gutierrez

2010

South Valley Academy

University of New Mexico

Cinthia Manriquez

2010

South Valley Academy

Cornell College

Cisneros, Marilyn

2011

Albuquerque High School

University of New Mexico

Aurelio Corral

2011

Albuquerque High School

University of New Mexico

Jordan Gutierrez

2011

Albuquerque High School

University of New Mexico

Monique Parks

2011

Albuquerque High School

University of Colorado, Boulder

Erin Ward

2011

Albuquerque High School

Barnard College

Rocio Archuleta

2011

Capital High School

St. Edward's University

Mary Ann Maestas

2011

Capital High School

Smith College

Ronald Orozco

2011

Capital High School

University of New Mexico

Janeth Santos

2011

Capital High School

University of New Mexico

Jaylene Fink

2011

South Valley Academy

University of New Mexico

Erika Miramontes

2011

South Valley Academy

University of New Mexico

Nora Ontiveros

2011

South Valley Academy

University of New Mexico

Colin Willis

2011

South Valley Academy

St. John's College

Niqyira Rajhi

2012

Albuquerque High School

Eugene Lang College

Sheneille Wilson

2012

Albuquerque High School

George Washington University

Armando Barquero

2012

Santa Fe High School

University of New Mexico

Connor Carman

2012

Santa Fe High School

Warren Wilson College

Saira Bustillos

2012

South Valley Academy

University of New Mexico

Lurdes Ortiz

2012

South Valley Academy

University of New Mexico

Anai Pulido

2012

South Valley Academy

New Mexico State University

Alyssa Romero

2012

South Valley Academy

Cornell College

Copyright © 2016 Simon Scholars Program,  All rights reserved.
College and Alumni Newsletter
September 2016

Our mailing address is:
524 Don Gaspar Avenue
Santa Fe, NM 87505

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