Latinas First Foundation May 2020 Newsletter

Latinas First Foundation May 2020 Newsletter

Message from the Founders:

Normally, we would be celebrating our 9th Annual Latinas First Foundation Luncheon to honor the work of our scholarship recipients and awardees.  Even though we are not together in person, we would still like to thank you for partnering with the Latinas First Foundation.  After 9 years, we are humbled by your continued support, which has allowed us to continue our scholarship giving. 

This year we awarded 30 scholarships to our next generation of Latina leaders.  We encourage you to read more about our scholarship recipients below and on our newly developed website.  Our goal with our website and communication redevelopment is to focus attention on what matters—our community and their successes.   

In addition to all of you that have made our scholarship awards possible with your generosity, a special thank you to our Scholarship Committee and Speed Mentoring volunteers.  These roles are massive undertakings, particularly because this year has had its own unique challenges.

We look forward to celebrating with you in the future. 

 Our sincerest thanks,

Meshach Rhoades and Juanita Chacon

2020 Speed Mentoring / Networking

On Saturday, February 22, 2020, the Latinas First Foundation held its annual speed mentoring and networking event. It was a beautiful Saturday and the only thing brighter than the Colorado sunshine was the enthusiasm and electricity in the room. The room was filled with amazing and accomplished women; 70 student mentees and 25 mentors.
It was so inspiring to hear the life experiences and learn from each other! Mentors shared information and provided direction for the students as they work on building their careers. One of the highlights of the event was the awarding four scholarships.
The event featured workshops on networking, communications, branding, interview techniques and personal branding. In addition to the workshops, students had time to practice in a structured “Practice to Polish” session. As usual, ours mentors came prepared to share tips for the student mentees that included:  
  • Be prepared; Be involved; Be bold. Make sure people know what you want and what you can do.
  • Surround yourself with people you want to be like. Take advantage of those who came before.
  • Do something every day that scares you – growth does not come if you stay in your comfort zone. Say yes to opportunities – volunteer for something you feel passionate about.
  • Be on-time, dress for success, ask open-ended questions – be interested: that makes you interesting.
It was so gratifying to see the young women engage and learn. As one participant said, “I came for the scholarship, but now I don’t mind if I don’t get one, because what I learned was so much more valuable.”!
This was a spectacular event and we are so thankful for everyone’s efforts! Thank you to our sponsors: Community College of Denver, Santiago’s, Starbucks, Einstein Bagels, and Snarf Deli. A special thank you to all the students and mentors who came out that day to make the event a success. The women in the room were truly inspiring and demonstrated "the possible".

Latinas First Foundation holds this event each spring – we look forward to seeing you there next year!


Congratulations Scholarship Recipients

Jenasey A. Martinez
Alameda International High School

Megastar Financial Scholar

My goal for my education is to attend Regis University and major in Criminology and minor in Pre-law. I want to pursue a career in being a Social Worker or a Probation officer to be able to bring some more justice into the community and also be able to attend law school to become a District Attorney. With being able to take the specific classes I will need, I know my dream in pursuing both careers will happen.

Mayra Muñoz
Adams City High School

Megastar Financial Scholar

My goal is to study business at Colorado State University. Once graduated, I will be able to pursue my greater passion of cosmetology. After having both my business degree and being a certified cosmetologist, I hope to be able to open up my own salon.

Lucy Italya Padilla
Littleton High School

Megastar Financial Scholar

To be able to make mental health services affordable and accessible to my community, I plan to earn my Master’s and PhD in Clinical Psychology at Regis University. With these credentials I hope to inspire future generations while having my own practice.

Josselin R. Peña-Figueroa
DSST: College View High School

Megastar Financial Scholar

I aspire to get a Bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering, possibly a Masters taking it one step at a time. By obtaining this degree, I plan to work in the Aerospace Industry where I team up with colleagues to build aircraft/ spacecraft as well as disintegrating stereotypes about minorities.

Daniela Torres Rivera
Colorado Academy

Megastar Financial Scholar

My goal is to graduate from college and build a meaningful career to be able to pay my parents back for everything they have done for me, to show them that they did not cross the border for nothing. Although I am not certain about my specific career goals, math and physics and math have inspired me to continue my studies in the STEM field, along with my extracurricular activities such as soccer and photography.

Melina Garcia
University of Denver

Breakthru Beverage Scholar

My goal is to obtain my Master’s degree to become a Social Worker. As a Social Worker, I would like to utilize my knowledge and life experiences to give back to the Latinx community. Additionally, I want to serve as a mentor or counselor to motivate and encourage Latinx individuals to pursue higher education. I want Latinx individuals to know that they are capable of achieving any goals they have.

Krystal Robles
University of Denver

Breakthru Beverage Scholar

My goal is to graduate with my Masters and  become a Licensed Professional Counselor. Afterwards, I plan on applying for DU’s PsyD program and obtaining my doctorate. I want to help disadvantaged populations in the criminal justice realm particularly juveniles who have been through the child welfare system.

Maria Gomez Bocanegra
Early College Academy

Denver International Airport Scholar

In the fall of 2020, I will be attending Colorado State University where I plan on taking courses required to further my education and reach my life time career goal of becoming a Civil Engineer, because I have always enjoyed problem solving and my favorite classes are math and science, I feel confident that this is the right career path for me.

Jaqueline Rangel
University of Colorado Boulder

Denver International Airport Scholar

My educational goal is to complete my undergraduate studies and continue my education at graduate school. I am majoring in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences with a minor in Ethnic Studies. I want to become a speech pathologist with the intention of helping underrepresented groups of people as well. I hope to implement beneficial change to my community and the health care system.

Emily Felix
Westminster High School

Founder's Scholar

To begin this new chapter of my life, I plan to attend Colorado State University in the fall of 2020 and major in Neuroscience. After my graduation in 2024, I will attend a medicine program that focuses on low-income communities of color and receive a medicine degree to strive for a career as a neurosurgeon. I am a determined first generation scholar that strives to become the best version of myself while being very passionate with my hobbies and interests. Taking care of my mental and physical health is my number one priority each day.  Thank you for your time and consideration being a recipient of this scholarship brings security and happiness to who I am as a future Latina college graduate.

Hannahy Chacón-Gonzales
University of Colorado Denver

Latinas First Foundation Scholar

My educational goal is to finish my two years of prerequisite courses to later apply and attend the University of Colorado Nursing School at CU Anschutz. I plan to be a labor and delivery nurse and eventually go out into low income communities to provide basic healthcare help. It is vital that we learn to give back to the communities around us in any way possible.

Mia Amada Garcia
Centauri High School

Latinas First Foundation Scholar

It is my dream to continue my basketball career at the collegiate level while working toward earning my Master's degree in Sociology or Criminology. At an early age, I have had the vision of how I would like to help others and would like to continue to help children in foster care by pursuing a career in social work or a lawyer. My goal is to be an advocate for those who cannot stand up for themselves and to help them find the strength to get through the hardships that they face while looking after their best interests.

Keirin Gonzalez Menjivar
Westminster High School

Latinas First Foundation Scholar

I hope to attend the University of Denver in the hopes of pursuing a degree in Psychology. My only dream is to be able to expand my knowledge and apply it to be able to help those who have faced similar situations as mine. I hope that through the education I receive I will be able to change the world for so many out there in a better way.


Anita Lewis
Metropolitan State University of Denver

Latinas First Foundation Scholar

I want to represent Latinas professionally in the Behavioral Healthcare field. My plans include completing my Master of Social Work program and pursuing a Licensed Clinical Social Worker credentials to add more diversity to a field that is underrepresented by women of color. As a therapist, I hope to continue to work with women who struggle with substance abuse and mental health challenges.

Cristal Mendoza Martinez
Early College Academy

Latinas First Foundation Scholar

I will be attending the University of Northern Colorado as it is recognized for its business program. My education goal is to obtain a degree in Business Administration as I plan to become a business entrepreneur.

Lauren Mestas
Monarch High School

Latinas First Foundation Scholar

I plan to attend Arizona State University in the Barrett Honors College. My dream is to become a research doctor after I finish medical school. I hope to become the first doctor in my family.

Marissa Alejandra Martinez Suarez
Westminster High School

Latinas First Foundation Scholar

My goal is to attend the University of Denver where I will be involved in their Puksta, 1-GenU, and Honors program where I hope to learn more about and challenge our system. As an agent for social change, I want to focus on bringing more representation in higher education, creating equitable access to resources, and empowering students through my studies and extra-curricular. While at DU, I plan on double majoring in History and Curriculum and Instruction and minor in Ethnic Studies. I have been so blessed that with the support of the Latinas First Foundation, my dreams of higher education are soon to become a reality.

Amiree Nicky Olivas
Taos High School

Latinas First Foundation Scholar

To make my dream of becoming a Materials Engineer true, I need to earn my Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. I then plan to further my career by earning my Master’s degree. This will allow me higher clearances in laboratories. I want to change the world for the better by using my education and the necessary skills I will obtain as stepping stones to achieve my goals.

Shanelle Rodriguez
University of Denver

Latinas First Foundation Scholar

I firmly believe in the value of the work of a school psychologist, and I hope to become a practitioner who is focused on increasing equity and decreasing disproportionality in special education and giftedness identification, early intervention, and suicide prevention in this fast-paced digital world.

Haley Valdez
Strive Prep RISE High School

Latinas First Foundation Scholar

I plan on studying political science, creative writing, and women's studies at USC. Because I know that education takes place beyond the classroom, I would love to  continue working with my community. My interests are a combination of my passions for social justice, feminism, the power of storytelling, and active involvement within the community to strengthen my relationships with and understanding of others.

Adriana Romero González
University of Colorado at Denver

Latinas Lideres Scholar

My current goal is to be able to graduate with a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. Eventually I would like to be part of a marketing team for a company like MARS, P&G, or a company of such size in their marketing department. One of my biggest career dreams is to collaborate in the creation of a commercial that is released during the Super Bowl. Once I am in a position in which I can help the next person, I want to look for opportunities to empower people like me.

Jovana Sanchez
North High School

Ermalinda Monge Scholar

In order to reach my educational goal I will need to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology in order to become a person that can help those in need. I am determined to become a mentor and help children to accomplish their goals and be successful in life. What my future holds for me is my biggest motivation!

Nataly Diaz Ortega
University of Colorado Denver

Macy's Cherry Creek Scholar

I am currently sophomore standing at the University of Colorado Denver and plan to remain at this school in the fall semester. My goal for my education is to obtain both my Bachelor's and Master's in Marketing since I am so passionate about the business world and I know that these degrees will open up incredible opportunities in my future. I am excited to be the first in my family to pursue higher education and graduate college, and I hope to inspire my younger brother and sister through this path so that they may succeed as well. I am a double major in Marketing and Sports Business with a minor in Spanish and I am incredibly excited to have opportunities such as this scholarship to pursue the topics I love!

Vianey Martinez
Colorado State University

Macy's Cherry Creek Scholar

I am currently attending Colorado State University and am planning to major in Apparel and Merchandising and minor in business administration. This is all for my main goal of starting my own clothing company that is not only sustainable, but guarantees new opportunities for Latina woman coming into the design industry.

Yulissa Chavez Tena
Colorado State University

Marcia Garcia Berry Scholar

To earn a master's degree in Student Affairs. My dream is to assist marginalized identities throughout their college search and journey. Student Affairs programs assist students in building their confidence and realizing their dreams are achievable despite the obstacles they have faced. The legacy I want to leave behind is one of empowerment; of a girl who envisioned her passion, worked hard, and pursued her dreams fearlessly to help an entire generation of Latinas do the same.

Nayeli Cisneros Saucedo
Metropolitan State University of Denver

Michelle Lucero Scholar

After graduating MSU in 2021, I plan to join the Behavioral, Psychiatric, and Statistical Genetics Program at the University of Colorado Boulder. During my time there my goal is to receive my doctorate degree and be well prepared for serving the substance abuse population in our state. To be more specific, I will be concentrating on serving the Spanish-speaking young adult and adult populations. Eventually, I will open my own counseling center, where I will recruit bilingual counselors to serve clients with language barriers.

Maya Ximena Bencomo
Metropolitan State University of Denver

Michelle Lucero Scholar

My goal is to make a difference in the lives of many children and their families. My academic goal is to graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver with a Bachelors's in Psychology. I intend to get my Master's in occupational therapy and grow to be an occupational therapist. Being able to be a part of a childs life and see them flourish is one of my biggest dreams.

Veronica Huizar Cabral
University of Denver

Pi Lamda Chi Scholar

Currently, my goal is to obtain my Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry with a triple minor in Biology, Mathematics, and Leadership studies, from the University of Denver. I plan to continue my education by attending medical school in the future. As a first-generation student, pursuing a career in the medical field, I aspire to be a role model for my younger siblings and members of my community, whilst diminishing health disparities among the LatinX community.
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