Dr. Amanda Perez Scholarship Winners
Khyla Corpin – After spending my entire life in the Philippines, my family and I immigrated here to the United States back in 2013 after my dad almost lost his life to the Super Typhoon Haiyan that struck that same year. We’ve managed to start from scratch and build a life for ourselves here. Throughout high school, I felt pressured to do as much as I can in school in order to become a competitive college applicant, but that proved to be quite a challenge since I had to spend a lot of time taking care of my 2 little brothers while tending to the household chores because my parents had to work multiple jobs. It was tough, but I would do anything for my family, so I persevered and managed to achieve a lot and get into a good college, without sacrificing my responsibilities at home.
Now that I’m away from home, I want to make this time worth it by working towards a medical degree. I would start off by giving back to my community, Koreatown, Los Angeles and eventually my home back in the Philippines. My ultimate goal is to work with Doctors Without Borders, an organization dedicated to extending medical help and other forms of relief to troubled parts of world. By working at a global scale, I hope to eventually be involved in creating better health care policies and initiatives throughout the world, especially in impoverished communities like the ones I have witnessed and been a part of.
Frank Aceves was born in San Diego, California into a humble, loving family. In fact, family is the most integral reason of who he is today. His immigrant mother, born in a small ranch in Nayarit, Mexico, worked hard to come into the United States to seek work and a better standard of living for women that was impossible in her home town. Setting an example for her son, she studied hard in order to earn American citizenship and become fluent in English. His father was born in Los Angeles, where his advantage of free education as an American was taken from him. With no other option, he dropped out of high school, eventually finishing a substitute credential, to work minimum wage jobs in order to help support his family. Although past circumstances for his family were discouraging, the deprivation of education for his parents is what ignited his motivation to succeed.
Ever since the beginning of his educational career, Frank Aceves has worked diligently to achieve a higher education. Ranking amongst the top of his high school class, he has worked hard in all of his classes to earn the academic progress he has accomplished so far. Humbly climbing the academic ranks, excelling in AP exams, and being an active member of NHS and CSF along with exceeding classroom expectations cleared even more paths to success. Even though he loves intellectual challenges, his passion is serving as a leader in the community. Outside of the classroom, he has served in his local church to handle tasks as small as providing courteous services as an usher to planning community events with other leaders. By combining his intellectual gifts and his talent for serving others, he has decided on a career goal in the medical field to become a physician to give back to society. The values of leadership, humbleness, service, and respect from his extracurriculars along with his educational record give him the vigor to succeed. With determination to do as well in college and medical school as he has done in high school, the heights of his potential have yet to be demonstrated.
Although his parents never had the opportunity to pursue a higher education, they pushed their son to not only focus in school, but also become a member of his community. His motivation from his background and his self-cultivated determination is how he earned acceptance into UCSD with intentions of pursuing a major in Biochemistry. Afterwards, he will seek out an education in medical school to attain a medical degree and the knowledge required to help others in need. He has also refused to reserve motivation for success to himself. Reaching out to fellow classmates, he has inspired several other minds to realize that their financial circumstances do not dictate their future. As a mentor and a tutor, he has sparked the same fire to succeed in others in order to create a movement of educated people from unprivileged backgrounds to become one large force in the community. Although financial shortcomings and disadvantages may have crushed dreams for others, Frank Aceves has turned these events into advantages as fuel for his success. Determined to overcome the challenges of a higher education and become a leader in the community, he encourages others to do the same in his own words “con ganas, triunfamos”.
Abraham Caballero is the youngest of four brothers two being half-brothers. His parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico City, Mexico, and San Pedro, Sula Honduras. Ever since he was a child, Abraham was burdened to help others. As a youngster, he would organize homeless walks or feeding events and worked with Food Finders to help feed the poor in San Pedro, California. As he grew older, his desire to help others was encouraged even more and decided to venture out and begin working more closely with his community.
Through his personal experiences with working with low-income families in Los Angeles, he noticed the dire need of guidance and education in the Hispanic communities. As a result, he committed himself to helping the younger generations of Hispanic children see the world of opportunity and positively influence their own communities. Abraham began organizing meetings with community leader and small businesses, and organized fundraisers to help find mentors and support for a mentorship program in San Pedro, California. Abraham created a mentorship program that not only helped children overcome difficulties and strive for greatness through education, but his mission was also to make a difference his community by educating the adults. Abraham organized events that helped expose adults to the dangers of drugs, alcohol abuse, violence, and gang relations in hopes to encouraging them to be mentors of a child themselves. Furthermore, Abraham’s father would always tell him that education was the most important part of his life because change was always possible with an education.
As a child of immigrant parents, Abraham realized the immense privilege of living in America and having the opportunity to get an education- a chance that his parents never had. For this reason, he began taking college classes at a local community college when he was fourteen years old and will graduate from high school with over forty-eight UC transferable units. Abraham is greatly interested in studying the human brain and will transfer as a neuroscience major to prepare him for medical school. He strives to be the best academically and set an example for others. He eventually wants to become a neurologist and serve the underserved Hispanic community, the community that helped shape his life and impacted him for the better.
Ashley Almejo was raised in Compton, California and is currently a senior at Paramount High School. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA since her freshman year while balancing the everyday stress of being a teenager. She is an active member of her high school campus, serving as a member of the Associated Student Body (ASB), Secretary of the Pre-Med Club, and the Historian of the California Scholarship Federation. This past summer, she served as a Camp Leader for a group of elementary school children. She has a strong passion when it comes to helping others and strives to give back to her community through volunteer work. Over the four years in high school, Ashley has served nearly 500 hours of volunteer work. Ashley’s ultimate goal is to continue serving her community after she graduates from Medical School, to make a positive impact through her work in the Latino community, and to mentor the future generations to come. Ashley thanks the LMSA-West Scholarship Committee for believing and supporting her dreams in pursuing a medical school education.
Vanessa Martinez is a senior in high school and this year, she will be the first in her family to go to college. She enjoys helping others; including helping her friends with their academic work and her community thorugh volunteering activities. She is an active member of the Animals Rights Club, Pals and Link Crew programs where she mentors at-risk students and teaches freshman students about making good choices in high school. Vanessa is also the student representative of the AVID program in her local community. In addition to her community service, Vanessa has an excellent academic record; she has been in the Principal Honors Roll for the last 3 years, for maintaing a GPA higher than 3.5, and she has received the Excellence Attendance Award each school year. Vanessa is currently enrolled in multiple AP and honors classes. Her goal for the future is to support her community as a nurse. Vanessa has been accepted to Cal State Fullerton, where she will be starting this fall with a major in nursing.