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SLI awards $143,000 this summer for college scholarships, tech

Sentara Health and F&M Bank help fund health and business career studies;
JustPax Fund and the Gerald and Paula McNichols Family Foundation support computer awards

Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI) has awarded $143,000 in financial aid to 32 graduating scholars and SLI alumni from Harrisonburg, Richmond, and Winchester who are attending college this fall. These new awards and previous SLI financial support for students since 2012 now total more than $535,000. 

This summer’s awards include $87,000 for a $6,000 college scholarship and $1,250 computer award for each of the 12 graduating SLI scholars for their first year of college (vasli.org/grads), plus $56,000 in SLI Raíces Brillantes scholarships for 20 SLI alumni. 

Along with many additional individuals, businesses, foundations, and organizations in SLI’s community of support, scholarship funders include Sentara Health and F&M Bank, and computer award funders include the JustPax Fund and the Gerald and Paula McNichols Family Foundation.

SLI’s mission is to support Latino/a/x high school students with college access through rigorous academic challenge, leadership development, scholarships, and supportive mentorships. Through collaborations with university and high school staff, faculty, and students, SLI provides college access opportunities throughout high school. 

SLI financially supports its scholars through college scholarships, computer awards for purchasing technology needed to start college, and tuition assistance for taking dual enrollment college and AP courses while in high school.

Since 2012 SLI has served 159 scholars, including 46 current and 113 alumni. Before this summer it had already paid more than $392,000 in financial support for SLI scholars, who will now have attended 24 colleges and universities.

“It is SLI’s honor to support students accessing higher education,” said Fawn-Amber Montoya, Ph.D., SLI board chair and associate dean of the Honors College at James Madison University. “We are proud of our SLI scholars, and grateful for the outpouring of support from Sentara, F&M Bank, the JustPax Fund, the Gerald and Paula McNichols Family Foundation, and so many others in our communities who have generously donated to make these scholarships and technology awards available.”

Eighteen of the scholarships awarded this summer are in part funded by Sentara, which provided $30,000 for Sentara SLI Scholar College Awards for students pursuing health related studies and careers (vasli.org/sentara). These recipients include:

  • Adriana Irene Gonzalez Salinas (John Handley High School ’22) is studying health information management at Laurel Ridge Community College (vasli.org/adrianags)
  • Amy Jui-Arteaga (John Handley ’21) will study biology and Spanish at Shenandoah University (vasli.org/amyja)
  • Andrea Santiago Calixto (Harrisonburg High School ’23) will study clinical laboratory science at Eastern Mennonite University
  • Axel Vega-Mancinas (John Handley ’23) will study neuroscience/pre-medicine at Harvard University (vasli.org/axel)
  • Consuelo Elizabeth “Elly” Mazariegos Agustin (John Handley ’16) is studying nursing at Shenandoah University (vasli.org/elly)
  • Everth Daniel Hernandez-Ventura (John Handley ’21) is studying nursing at Shenandoah University (vasli.org/everth)
  • Galilea Gallardo-Mena (Huguenot High School ’21) is studying psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University (vasli.org/galilea)
  • Gedalia Garcia (John Handley ’22) is studying nursing and psychology at Old Dominion University (vasli.org/gedalia)
  • Helen Duarte Guerrero (Harrisonburg ’23) will study biological sciences and biomedical engineering at Virginia Tech
  • Helen Rivera Rivas (Harrisonburg ’21) will study health sciences, occupational therapy, and medical Spanish at James Madison University
  • Hillary Dayami Estrada Alvarado (Harrisonburg ’23) will study biology/pre-medicine at University of Virginia
  • Janefer Lobo Funez (Harrisonburg ’22) is studying biology and medical Spanish at James Madison University (vasli.org/janefer)
  • Johana Alvarenga Cruz (Harrisonburg ’22) is studying nursing at Eastern Mennonite University (vasli.org/johana)
  • Kristy Rios Ramos (Harrisonburg ’23) will study nursing at University of Virginia
  • Leydy Ayala Arteaga (John Handley ’20) is studying speech pathology at Laurel Ridge Community College
  • Lindsey Ruvalcaba (Harrisonburg ’23) will study biotech science at Blue Ridge Community College
  • Marvin Alexander Rivera Martinez (Harrisonburg ’22) is studying computer engineering at University of Virginia (vasli.org/alex)
  • Yeyhlin Velasquez Zavala (John Handley ’23) will study biology/pre-medicine at Hollins University (vasli.org/yeyhlin)

Three scholarships are in part funded by F&M Bank, which has provided $15,000 for F&M Bank SLI Scholar College Awards for students pursuing business and entrepreneur-related studies and careers (vasli.org/fmbank). These recipients include:

  • Amy Vargas Aguillon (Handley ’21) is studying accounting and philosophy at University of Pittsburgh (vasli.org/amy)
  • Ariana Yoselyn Hernandez Perez (Harrisonburg ’23) will study business and economics at University of Virginia
  • Naomi Rosas (Harrisonburg ’23) will study business administration in marketing at James Madison University

Additional SLI college scholarship award recipients include:

  • Adriana Ayala (John Handley ’18) is studying environmental sciences at George Mason University
  • Ariana Perez (John Handley ’23) will study education at Laurel Ridge Community College (vasli.org/ariana)
  • Ariel Morales Bonilla (Huguenot ’20) is studying political science, history, and Spanish at Eastern Mennonite University (vasli.org/ariel)
  • Irais Barrera Pinzon (George Wythe High School ’21) is studying political science/pre-law at Eastern Mennonite University (vasli.org/irais)
  • Israel (Huguenot ’21) is studying criminal justice, homeland security, and political science at Virginia Commonwealth University (vasli.org/israel)
  • Guadalupe Tenorio Ramirez (Hopewell High School ’22) is studying engineering at Eastern Mennonite University (vasli.org/guadalupe)
  • Jimena Marquez-Marquez (John Handley ’23) will study political science at Dickinson College (vasli.org/jimena)
  • Noel Ayala-Gallo (Harrisonburg ’21) is studying foreign affairs, public policy and leadership, and astronomy at University of Virginia (vasli.org/noel)
  • Keiry Lazo (Harrisonburg ’23) will study political science at University of Virginia (vasli.org/keiry)
  • Raquel Perez Torrico (John Handley ’21) is studying computer science and web design at Washington Adventist University (vasli.org/raquelpt)
  • Rosely Alvarado Villegas (John Handley ’22) is studying computer science at George Mason University (vasli.org/roselyav)

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