By Amy Crockett in Madison Magazine; photo courtesy Eliana Diaz-Aceituno – When Eliana Diaz-Aceituno learned of her acceptance into the Doctors in Italy Fellowship Program, she didn’t know just how in-depth her summer experience would be. On her first day at IRCCS MultiMedica hospital in Milan, a doctor performed an amputation in front of her. READ THE ARTICLE
Sentara Health y F&M Bank ayudan con los gastos académicos en carreras de salud y negocios;
JustPax Fund y Gerald and Paula McNichols Family Foundation apoyan la compra de computadoras para estudiantes universitarios de primer año
Shenandoah Valley Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI) ha otorgado $143,000 en ayuda financiera a 32 estudiantes de último año que se graduaron y ex alumnos de SLI que asistirán a la universidad este otoño. Estos nuevos premios y el apoyo financiero anterior de SLI para estudiantes desde 2012 ahora suman más de $535,000.
Los premios de este verano incluyen $87,000 para una beca universitaria de $6,000 y un premio de computadora de $1,250 para cada uno de los 12 becarios de SLI al ingresar a su primer año de universidad (vasli.org/grads), más $56,000 en becas SLI Raíces Brillantes para 20 ex alumnos de la organización SLI.
Junto con muchas personas, empresas, fundaciones y organizaciones adicionales en la comunidad de apoyo de SLI, los financiadores de becas incluyen Sentara Health y F&M Bank, y los financiadores de premios informáticos incluyen JustPax Fund y Gerald and Paula McNichols Family Foundation.
La misión de SLI es apoyar a los estudiantes latinos/a/x de secundaria con acceso a la universidad a través de desafíos académicos rigurosos, desarrollo de liderazgo, becas y consejeria estudiantil. A través de colaboraciones con el cuerpo docente, los estudiantes de la universidad y la escuela secundaria, SLI brinda oportunidades de acceso a la universidad durante toda la escuela secundaria.
SLI apoya financieramente a sus estudiantes a través de becas universitarias, asistencia para comprar la tecnología necesaria para comenzar la universidad y asistencia con la matrícula para tomar cursos universitarios de inscripción doble y cursos AP mientras están en la escuela secundaria.
Desde 2012, SLI ha servido a 159 estudiantes académicos, incluidos 46 actuales y 113 ex alumnos. Antes de este verano, ya había pagado más de $392,000 en apoyo financiero para los becarios de SLI, que ahora habrán asistido a 24 colegios y universidades.
“Es un honor para SLI apoyar a los estudiantes en su búsqueda de educación universitaria”, dijo Fawn-Amber Montoya, Ph.D., presidente de la junta directiva de SLI y decano asociado del Honors College en la Universidad James Madison. “Estamos orgullosos de nuestros becarios y agradecidos por el apoyo de Sentara, F&M Bank, JustPax Fund, Gerald and Paula McNichols Family Foundation, y muchos otros en nuestras comunidades que han donado generosamente para otorgar estas becas y premios de tecnología.”
Diecisiete de las becas otorgadas este verano están financiadas en parte por Sentara, que proporcionó $30,000 para los premios Sentara SLI Scholar College Awards para estudiantes que cursan estudios y carreras relacionadas con la salud (vasli.org/sentara). Estos destinatarios incluyen a:
- Adriana Irene Gonzalez Salinas (John Handley High School '22) está estudiando administración de información de salud en Laurel Ridge Community College (vasli.org/adrianags)
- Amy Jui-Arteaga (John Handley ’21) estudiará biología y español en la Universidad de Shenandoah (vasli.org/amyja)
- Andrea Santiago Calixto (Harrisonburg High School '23) estudiará ciencias de laboratorio clínico en Eastern Mennonite University
- Axel Vega-Mancinas (John Handley ’23) estudiará neurociencia/premedicina en la Universidad de Harvard (vasli.org/axel)
- Consuelo Elizabeth “Elly” Mazariegos Agustín (John Handley ’16) estudia enfermería en la Universidad de Shenandoah (vasli.org/elly)
- Everth Daniel Hernandez-Ventura (John Handley ’21) estudia enfermería en la Universidad de Shenandoah (vasli.org/everth)
- Galilea Gallardo-Mena (Huguenot High School ’21) estudia psicología en Virginia Commonwealth University (vasli.org/galilea)
- Gedalia García (John Handley ’22) estudia enfermería y psicología en Old Dominion University (vasli.org/gedalia)
- Helen Duarte Guerrero (Harrisonburg ’23) estudiará ciencias biológicas e ingeniería biomédica en Virginia Tech
- Helen Rivera Rivas (Harrisonburg ’21) estudiará ciencias de la salud, terapia ocupacional y español médico en la Universidad James Madison
- Hillary Dayami Estrada Alvarado (Harrisonburg ’23) estudiará biología/premedicina en la Universidad de 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 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) estudia patología del habla en Laurel Ridge Community College
- Lindsey Ruvalcaba (Harrisonburg ’23) will study biotech science at Blue Ridge Community College
- Yeyhlin Velasquez Zavala (John Handley ’23) will study biology/pre-medicine at Hollins University (vasli.org/yeyhlin)
Tres becas cuentan con el apoyo de F&M Bank, que otorgó $15,000 para los premios F&M Bank SLI Scholar College Awards para estudiantes que buscan carreras comerciales y empresariales (vasli.org/fmbank). Estos destinatarios incluyen a:
- 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 Conde (Harrisonburg ’23) estudiará administración y comercialización de empresas en la Universidad James Madison
Los ganadores adicionales de becas universitarias SLI incluyen:
- Adriana Ayala (John Handley ’18) estudia ciencias ambientales en la Universidad George Mason
- Ariana Pérez (John Handley ’23) estudiará educación en Laurel Ridge Community College (vasli.org/ariana)
- Ariel Morales Bonilla (Huguenot '20) está estudiando ciencias políticas, historia y español en Eastern Mennonite University (vasli.org/ariel)
- Irais Barrera Pinzon (George Wythe High School ’21) estudia ciencias políticas/pregrado en derecho en Eastern Mennonite University (vasli.org/irais)
- Israel (Huguenot '21) está estudiando justicia penal, seguridad nacional y ciencias políticas en la Virginia Commonwealth University (vasli.org/israel)
- Guadalupe Tenorio Ramirez (Hopewell High School ’22) estudia ingeniería en Eastern Mennonite University (vasli.org/guadalupetr)
- Jimena Marquez-Marquez (John Handley '23) estudiará ciencias políticas en Dickinson College (vasli.org/jimena)
- Marvin Alexander Rivera Martinez (Harrisonburg '22) estudia ingeniería informática en la Universidad de Virginia (vasli.org/alex)
- Noel Ayala-Gallo (Harrisonburg '21) está estudiando relaciones exteriores, política pública y liderazgo, y astronomía en la Universidad de Virginia (vasli.org/noel)
- Keiry Lazo (Harrisonburg ’23) estudiará ciencias políticas en la Universidad de Virginia (vasli.org/keiry)
- Raquel Pérez Torrico (John Handley ’21) estudia informática y diseño de paginas web en la Universidad Adventista de Washington (vasli.org/raquelpt)
- Rosely Alvarado Villegas (John Handley ’22) estudia informática en la Universidad George Mason (vasli.org/roselyav)
In what has become a tradition, the 2023 Hispanic Festival in Harrisonburg featured face painting a fun provided by SLI scholars.
Since 2018, SLI scholars from Harrisonburg High School have offered leadership and service at Harrisonburg’s Festival Hispano by hosting the children’s play, arts, and crafts center. Participating SLI scholars included rising juniors and seniors Abygail, Amy, Angely, Aylen, Eiby, Javier, Kevin, Natalie, and Nayaly. They were led by SLI program directors Carlos Alemán, associate professor of communication studies at JMU, and Hannah Bowman Hrasky, an English teacher at HHS.
Held by Comite Salvadoreno Paisanos Unidos (COSPU), the festival also included live performances of Latino music and folk dance, authentic Latino cuisine, and exhibits showcasing talented Hispanic artists. COSPU’s goal is to empower immigrant families through support, and the advocacy of changes that benefits immigrants.
As she nears her first year of college, SLI scholar Keiry (Harrisonburg High School ’23, University of Virginia ’25) talks about how she’s grown as a person over the last four years. At UVA she will study political science on a pre-law track.
Congrats on graduating from high school! How are you feeling about going to college?
When I first started SLI I was like I know I want to go to college. We went through the steps. [SLI program directors] Dr. Alemán and Ms. Bowman helped me through it. Whenever anything came up, I could go to Wednesday SLI or I could go to Saturday SLI and I could be like, “Hey, this is happening.”
I love meeting new people. I love talking to new people. And I love school. That is my biggest goal: becoming super involved with the campus my first year.
It’s going to be a whole new environment. I’ve been to UVA, I’ve toured the campus, but it’s not the same as living there and being a full-time student there. That’s definitely scary to think about because I’m not even going to be in – like my family’s here. This will be the first time [living away from my family].
What do you plan to study?
Already getting my associates before graduating from high school has definitely helped because it puts me a little bit ahead of my class, since I already got my gen-eds out of the way. I’m studying political science under the pre-law track. Right now I’m kind of set on immigration law. As an immigrant myself, it feels like I have to give back, especially with how much support my own community has given me now.
How have you grown as a person over the last few years?
When I think back to my freshman self I think back to a girl that was scared, honestly. I was so shy.
One thing that really helped with SLI is that Dr. Alemán involves you. He’ll ask you questions directly, and he’ll put you on the spot, and while at first that was terrifying – I was like, “Why would you do that to me? I’m so shy!” – but now as I look back it definitely helped because it took me out of my shell.
All of the junior SLI were able to plan and host a social event where everyone else – all the mentors from JMU and all the younger students – could come. That was the first time I’ve ever been put in a leadership position without any interference from a teacher. Ever since then whenever there’s anything that needs to be taken charge of, I’m there, and I’ll do it. It doesn’t matter, put me there and I’ll do it, I’ll figure it out. If you would have done that to me my freshman year, I would have panicked. I would have been like, “I can’t do it, give it to someone else. I can’t do it.”
I think the biggest change about me that I’ve seen is how much into myself I’ve grown, how much into a leader – and the confidence I’ve grown in the past four years.
What are some other ways SLI has supported you?
We would have social events where Dr. Alemán would be like, “This is your time to network, to talk to people that may help you in the future, could help you.”
I got to interact with so many professors. I got to know this professor that teaches law and he was just telling me, “If you ever need help, here’s my email.” Now I have these different people that I can go to if something were to arise.
Do you think your siblings will go to college, too?
I know that my parents do have aspirations that both of my brothers do end up going to college, especially since I’ve paved the way and I can help them in retrospect. In the future, when they apply to college, and when they’re going through high school, I can be like, “Hey, do this, do that. Don’t make the same mistakes I made.”
I think it’s really important finding out who I am. Obviously I’m not going to know for sure for sure, like I have a good idea of who I am and who the person I’ve become is, but I know that as time goes my frontal lobe is going to develop. I’m going to obviously mature a lot more. Even if I think I’m mature now, I know in a few years I’m going to look back and be like, “Why did you do that?” I think that’s definitely a part of growing, and seeing who you become.
Who is someone who has encouraged you?
Someone who definitely helped me and pushed me was [my high school counselor] Ms. Weaver. Every time that I felt like I simply could not do it, I would go talk to Ms. Weaver and she would be like, “Well, you can. You’re already here. You can continue. You’ve been doing it for the past three years.” I know I went to Ms. Weaver so many times throughout like my junior and my senior year.
How are college finances looking for you?
Even with scholarships I still have to pay some of the money for UVA out of pocket. It’s a manageable amount, so obviously I don’t want to get a loan out, because I know paying that off is going to take a while. I’ve heard people be like, “Yeah I got a loan for college and I’m still paying it off and I’m in my 40s right now,” and I’m like, “No.”
I know for my first year I have enough to cover a lot of it, like I can pay half of it my first semester, and then continue working and pay the rest of it off my second semester.
I know that I’m going to make my education worth it, if I have the money to go. I appreciate my community so much for everything that they do and like everything that they offer to us.
Twelve SLI scholars have graduated from high school this spring and announced their fall college plans, bringing the total number of SLI alumni to 113.
Four SLI scholars graduated from Winchester-area high schools this year and are pictured above (left to right): Axel (who plans to attend Harvard University; vasli.org/axel), Yeyhlin (Hollins University; vasli.org/yeyhlin), and Jimena (Dickinson College; vasli.org/jimena) from John Handley High School, and Ariana (Laurel Ridge Community College; vasli.org/ariana) from Millbrook High School.
Eight SLI scholars graduated from Harrisonburg High School and are pictured below: Hillary (University of Virginia), Ariana (UVA), Andrea (Eastern Mennonite University), Kristy (UVA), Lindsey (Blue Ridge Community College), Naomi (James Madison University), Keiry (UVA; vasli.org/keiry), and Helen (Virginia Tech).
Among other activities this spring, SLI in Harrisonburg participated in the JMU Latinx Student Alliance Celebración Latina plus celebrated its graduating scholars with a potluck and piñata.
Eight SLI scholars graduated from Harrisonburg High School this spring: Hillary (who will attend University of Virginia), Ariana (UVA), Andrea (Eastern Mennonite University), Kristy (UVA), Lindsey (Blue Ridge Community College), Naomi (James Madison University), Keiry (UVA), and Helen (Virginia Tech). In addition, four SLI scholars graduated from Winchester-area high schools.
SLI activities such as offering arts and crafts during the Comite Salvadoreno Paisanos Unidos Festival Hispano provide valuable leadership and community service opportunities.
“I think the biggest change about me that I’ve seen is how much into myself I’ve grown, how much into a leader – and the confidence I’ve grown in the past four years,” said Keiry (HHS ’23, UVA ’25) in an interview, recalling a junior-year experience planning a SLI event. “That was the first time I’ve ever been put in a leadership position without any interference from a teacher. Ever since then whenever there’s anything that needs to be taken charge of, I’m there, and I’ll do it.”
PICTURED ABOVE: Dr. Carlos Alemán, associate professor of communication studies at JMU and SLI program director and board member, speaks during the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement symposium “U.S. Democracy and the Latino/a/x Community.” Photo by JMU Marketing & Branding, Diego Alejandro Crespo Guido
HARRISONBURG, VA – The SLI community was well represented among the presenters and participants at the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement symposium “U.S. Democracy and the Latino/a/x Community.”
A program of the Woodson Martin Immigration and Democracy Initiative, the event focused on the political complexities of the Latino/a/x community. The keynote address, “Political Engagement and Hospitality on the Margins,” was presented by Dr. Sergio González, assistant professor of Latinx studies at Marquette University.
Symposium panelists included Dr. Carlos Alemán, associate professor of communication studies at JMU and SLI program director and board member, and Lyons Sanchezconcha, chair of the Virginia Latino Advisory Board and member of the SLI advisory council. Moderated by Dr. Robert Aguirre, professor of English and dean of the JMU College of Arts and Letters, the panel also included Dr. Verónica Dávila Ellis, JMU assistant professor in foreign languages, literatures, and cultures, and González.
Opening remarks for the evening were provided by Gabriela Leija-Hernandez, the 2022-23 Woodson Martin Democracy Fellow at the Center for Civic Engagement. Over the past year, Leila-Hernandez worked with SLI program directors in Harrisonburg to organize and host two university campus events centering Latinx leadership and social justice.
Among attending students was Karla Hernandez, a peer mentor and an executive officer for SLI@JMU. Members of the student organization coordinate with SLI’s program directors to support leadership programming held on the university campus and social activities in Harrisonburg.
Featured artwork was by SLI managing director Stephania Cervantes, who serves on the Center for Civic Engagement external advisory board and attended along with SLI board chair Dr. Fawn-Amber Montoya, associate dean for diversity, inclusion and external engagement at the JMU Honors College, and SLI director of development Christopher Clymer Kurtz.
SLI program directors in Harrisonburg have partnered with the Center for Civic Engagement since 2018 to innovate leadership development and community building events on and off the university campus for SLI’s high school scholars. These events include voter registration campaigns, city council candidate panels, and immigrant storytelling workshops.
To date, SLI scholars graduating from high school this year have been accepted to the following colleges and universities:
- Bridgewater College
- Eastern Mennonite University
- George Mason University
- Hampton University
- Harvard University
- Hollins University
- James Madison University
- Longwood College
- Mary Baldwin University
- Old Dominion University
- Radford University
- Roanoke College
- Shenandoah University
- University of Virginia
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- Virginia Tech
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SLI scholars from Winchester and Harrisonburg gathered with SLI@JMU mentors to learn about leveraging their strengths to better themselves and their communities.
Students participated in cross-program discussions, met with SLI Board Chair and JMU Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion and External Engagement Fawn-Amber Montoya (pictured, third from left) and visiting professors of Latinx studies (from left, Daniel Morales of VCU, Sarah Deutsch of Duke, and Benny Andres of UNC-Charlotte), ate in the JMU dining hall, and shared about difficult choices as they progress toward college.
HARRISONBURG, VA – The college-access nonprofit Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI) has partnered with F&M Bank to establish the F&M Bank SLI Scholar College Award for Latinx students pursuing business and entrepreneur-related studies and careers.
Designed to empower SLI scholars to achieve financial sector careers and recognize their leadership in related service and activities, the $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to SLI scholars studying relevant fields in college. The partnership will also include opportunities for personal finance management programming, internships, and job shadowing.
“Our company’s values are based on supporting our neighbors to build better communities where we all live, work, and play,” said Holly Thorne, F&M Bank senior vice president. “Scholarship programs are critical in the face of today’s changing higher-ed landscape, which is why F&M Bank supports SLI scholars who are undertaking academic programs that will empower them as they develop into our future community and civic leaders.”
A 501c3 nonprofit, SLI creates college access opportunities through collaborations with public school teachers and local university faculty, staff, and student mentors. SLI also offers financial assistance to its scholars, since 2012 providing more than $392,000 in college scholarship awards, computer awards, and dual enrollment tuition assistance. SLI alumni have attended 21 colleges and universities.
“Our partnership with F&M Bank will benefit SLI scholars even beyond the named college award,” said Stephania Cervantes, SLI managing director. “Personal finance management programming will also help them develop the tools to manage their economic trajectory and open doors to potential career paths and professional development opportunities.”
F&M Bank is headquartered in the Shenandoah Valley, with a network spanning the I-81/64 corridors from Winchester to Waynesboro and beyond. The only publicly traded organization based in Rockingham County, the Company’s core values of enthusiasm, flexibility, responsiveness, community, and fun drive its corporate philanthropy, volunteerism, and local decision-making. The bank supports clients with a robust digital banking suite, full-service branches, and essential services like mortgage loans, title services, wealth management, business banking, and agricultural lending. With philanthropic efforts totaling over $300,000 annually, and a team dedicated to volunteering, our responsibility is to provide a bright future right here.