Scholar testimonials


Huguenot High School ’20
(shown with SLI mentor Jared)
Eastern Mennonite University '24

Hear Ariel and other SLI alumni talk about their SLI experiences here.

“As a Latino, as a minority, you face a lot of issues and difficulty. Thanks to SLI and my mentors, I was able to develop a particular interest in the political field and get into college.”


Huguenot High School ’19
Shenandoah University '23

Gabriela participates in the Honors program, SLI, and the Leadership and Educational Development Fellows program at SU.

“SLI has helped me a lot. Thanks to SLI, I’ve been able to be prepared for college, be competent and have confidence in myself.”


Huguenot High School '19
Shenandoah University '23
(arts in media and communications)

Hear Angela and other SLI alumni talk about their SLI experiences here.

"SLI has changed my life tremendously and has provided me with help in many ways, giving me guidance and helping me financially and emotionally. At the beginning of my freshman year of high school I was concerned that people would look at me differently because I was new at my school, but my main concern was my future, as I thought I was unable to go to college due to the lack of money and my language barrier. But when I had the opportunity to join SLI, I saw doors open my way...." READ MORE


John Handley High School '19
Lord Fairfax Community College '20
Shenandoah University '22
(business administration and information systems and technology)

“I am so grateful to SLI for helping me in my academic career to this point....SLI is important to me because it has helped shape me into a leader I am today. SLI is a way for students to feel like they have people who believe in them and are there to push them to their highest potential. With SLI I have been able to critically think beyond an education that high school offers. SLI has helped me believe in myself to achieve my dreams and make them into reality despite any obstacles that may come my way. I have learned to not only be a responsible leader for myself but for my community as well. Before I started SLI I was very active in community service but my passion for helping others has grown from the very moment I initiated my intellectual growth in SLI. Throughout my years in SLI, I have been able to grow academically through college seminars. I am a huge supporter of these seminars because it allows students to analyze and comprehend education apart from what your regular high school classes offer. With college seminars, I have been able to learn valuable skills that I will definitely carry with me for the rest of my life.”


John Handley High School '19
University of Virginia '23
(chemical engineering and environmental science)

Jaime is a peer mentor for incoming Latinx students transitioning to college and serves on the executive board of the university’s Latinx Leadership Institute.

"SLI positively impacted me by offering resources to help navigate my high school course selection, helping me develop a critical-thinking mindset through college-level seminars, and financially supporting my community college transfer credits and college expenses."


Harrisonburg High School ’17
Bridgewater College '21
(Spanish, family and consumer sciences, child development, and family life education)

Lupe has made the Dean’s List for all six consecutive semesters.

“[SLI was] a support group who are like me and have the same motivation to succeed. My experience as a SLI scholar has only affected my life in the utmost positive ways and I’m grateful for having had the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself.”


John Handley High School ’19

“With the college preparation and mentorship, SLI has helped me feel more confident in taking initiative on my own. The college assignments handed to us helped me achieve more in my regular classes by analyzing more thoroughly based on what I had learned from SLI. The community that SLI helps bring together among the Hispanic students, over all, inspires me to become an example for all first generation immigrants that are in my position. By helping me acquire resources, such as college trips, informational programs about college, and helping us discover our passion, SLI helps me set the example of a first generation scholar.”


Harrisonburg High School ’18
Virginia Tech '22
(human development, Spanish, and chemistry on a premedical track)

Kellyn has made the VT Dean’s list every semester, is preparing for the MCAT, and is earning EMT certification.

“When I was in high school SLI allowed me to make connections I would’ve otherwise not made. I had the opportunity to talk to many college professors, work with JMU students, and I was able to be part of many informational retreats. All the information that I learned while being a SLI student helped me prepare for college as a minority student at a PWI [predominantly white institution]. My mentors, Carlos Aleman and Hannah Bowman, definitely always helped push me to give my best and I am so thankful they did because it has helped me these past few years.”


John Handley High School '17
(civil engineering)

“One of the most important things SLI gave to me was a window to the college world and showed me that it was an option. I, as a Latino, still have the option to pursue my education and dreams. SLI has always encouraged me to push myself for those harder challenges in the classroom and out. Talking with people that come from the same place as you really makes you realize that you aren’t alone and makes you more comfortable with your own voice. Being comfortable with who I am and where I come from boosted my confidence alongside my ability to lead and represent. SLI gave me the opportunity to ask questions and interact with college students and professors. For a lot of people the transition from high school to college can be somewhat scary. SLI removed that fear because I was already familiar with how to tackle the college transition and life. Taking that fear away is a huge step in moving forward in the pursuit of your education.”

Meet the Scholars Latino Initiative in Richmond, Virginia, at this Zoom meeting hosted in 2020 by Cecilia Barbosa, chair of the Virginia Latino Advisory Board: