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Scholarships prep students for a more diverse U.S.
Nine top performing San Luis High School students were selected to receive all-expense-paid scholarships offered through Johns Hopkins University called the Next Generation Venture Fund (NGVF).
The rare opportunity provides students a chance for three weeks' study, June 28 to July 17, at various universities around the U.S. that participate in NGVF.
The nine freshmen will be studying zoology, foundations of psychology, chemistry and society. Although they will not receive credit, it does provide an opportunity to study at the advanced placement level, Yolanda Conroy, SLHS guidance counselor, said. The aim is to navigate students toward gaining entrance at an Ivy League school, she said.
"I'm always looking for a summer school in some other place so they can learn to have a wider vision of the world," Conroy said. "I grew up in Colombia, and and my parents always instilled in me to know about other cultures and learn new languages."
It is a chance for high school students to experience university life and the hope is they return to Yuma to be role models for others to reach their dreams, she said.
"Even though you may be a gifted person, you have a responsibility to help others," Conroy said. "I want them to understand you need to work for each other and that makes you a better person."
All nine students will be studying at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. One of those who is excited about the prospect is Jennifer Martinez, 15. The goal of the program is to improve their probability of acceptance at a prestigious school, Martinez said.
"I never really thought I'd get into one. Last year I studied at Monrovian College in Bethlehem. I really liked Pennsylvania. Everyone was friendly, and this year I'll study psychology, something I want to do as a career."
Martinez also said she liked the fact that her teachers provide their contact information so she can get additional guidance and references when she eventually applies for college.
"I'm really thankful for NGVF," she said. "It pushes you to try because you know you have someone willing to help."
Fourteen others will have summer scholarships at Lafayette College, Johns Hopkins University, University of California-Santa Cruz, and Roger Williams University, Rhode Island, Conroy said.
Another 12 students were given summer scholarships to study at Northern Arizona University, while five more students have summer scholarships to Arizona State University.
Yet these programs are not fully funded and students must raise their own travel expenses. Parents and students have organized car washes to help defray costs and donations have been provided by Gowan Company, the city of San Luis and private donors, Conroy said.
NGVF actually begins in middle school when students who score in the top 5 percent nationwide on standardized tests are first made eligible for Johns Hopkins' Center for Talented Youth (CTY), said Jaime Lopez, Johns Hopkins educational adviser and Western states liaison. Other NGVF services include two summer residential programs, SAT and college preparation workshops.
Once students qualify for CTY, they may apply for NGVF, which tracks them throughout high school. Lopez's goal is to contact students every few weeks to advise them better and make them the strongest candidates possible, he explained at a workshop held Saturday at the Ramada Inn.
"Just as the U.S. harnesses natural resources to ensure the prosperity of our future, NGVF ensures these bright young minds will be able to lead us in a country becoming increasingly diverse," Lopez said. "These are diamonds in the rough. We want to cultivate them to reach their maximum potential."
William Roller can be reached at
email@example.com or 539-6858.