Two BBCC TRiO Upward Bound students named Dell Scholars

two girls with long black hair
BBCC TRiO Upward Bound students Elizabeth Guadarrama (left) and Fatima Cortez (right) have recently been named Dell Scholars.

MOSES LAKE — TRiO Upward Bound students Elizabeth Guadarrama and Fatima Cortez have recently been awarded $20,000 scholarships through the Dell Scholars Program.

Guadarrama and Cortez, both seniors at Royal City High School and full-time Running Start students at BBCC, are two out of only 500 students selected nationwide. In addition to the $20,000 scholarship, all Dell Scholars will also receive tutoring and direct support for academic, financial and emotional challenges; a laptop and textbook credits.

Both Guadarrama and Cortez will graduate from high school and Big Bend in June. Both students are also active outside of the classroom— Cortez is the flute section leader for the Royal City High School Band and Guadarrama is serving as the current Miss Royal City and is an active member of the Big Bend M.E.Ch.A. Club.

Guadarrama is also a current Alexander Hamilton Scholar and AHS Empowerment Program participant.

“Elizabeth and Fatima are both first-generation college students and come from income disadvantaged backgrounds. However, these obstacles have not prevented them from setting high expectations and goals for their future and they fully understand that a ‘goal without a plan is just a wish’,” said BBCC TRiO Upward Bound Director Anita DeLeon. “They are both hard working, ambitious, and dedicated to learning and personal growth. The TRiO Upward Bound staff could not be more proud of these young ladies and the effort they’ve demonstrated to achieve academic success.”

After graduation, Cortez plans to attend Washington State University and pursue a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

“I want to end up working as a news reporter at KHQ in Spokane,” said Cortez. “I even job shadowed there and thought it was a great environment to work in.”

Cortez said she nervously waited for the scholarship announcement to come. She even stayed up until midnight the day before the organization said they would be sending out notifications.

“I saw my clock read 12:00 AM, and decided to wait an extra minute before checking my email notifications, preparing myself for the news I would receive. I logged onto my email, and I saw that I had an email from Dell, and the headline read “Congratulations!” My heart stopped beating for a minute, and had to read the email again,” she said. “Once I finally realized that I received the scholarship, I immediately woke up my parents to tell them the great news. We all celebrated and are excited for my future education.”

Guadarrama said she is looking forward to attending Saint Martin’s University in the fall, where she will likely pursue a degree in mathematics.

“I am excited to explore my options while I decide what career I want to end up with,” she said. “But I know that my career will have a foundation associated with mathematics.”

Guadarrama said receiving the Dell Scholarship will be a big help financially, and will allow her to focus on her classes and on enjoying her college experience.

“I still can’t believe that I was fortunate enough to be selected to receive such an amazing scholarship and opportunity,” said Guadarrama.

The Dell Scholars Program, run by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, is a scholarship and college-completion program that nurtures and empowers students on their path to a college degree. The program recognizes students who have demonstrated grit, potential, and ambition and those who have overcome significant obstacles in pursuit of their education.

The Dell Scholars Program is in its 16th year, and to date, has supported nearly 5,000 students across the country. Eighty percent of Dell Scholars have graduated with their bachelor’s degree within six years, compared to only 20 percent for similar students.

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