CATALINO TAPIA SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION
Dear Members of the BAGSF Scholarship Committee:
My name is Yaneth Gutierrez. I’m a nontraditional student and a returning applicant. I was born in Toluca Mexico. I’m the first of my siblings attending a university. My educational journey hasn’t been easy. My lack of nine digits placed me under the guidelines of an AB 540 student. Having to redo high school and to get where I’m as of fight now allowed me to be un ejemplo to my daughter, to immigrant women in my community, to believe and to see myself como una mujer valisosa.
But, please, let me take you back to November of 2018. I was just 4 credits away from completing an AA-T in Political Science. I knew that I wanted to be an immigration lawyer and help my undocumented community because I’m part of eleven million living in the U.S, but also, I wanted to break stereotypes. I wanted to be a positive statistic. In fact, my familia was not aware of my intentions to apply to San Jose State University, nor that I had applied, due to economic means I kept it to myself. Once I received SJSU’s acceptance letter, I was happy, but I couldn’t share how joyful I was.
I knew I had the brains and the ganas, but no money to continue. One week went by, I refused to give up because all my esfuerzo made me believed that I had earned my spot at SJSU. I wanted to be that woman who despite the odds could reach what others thought was unreachable for me to accomplish. In fact, I remembered one of my mom’s sayings, “Nunca vayas por la vida sin dejar huella”. I was ready to leave my print and relying on scholarships could help me to continue with my studies. I searched for so many scholarships, but very few with my eligibility criteria, up until I found BAGSF’s scholarship. I just had a few days to send my application, but for sure I had tons of HOPE. Thirty-six days went by, I was anxious; May 21th arrived. I kept checking my phone with the hope of getting an email saying, “Congratulations”. Instead, at 10:53 am, the call that changed my life forever, it was Mr. Tapia giving me the good news; a moment of silence made me relived my journey, the first day I went to high school, the first day I stepped into De Anza college, the day I graduated from college with my daughter, and now the opportunity of being at SJSU. Oh boy! I was the luckiest woman on earth because I knew that getting an education was not just earning a degree, it’s a bigger responsibility, to me is about building stronger communities and to help others, but also at the same time honoring the hard work and commitment of Mr. Tapia and everyone involved within the organization. After being awarded the 2019 BAGSF scholarship, I have been able to concentrate more on my studies and raised my GPA from 3.48 to 3.626 because all of you believed in me. Also, I have been able to encourage women of many backgrounds by speaking at conferences of the importance of education and community involvement and by offering tips to parents so they could give support to their children at home. I just started my second semester, this time along with my daughter. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity given to me last year. I hope you see me as a good candidate to receive the 2020 BAGSF’ scholarship.