Central Valley Scholars


Please Consider a Donation: 

My name is Michael Pina, and I am a current undergrad student at UC Berkeley. I come from Kerman, California - a small town in the Central Valley, and graduated the year of 2017. When I first arrived at Berkeley, one thing became very clear; this school, along with other renowned universities, was not made for people of color - even more so those who are first-generation, low-income, and from immigrant backgrounds. Seeing this inequity, I created Central Valley Scholars - a program ran by current college students in which we strive to assist high school seniors from underserved communities. 

I, along with a group of student volunteers, will go to Kerman, Tranquility, and Mendota High School, in which we will hold a free workshop for upcoming seniors. While there, we will discuss different application processes including, but not limited to: the UC application, Common App, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and many more applications. Here, students will receive one-on-one aid on their applications from current college students. We will give suggestions on how to start, structure, and organize their writings. The next portion of the program focuses on FASFA and scholarships. Here, students will receive insight on how to apply for FASFA, what documentation would be needed, information on college loans, as well as national scholarships students would be unaware of without the aid of this program (i.e. Coca Cola Scholarship). In addition to this portion, there will also a separate session available for those interested in learning about DACA. The final portion of the program holds a student panel, in which current college students—
from schools such as Stanford, UC Berkeley, John’s Hopkins, Duke, UCLA, and many more— discuss their personal experiences and challenges while in college. High school students will be able to engage with current college students and gain future insight for their transition to college.

As part of the program, we plan to fundraise money for scholarships and provide first-generation students with a personal mentor. These scholarships will give priority to students who otherwise get excluded, such as: Queer students, women in STEM, undocumented students, students with disabilities, and other students with various struggles. The personal mentors will serve as a resource for first-generation students to contact throughout their entire application process. If there is ever a time they are confused with an application or need assistance, they will be able to contact their mentor, who has already been through the process— thus, removing the many obstacles that first-generation students face.

The money fundraised for this program will go towards breakfast and lunch during the Workshop, providing laptops and necessary college item for students, and scholarships for high achieving students attending a university who identify as Queer, undocumented, or women in STEM.  

The students from these communities are unheard, underrepresented, and are constantly reminded that due to their identities they will not go to prestigious universities or achieve their educational dreams. Undocumented students are scared to apply to colleges due to their immigration status, women of color are told by their counselors, teachers, and principals that they have no chance of attending their dream schools, and Queer students, including I, are overlooked on local scholarships due to the strong homophobic attitudes of the interviewers -- despite their Valedictorian status or admittance to schools like UC Berkeley. Your donation will help raise the voices of these underrepresented students and give them the needed confidence to apply to different college and scholarships. Thank you for your assistance, and if you feel the need to contact please email michael.pina@berkeley.edu for any further information.

Donations ()

  • Peter Robertson 
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • Elisa Rivera  
    • $80 
    • 4 mos
  • Micaela Camozzi 
    • $10 
    • 5 mos
  • Thomas Leffler  
    • $100 
    • 6 mos
  • Natalie Clark 
    • $100 
    • 6 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Central Valley Scholars (2)

Michael Pina 
Raised $525 from 10 donations
Kerman, CA
Ernesto Casillas 
Team member
This team raised $1,285 from 19 other donations.
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