Spring 2016 Scholarship Award Honorary Mention: Luz Nunez

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At PCB Solutions, we spend most of our days fielding PCB quotes and filling orders. When you work with rigid flex circuits, every day is busy. We have to make sure that every material that we use is of the highest quality, or the circuit boards will malfunction. That alone requires a great deal of testing. We also have to keep our supply chain well equipped to handle various projects, and our customer service reps always have to be available to answer questions or to help clients find the right rigid flex circuits for their needs.

While some companies might call it a day with all of that work, we are just getting started. Helping our numerous customers isn’t enough. We feel that it is also important to give back to the community. We hope to help create the next generation of flex PCB suppliers or the next team of economic advisors. We might even help mold the next CEO of a Fortune 500 company. That is why we offer the annual Chuan Ai Lu Engstrom Memorial Scholarship. This is our way of giving back to the community we serve. While we can’t give the scholarship to everyone who applies, we do want to take the time to honor Luz Nunez. After spending the day sending out PCB quotes and circuit boards, we still couldn’t get her application out of our minds.

Luz comes from humble beginnings. Her father works at a glass factory and her mother washes dishes, cleans tables, and mops floors at a restaurant. However, she is committed to her education, even though it hasn’t always been easy.

She also has a vision of the future where the global economy helps those who come from underprivileged households and communities. While some opportunities are out there, she looks forward to a future where there are even more available. For now, she plans to graduate college and assist with the programs that are available. With her vision, she may even be able to build some programs of her own. We think she is going to be a role model for young people in her community and beyond, someday, if she isn’t already. We wish her the best of luck and can’t wait to see what she accomplishes.

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My family offered me limited educational resources and we reside within a poor community. Neither of my parents had the opportunities like me to be able to attend college. They both are regulated to work in the manual labor work force to earn a living. My father must wake up at five in the morning to work at a glass company, while my mother works in a restaurant washing dishes, cleaning tables, and mopping floors.

My family continually faces financial challenges in paying bills and household expenses. Since both of my parents still have family members residing in another country, they regularly send money to their families. Particularly, my mother has an elderly father and two mentally ill siblings, who rely on her for their financial well-being. Witnessing how hard my parents must work to provide for my family and those in a farther land, I have applied for part-time work to assist with my family’s income.

I reside in a small community that is heavily populated by Latinos, where academic achievements tend to be low and college attendance is a privilege. I am aware that those of my generation are children of undocumented parents, which poses difficulties for families to secure stable employment and provide a decent living. My parents and those of my community strive their best to work diligently to support their families since the majority of us are uneducated, with many never having higher than a middle school education. Without the educational support of our parents and community, I have learned that I have needed to be self-reliant and seek resources for my own academic success.

Young people are the future of tomorrow; therefore opportunities should assist them in shaping into upright citizens. The global economy should further fund educational programs to succor pupils in achieving the career of their dreams. By acquiring a career of their desire, students are more likely to continue to work in a job and increase their income, which will enable them to pay taxations that will make the global economy revolve smoothly. Attaining greater wealth qualifies the newer generation to make higher investment, such as in purchasing a car or a house. If there is support in aligning adolescents to the decent path, criminalization rates would reduce and the maintenance of jail homes and prisons would lessen.

The global economy should invest in programs that assist determined students in reaching their educational goals. The most significant experience that prepared me for the rigors of college was my acceptance into the Upward Bound Program (UBP). The UBP provided opportunities for me to succeed in my precollege performance and ultimately to be admitted to a four-year university of my choice. While in the UBP, I have increased and maintained excellent scores, as well as being motivated to pursue and engage in higher-level courses. I realized how misinformed and directionless I was in preparing for college.

The UBP has offered me services more valuable than knowing how to fill out an application or conduct an interview. During the summer of 2012, I was provided the opportunity to take a Geometry course during the summer residential program at Chapman University. I learned to expand my network capital with other staff, students, and mentors. Additionally, I was selected as a participant of the 2013 Northern California Campus Tour. During the four-day trip, I visited eight universities and was tasked to create a power point about Dominican University, a private college in San Rafael, California. This presentation, along with many others required by UBP, helped me develop public speaking skills, which as increased my self-confidence. Having self-confidence allows me to step outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself to pursue more ambitious goals, new experiences, and access knowledge beyond my own frame of reference.

Upward Bound encourages students to pursue their higher educational goals. The staff motivated me to remain focused on my academics. They provided continual academic monitoring and gave me the skills to become a more effective student. The students in the program have reinforced and strengthened my social skills, being surrounded by students who have similar goals to mine reinforced my desire to be academically competitive and ahead of the game.

Throughout my high school years, I have also been a member of another organization entitled Youth Speak Collective (YSC). YSC became a second home that provided an academic setting with knowledgeable tutors and staff who have assisted me to learn both inside and outside of the classroom. With the supportive individualized attention I received in counseling and mentoring services, I was able to improve my role in society. YSC offers various programs for youth to be educated, healthy, and safe. Visual Arts is the program that makes available canvases, acrylic paints, and other art supplies so that the youth can express their minds on paper which avoids graffiti on the streets. Women’s Circle is a program that empowers the voice of young women and informs them of resources available. In addition, YSC has provided community service hours to youth by beautifying local recreational areas. YSC has provided me with my first internship at the headquarter office as a Youth Advocate. I have become an inquisitive learner and continue to seek further opportunities for personal growth and development. Youth Speak has offered me the preparation and confidence necessary to take with me to future endeavors. I have confidence in being able to tackle the challenges of being an upright citizen.

Being a product of a low-income family and living in a community where education is secondary to making a living, I have become more determined to attend college, earn my degree and having a meaningful career in helping others. Being a Latina has been quite a struggle since I have been imposed with negative stereotypes such as teen pregnancy, lack of education, and “welfare queens”. I want to challenge these perceptions by continuing with my education and making a difference in my community. All these factors have provided me with the fuel and passion to overcome both the negative stereotypes and change the demographics of my community by attending college and earning a Bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, I plan in pursuing a Graduate degree in Psychology. With both degrees, I intend to return to my community to assist other youths in programs like Upward Bound and Youth Speak Collective to motivate and educate the youth to seek higher education as means to increase their economic and social status.

Therefore, completing my college education is extremely important to me, as well as my family. My desire is to further my educational pursuits beyond the Bachelorette experience, while being exposed to the “real world”. These experiences definitely will mold and shape me in becoming an independent, self-confident individual, who is committed to social justice and service to the Latino community. The world has much to offer me and I am eagerly willing to learn from each encounter I have while attending a college.

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