Introducing the 2013 Esperanza Scholars

After reviewing a record-breaking 450 applicants and interviewing just 28, we’re thrilled to announce this year’s Esperanza Scholars! Thanks to our Board of Advisors, our corporate and institutional sponsors, and contributors like you, our 2013 scholars will receive a total of $90,000 in college scholarships. This includes over $11,000 from our matching gift drive. Special thanks to Board of Advisors members Tom Olson, Claire Alexander, Sergio Oehninger and Brian Greene for sponsoring the match – and to all of you who participated!


The amazing stories of these new scholars are after the jump. We invite you to meet them at our Lucky 2013 graduation party on June 8th at the Jack Rose. If you’re interested in mentoring one of these incredible young people, please visit our Become a Mentor page. Mentorship applications are due May 29th.

  • An immigrant from El Salvador who maintained a 3.8 GPA and won a statewide speech competition while taking care of her two younger siblings and working 30 hours a week cleaning houses and waitressing. The first in her family to complete high school, she will attend George Mason University and hopes to become an immigration lawyer.
  • A young man who was born into deep poverty in rural Pakistan, grew up working on a chicken farm in Maryland, and went on to earn straight A’s in high school, serve as captain of the varsity soccer and tennis teams, win a prestigious paid internship at NASA, and launch his own social commerce website. He will study aerospace engineering at the Honors College at the University of Maryland at College Park.
  • A young woman who, only two years after immigrating from rural Ethiopia, was selected to lead more than 2,000 JROTC cadets as the highest-ranking officer in the District of Columbia, taught English in the Dominican Republic as part of a student exchange program, and maintained a 3.9 GPA while working 20 hours a week at the Department of Parks and Recreation. She will study engineering at Penn State.
  • An Iraqi refugee who, after escaping persecution by Saddam Hussein’s regime, earned a perfect GPA in high school and conducted graduate-level laboratory research as an intern at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. An aspiring doctor, she will study biology and neuroscience at the University of Maryland at College Park.
  • A young woman who immigrated from Mexico nine years ago and rose to become president and valedictorian of her high school class, editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, and captain of the varsity soccer, swimming, and track and field teams. The daughter of a teenage single mother who worked cleaning houses, this Campbell-Seltz Scholar will study engineering at Prince George’s Community College.
  • A Russian immigrant who earned straight A’s in her high school’s International Baccalaureate program, studied neutron stars and confirmed a pulsar discovery with the Pulsar Search Collaboratory, and presented her research on particle kinematics at the American Physical Society’s nuclear physics conference. She plans to study physics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
  • A young man who, after immigrating alone from Vietnam three years ago, earned perfect scores on three AP tests, won second place in the Maryland Physics Olympics, interned at a healthcare management company, and founded an investment club at his high school while caring for his younger cousins and cooking and cleaning for his aunt’s household. This Fred Wang Memorial Scholar will attend the University of Texas at Austin, where he plans to major in business.
  • A recent immigrant from El Salvador who won second place in a countywide competition for his public service announcement about teen dating violence, produced ten other PSAs for his high school, and interned at Montgomery County Public Schools TV while working 30 hours a week as a busboy to support himself. He will study television production at Montgomery College and plans to transfer to a four-year college to study film production.
  • The daughter of Chinese immigrants who maintained a 4.0 GPA, volunteered at the Red Cross, and played in her high school orchestra while working 25 hours a week to help support her family of six after her mother passed away while she was in high school. This Annie Scott Memorial Scholar plans to major in psychology at the College of William and Mary and hopes to become a veterinarian.
  • A Peruvian immigrant who organized seminars to help low-income Latino students obtain financial aid for higher education and was invited to speak at Senator Mark Warner’s 2013 Roundtable Meeting on Immigration. She will study public relations at the College of William and Mary.

We hope that you’ll come out to meet these amazing new scholars at our Lucky 2013 graduation party on June 8th at the Jack Rose. If you’re interested in mentoring one of them, please fill out the application on the Become a Mentor page.