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Two Cañada Students Earn Chicana/Latina Foundation Scholarship

Cañada College students Adriana Fernandez and Rita Melgar have received the Chicana/Latina Foundation Scholarship.


Adriana Fernandez
The Chicana/Latina Foundation is based in Burlingame. Each year, the organization awards merit-based, $1,500 scholarships. This year, 31 deserving students received the one-year scholarships. All recipients will attend a leadership retreat and be honored at a special gala on Sept. 20.

“I heard about the scholarship last year from Xochitl Rios, a Cañada graduate,” said Fernandez. “I applied and was interviewed but didn’t receive a scholarship. I was disappointed in myself but it motivated me to work harder.”

This year, Fernandez improved her GPA and worked with Melissa Ibarra, a retention specialist in Cañada’s STEM Center, on her interview skills. “The preparation made a big difference,” she said.

Melgar was encouraged to apply for the scholarship by Ibarra and Cathy Lipe, director of the STEM Center. “I applied and was selected to participate in the Cisco-MESA Mentorship Program last year so they suggested I apply for this scholarship,” she said.

Melgar graduated from high school in El Salvador and moved to the United States in 2007. She works as a math tutor in Cañada’s Learning Center. She credits Cañada Professor Po Tong for igniting her passion for math and teaching.

Rita Melgar
“He was my Math 120 teacher and he recommended that I tutor math in the Learning Center,” she said. “He is the reason I found my passion not just in math but also in teaching. He’s why I am pursuing a double major.”

Fernandez has been involved in undergraduate research at Cañada, analyzing nitrate levels in San Mateo County farm fields. “It was really cool and interesting to see the levels of nitrates in the soil and realize that our research was helping local farmers,” she said.

Fernandez plans to transfer to UC Davis to study environmental science while Melgar will attend San Jose State and study computer science and mathematics.

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