Student ID Number31024
NameZenaida De La Cruz
What is your GPA4.11
What high school do you attend? (CHS or CSHS)CHS
Where have you applied for further education?

Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania. Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. Seattle University in Seattle, Washington. Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.

What is your inteded major/speciality?Political Science
In 200 words or less please explain why you are choosing this major/specialty

This past summer, I had an internship at the Idaho State Board of Education. I worked alongside Dana Kelly in education policy. Through my internship, I gained an interest in that field; studying political science would be the first step to my career. After I graduate, I want to work in policy, specifically education policy. I intend to come back to Idaho and work locally to impact diversity in higher education

1. What are your educational goals? Specifically list your planned major and minor courses of study. What do you plan to do with your education?

I plan to attend a Catholic-affiliated university to obtain a degree in political science. After I graduate college, I want to work in policy, specifically education policy. I intend to come back to Idaho and work locally to impact diversity in higher education. I think that my voice is important in this discussion because I come from an underrepresented background. I know that if I came back to Idaho to work, I have a greater ability to make change. It’s important to me to help students in the future, who are like me, move on to higher education.

In order to achieve my goals, I am going to finish my senior year off strong and not let anything get in my way. I will continue working hard in class and not be afraid to ask questions. I will turn to my mentors when I need them. In college, I will seek out internship opportunities and mentors to prepare me for the professional world. With my motivation and persistence, I know I can achieve anything I want.

What extracurricular activities or events have you participated in during high school?

TRIO Upward Bound
August 2017 - Present

Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (Historian 2019 - 2020)
January 2018 - Present

National Honor Society
March 2019 - Present

Ignitor's Youth Group
August 2018 - May 2019

Future Hispanic Leaders of America
January 2018 - May 2018

Health Occupations Students of America
January 2018 - May 2018

Caldwell High School Volleyball
Fall 2016, 2017

Caldwell High School Basketball
Winter 2016

3. What is the most impactful experience that you have had as a participant in TRIO Upward Bound?

This past summer, my advisor talked to me about what factors were most important to me in considering a college. I told him that I wanted to attend a small, private college. My advisor knew that my faith was a very important part of me and he offered a visit to Gonzaga University, a Jesuit university. A Jesuit university is a private, Catholic-affiliated university that follows the Society of Jesus within their values and teaches each student holistically. Most Jesuit universities follow a motto similar to “Men and women for and with others.” They value service and selflessness. I was pretty interested because Spokane is fairly close to home but far enough to feel freedom.

We took a tour of the campus, followed by an admissions presentation. Stepping foot on campus was life changing because I got to learn about what the Society of Jesus is and how it is involved in different aspects of the university. Walking around campus, there are statues of Jesus and various Saints and even a place to light a candle before the Virgin Mary. I learned that I have a lot of similar values with the Jesuit community, including intellectual diligence, reconciliation with God, cherishing our environment, and, especially, service to others. I know that a college visit is a small part of TRIO, but without this experience, I would have a small idea about the universities I want to attend and I would be somewhat lost. I learned that I really feel a connection to the Jesuit community and, after this trip, I decided that I wanted to attend a Jesuit university.

Other than financial, what is the biggest obstacle you face to completing college? What resources will you utilize to help you overcome this obstacle?

As a first-generation student, I think I will struggle with finding the right support in college. My parents always encourage me, but their support isn’t always the right support. In high school, I have found an amazing support system through TRIO Upward Bound to be able to push me to reach my potential and my goals, but my fear is what if I can’t find that support in college? I have found my passion and a lot of my confidence through TRIO Upward Bound and I hope to continue to build myself in college. In college, I know that I will excel in my studies, but if I struggle, I will use tutoring and resources similar to that. I hope to find mentors and people who will encourage me through jobs that I have or classes that I attend. I want to be able to make connections through my experiences and find a mentor that way. I will also continue to confide in my TRIO Upward Bound advisor for help.

5. What will it mean to you to be the recipient of The Opportunity Fund?

Being the recipient of The Opportunity Fund would be very meaningful. I feel that I have had a significant role in TRIO Upward Bound. I have been involved in many of the events that TRIO Upward Bound holds and I have dedicated many hours of my time to helping younger students develop their leadership skills. I know that I have been a strong role model who younger students constantly ask for advice. In TRIO Upward Bound, I strive to set high goals and reach them, that way the students who come after me can reach even higher and achieve their goals as well. Receiving this scholarship would mean a lot to me to know that my work is appreciated.

6. To what organizations or events have you offered service during high school? What was the most rewarding volunteer experience that you have had, and why?

Through TRIO Upward Bound, I participated in a service learning class in which I volunteered over 100 hours in different activities. These include Friendship Feasts, working at the Idaho Foodbank, and hosting a carnival for elementary students to learn about college. At the Friendship Feasts, we were responsible for buying food, cooking, and serving the meal to community members in need. At the Idaho Foodbank, we repackaged cans of food and cleaned out spoiled food at the warehouse. We also bought and painted bowls and donated them to the Foodbank to auction off for charity. At the college carnival, elementary students learned about the different degrees, colleges in Idaho, and ways to pay for college through games and activities. My group was responsible for creating a few educational games that would attract the students' attention and teach them something.

The most rewarding experience I’ve had, however, was Junior Coaching for Girls On The Run (GOTR). I worked with young girls to develop their confidence and leadership skills. As a Junior Coach, I was a role model for the girls. I demonstrated confidence and perseverance through workouts so when the girls saw me, they knew that they had the ability as well. During the season I was able to see how much the girls had grown as they interacted with me and the other girls. Over the past two seasons, I have developed relationships with many of the girls to the point when I see them in a public place, they run up to me and give me a hug and we talk. It’s very rewarding because I know that I have had a part in their growth and that I have impacted them for the rest of their life.

7. How do you plan to fund your post-secondary education? If you have worked during high school describe what you have done.

My financial situation is something I am very concerned about when it comes to college. When I applied for FAFSA I found out that I am not Pell Grant eligible. It had a significant impact on me because I know that my parents don’t have money to pay for my college, especially the institutions I have applied to. The colleges that I am considering, like Gonzaga University and Villanova University, have an expensive cost of attendance. These schools cost about what my parents make combined in one year and the reality is that I cannot expect them to pay for my college and only have a small amount of money to survive off of.
Because of my financial situation, I plan to apply to as many scholarships as I can, especially through the universities that I have applied to. So far, I have applied to every scholarship that I am eligible for at Gonzaga and Villanova. I plan to apply to as many outside scholarships as possible. As of right now, I have a small amount of money saved up from work this past year, but I plan to save more before college. I have a job at Walmart in which I am a cashier and a front end associate and I hope to pick up a lot of hours this summer. Until then, I take out some money from my paycheck every two weeks that goes to my savings account and I am practicing budgeting.