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2021 Scholarship Winners

We are excited to announce our 2021 Scholarship Winners! Our scholarships recognize outstanding students in the Central Valley willing to pursue their education despite the various hardships they face. We believe all students are worth investing in, and use non-traditional markers of success like need, impact, and identity to ensure our scholarships are accessible to marginalized communities. Our scholarships allow students to reflect on identity, invite vulnerability, and encourage empowerment.

Thanks to generous donors, we awarded $12,000 in scholarships to 7 students. We received close to 1,000 applicants from students across the San Joaquin Valley, a 233% applicant increase from 2020. Our next round of scholarships will be open for applicants next year and our Inspire Awardee will be announced soon!

Meet Our Winners

$1,500 First Generation Scholarship Winner

Nahui Gonzalez Millan (She/Her/Ella)

Raised in Stockton, Nahui has stayed committed to her dream of higher education despite the generational barriers of being an undocumented, first-generation college student. After attending San Joaquin Delta College, Nahui has recently transferred to CSU Stanislaus to pursue a double major in Psychology and Child Development, and will continue her educational journey into graduate school. "I feel so lost sometimes because it feels like I have no one in my family to turn to for help in college. But then I remember that every educator I have connected with has had a hand in helping me accomplish my dreams- I have more support than I could have ever thought. Earning the First-Generation Scholarship is one example of that. I feel fortunate for my blessings and would like to tell others this- once I believed in myself the way my educators did, everything changed."

$1,500 Black Student Scholarship Winner

Morgan Leenae Pouncil


Morgan is from Fresno, California and graduated from Edison High School. She is currently attending San Francisco state university where she is majoring in pre-nursing. In her award acceptance award she states, "I am so honored to accept the Black Student Scholarship. Growing up, there wasn’t any positive examples of African American scholars. To know that I can be an example to other students is truly honoring.”

$1,500 Disability Student Scholarship Winner

Lisbeth Plascencia


Lisbeth was born in Tulare, California and is a recent graduate of Tulare Union High School. She will be attending Fresno Pacific University, studying nursing. In her award acceptance she states, "I am thrilled to receive this years Student's Disability Scholarship!" Getting diagnosed with a disability was a difficult obstacle, but I am beyond thankful that this scholarship exist so that other students can pursue their academic dreams."

$1,500 LGBTQIA+ Student Scholarship Winner

J Peña


J was raised in Kerman, California, and recently graduated from Kerman High School. He will be attending UC Santa Barbara to study communications. In his award acceptance, he states, "I am honored and grateful to receive this year's LGBTQIA+ scholarship. This scholarship has value beyond the monetary; it serves as a sign to Queer students in the Central Valley that our LGBTQIA+ community always has our back!"

$1,500 Black Student Scholarship Winner

Camryn L Coston


Camryn has lived in Bakersfield for her entire life and recently graduated from Independence High School. She is now studying for her AA in Psychology at Bakersfield College. Upon accepting her award she states, "Looking at me, I know that I am not the typical 'Black Student.' However, I also know the struggles and expectations placed on you while growing up in the Central Valley. I would like to thank Central Valley Scholars for this opportunity, I will forever be grateful. To those still in school, keep your head up and I know that together, we will be able to rise above the expectations placed upon us."

$1,500 Undocumented Student Scholarship Winner

To promote accessibility, we respect the privacy of our students. Our undocumented scholarship winner requested to keep their name and identity private. In their award acceptance they share, “It is truly an honor to receive this award. The challenges one faces as an undocumented person are sometimes very overwhelming but knowing that there are organizations like Central Valley Scholars gives me hope for the future and helps me push forward despite the challenges. Realizing the dream my parents had when they came to the U.S. for a better life could not be possible without the help and support from Central Valley Scholars. Thank you for investing in me and for providing opportunities, and building bridges for others from the Central Valley.”

Want to sponsor next year's scholarship fund and support Central Valley Students? Donate Today! All donations are tax-deductible and come with business and/or individual recognition.



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