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2022 Scholarship Recipients



Please join us in celebrating our 2022 scholarship recipients! This year we awarded 11 students with scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $3,000. Our scholarships focus on identity and need, and reflect students who experience a myriad of obstacles in their higher education trajectories while having the fewest resources to attain success. Scholarships awarded include the following:

  • First Generation Scholarship

  • Undocumented Scholarship

  • LGBTQIA+ Scholarship

  • Woman of Color Scholarship

  • Student Parent Scholarship

  • Student with Disabilities Scholarship

  • Black Student Scholarship

We experienced an outstanding amount of submitted scholarship applications - 722, a 270% increase in applications from 2021.


While this increase can be attributed to our outreach efforts, a massive part of this growth also lies in the promotion of our accessible and equitable applications. Our applications encourage students to reflect about their marginalized identities in a way that doesn’t center their trauma or require them to internalize their oppression.


In our applications, students are requested to reflect on identity, share vulnerability, and discover the high level of intelligence that has emerged from their experiences. A numerous amount of students shared feeling empowered after submission of their applications.


Students, especially students who are oppressed, have been required to exploit their traumas by many educational institutions in order to make themselves more appealing candidates for admission. With our scholarship curriculum, students are able to take the lessons from their traumas, and center their experiences from a lens of power and strength. Quoted below are some of the many comments scholarship applicants shared in our feedback survey.



A wide majority of our scholarship applicants also came with identities most impacted with disparities by educational institutions.

  • 88% of applicants identified as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (60% being Latinx, 8.6% identifying as Black, 8.8% identifying as Asian, and 5% as Native or Indigenous)

  • 80% of applicants were low-income

  • 77% of applicants identified as first generation students

  • 31% of applicants identified as LGBTQIA+ students

  • 21% of applicants identified as students with disabilities

  • 18% of applicants identified as undocumented students

  • 16% of applicants identified as student parents

Our scholarship program was created with three goals in mind; access, empowerment, and critical consciousness.

  • Access: Increase access to higher education for underserved Central Valley students with an ongoing scholarship fund - axing exclusionary requirements such as grade point averages, letters of recommendation, and proof of citizenship in the United States.

  • Empowerment: Increase student empowerment with questions designed to center their identities from a lens of growth and strength, not exploit their traumas.

  • Critical Consciousness: Students unearth the high level of intelligence that emerged from their experiences as people who are oppressed, and bring value to knowledge gained beyond traditional academic spaces.

Based on our student feedback and demographics, we can proudly share that these goals were met. We look forward to continue to serve Central Valley students with our scholarship program for the generations of scholars to come.


Meet The Recipients


Join us in celebrating our 11 scholarship recipients! Not only are our recipients incredibly smart, resilient, and powerful, but their experiences and stories share an important message. They share the intersectional adversities that students with their identities face on their journeys to higher education, and they give insight to the necessary transformations in our current reality in order to create a world in which education is accessible to all. We are so proud of all they’ve accomplished thus far, and are honored to support their academic dreams with these scholarships.


Mayde Pineda (She/Her)
Undocumented Student Scholarship

Mayde was born in El Salvador and later immigrated to the United States graduating from Madera South High School. She is a current student at Fresno State with a major in Public Health Administration and minor in General Business. In her award acceptance she states, “I am honored to be a recipient of the Undocumented Scholarship! As a first-generation, undocumented, Woman of Color, proceeding with a higher education has not been easy. Growing up in the Central Valley has introduced me to the diversity of scholar stories each beautifully unique and powerful in their own way. I hope other students can view me as inspiration and never give up on what they truly want.”


Shawn Quillin (He/Him)
Student with Disabilities Scholarship

Shawn originates from Stockton, CA and is a recent G.E.D. graduate from Stockton School For The Adults. He is currently attending San Joaquin Delta College studying accounting and plans to transfer to the University Of The Pacific after completing his associates degree. In his award acceptance Shawn states, "It is an honor and a blessing to receive this year's Student with Disabilities Scholarship! As student with disabilities and a parent, I am beyond grateful for the opportunity Central Valley Scholars has provided me to show my daughter that no matter what your situation is you can better yourself!"


Jourdan Williams (She/Her)
Black Student Scholarship

Jourdan originates from Fresno, CA and graduated from Edison High School in 2020. She is currently a third year student at California State University Fresno with a major in Biochemistry. In her award acceptance she states, “I am extremely honored to be receiving this years Black Student Scholarship. Stereotypes and historical events have shaped a narrative around black minorities, this scholarship is the first of many to change that narrative.”


Ana Ojeda (She/Her/Ella)
First Generation & Undocumented Student Scholarships

Ana has lived in Chowchilla, CA most of her life and recently graduated from Modesto Junior College earning an associate's degree in Sociology. She will be continuing her education and transferring to Fresno State in the fall semester of 2022. In her award acceptance she expressed, “I am truly humbled to have been chosen for the Undocumented and First Generation scholarships. Living in the Central Valley while being undocumented has not been easy, but I am grateful for my experiences because they push me to strive for more. Being a first-generation student means a lot to me because I know I am making my family proud. I am thankful for organizations like Central Valley Scholars who honor students like me and make our educational goals possible through scholarships."


Alayssia Townsell (She/Her)
Woman of Color & Black Student Scholarships

Alayssia originates from South Stockton, CA and is a 2019 graduate of Ronald E. McNair High School. She currently attends UCLA and is majoring in Public Affairs. In her award acceptance she states, "As a fourth year college student attending a predominately white institution (PWI) as a low income student of color, there are many academic barriers I've faced along the way. I cannot imagine having to pursue this journey with financial worries. I am truly honored and grateful to have received two scholarships from my home community."


Anna Medrano (She/Her)
Student Parent Scholarship

Anna was born and raised in Fresno, CA and graduated with two associate's degrees from Fresno City College. She is currently a student at Fresno State University. Anna has aspirations of attending the San Joaquin College of Law and becoming an employment lawyer. In her award acceptance Anna states, "If it were not for the tremendous support of my family I wouldn't haven been able to continue my education. My husband and children have all made sacrifices for me to pursue my dreams, and without them I would not be where I am today. I am so grateful to receive this scholarship. The opportunities that Central Valley Scholars provides highlight the most forgotten students and encourage others to never give up on their dreams."


James Patnaude (He/They/Wiiya)
Student with Disabilities & LGBTQIA+ Scholarships

James grew up in the small town of French Camp, and is now based in Stockton, CA. He is a proud enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, with family ties to the Red River Band of Metis. He identifies as Two-Spirit/Deu-Zesprii, and is active in his local community as a staunch advocate for Transgender rights and policies. After graduating from East Union High School in Manteca, they now attend San Joaquin Delta College and intend to transfer to CSU Stanislaus to pursue a degree in Psychology, double-majoring in Ethnic Studies. In his award acceptance he states, "It is an incredible honor to receive this year's LGBTQIA+ and Students with Disabilities scholarships. My journey has not been an easy or smooth one. I am so grateful to have this opportunity, and I hope that this scholarship can continue to afford other folks the opportunity to continue their education. I thank Central Valley Scholars so much for the work that they do; it helps us immensely as we learn to navigate our ways through higher education in institutions that are often not friendly or even hostile towards those who may differ from the norm."


Juan Gonzales (He/Him/His)
Student Parent Scholarship

Juan Gonzales is a 2009 Kerman High School graduate and a 31 year old father of three children; Juan Jr., Ruby, and Adan. Juan graduated cum laude from Reedley College in 2021, earning an associate's degree in Plant Science. He is currently completing his bachelor's degree in Fresno State with a major in Plant Science. In his award acceptance Juan states, "I want to thank Central Valley Scholars for the opportunity. I am forever grateful for this scholarship. It feels amazing to be supported in this way and make my family proud!"


Crystal Gonzales (She/Her)
First Generation Scholarship

Crystal identifies as Northfork Mono Indian and is a mother of two children, one of which she shares is disabled. She is a recent graduate of Fresno City College attaining four associate's degrees including one in Sociology and another in American Indian Studies. She is currently attending Paul Mitchell to obtain her cosmetology license. Growing up in foster care and proceeding with a higher education as a first-generation, low-income, parent, and Woman of Color, Crystal has faced a myriad of obstacles in her academic journey. However, she believes it is never too late to proceed with one's academic dreams and is proud to serve as an example to others. In her award acceptance she states, "I'm very grateful for being selected for the First Generation Scholarship! I want to thank Central Valley Scholars from the bottom of my heart for providing me with the resources to continue my education. It is a beautiful feeling to share my life journey and celebrate this accomplishment with my family."


Although we wish to celebrate and share all of our scholars, accessibility and our students safety are our top priority. We would never want to prevent someone from applying and being selected for our scholarship program if it meant that they had to share parts of themselves that they were not comfortable with. Our following scholarship recipients requested that we respect their privacy and keep their names and identities private. Below are quotes they shared from their scholarship acceptance.


LGBTQIA+ Scholarship

In their award acceptance they state, "I am so grateful to receive this year's LGBTQIA+ Scholarship from Central Valley Scholars! Growing up questioning my identity has been far from easy, but I am beyond grateful that this scholarship exists to change the narrative of the ideal scholarship candidate and to encourage those candidates to continue their academic dreams. Thank you Central Valley Scholars!"


Woman of Color Scholarship

In their award acceptance they state, "I am so grateful for this award and what it means for myself and other women of color whose stories need to be heard."



Thank You To All Who Applied


While funding capacity didn’t allow us to select more equally important and deserving students into our scholarship program, we are extremely thankful to all who shared their experiences, growth, and lessons; we learned so much from you. And we sincerely thank all of our applicants for serving as living embodiments of Central Valley scholars.


Support Our Scholarship Program


To learn more about our scholarship mission, please click here. To support our scholarship fund, please click here. For additional questions regarding this article or Central Valley Scholars more generally, please contact us.

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