2019 Scholarship Cycle

Shattering Glass Ceilings Scholarship is pleased to announce the winners of our 2019 scholarships. We awarded scholarships to 15 women who are all first-generation college students. Of these women, 66% live in economically distressed areas and 27% have immigrated to America. Each recipient received up to $1000 in scholarship aid, which was sent directly to the institution of higher learning to offset loans or direct tuition payments made by the student.

Shattering Glass Ceilings Scholarship’s 2019 Recipients

Leslie Alvarez

Age: 19
Where Leslie grew up: New Haven, CT and Mexico City
Where Leslie now lives: Storrs, CT
Leslie’s college and academic year: University of Connecticut, Sophomore
Area of study: Political Science and Sociology
Why Leslie is pursuing a post-secondary education: I am pursuing a post-secondary education because it will help me reach my goal and passion in life, which is to advocate for marginalized individuals across America and promote the importance of equity and justice wherever I go. In addition, with every degree I earn, it allows me to keep breaking every glass ceiling I encounter and hopefully encourage others like me to do the same.

Read more about Leslie

Bette Anderson

Age: 20
Where Bette grew up: Kansas City, MO
Where Bette now lives: Kansas City, MO
Bette’s college and academic year: University of Central Missouri, Sophomore
Area of study: Business Management and Entrepreneurship, minor in Fashion Merchandising
Why Bette is pursuing a post-secondary education: I feel that in order to be the most successful I can be, I need to have a degree. I plan to hopefully own several businesses, and my degree will give me the skills that I will need to succeed.

Read more about Bette

Diaminique Barlow

Age: 20
Where Diaminique grew up: Philadelphia, PA
Where Diaminique now lives: Pittsburgh, PA
Diaminique’s college and academic year: Chatham University, Junior
Area of study: Psychology; minor in Women and Gender Studies
Why Diaminique is pursuing a post-secondary education: I want to become a School Psychologist.

Read more about Diaminique

Sofia Bermeo

Age: 26
Where Sofia grew up: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Where Sofia now lives: Pittsburgh, PA
Sofia’s college and academic year: University of Pittsburgh, 1st Year MBA
Area of study: Business Administration
Why Sofia is pursuing a post-secondary education: My parents always taught me that the two most important things in life are supporting family and pursuing education. With the constant support of my family, I was able to pursue my undergraduate degree in my home country of Ecuador, and now that I am here in the United States, I have the opportunity to study for my MBA. Getting a master’s degree will help me to achieve my own professional goals of working in the financial sector while contributing to a more diverse professional landscape.

Read more about Sofia

Octavia Beyah

Age: 26
Where Octavia grew up: Philadelphia, PA
Where Octavia now lives: Philadelphia, PA
Octavia’s college and academic year: Temple University, Graduate School class of 2020
Area of study: Counseling Psychology
Why Octavia is pursuing a post-secondary education: I’m pursuing my masters in Counseling Psychology in order to give back to community. My goal is to make therapy more accessible to those who are usually deterred due to stigma, cost, and various other factors. My degree will allow me to be of service to those who are denied access to this extremely integral component of health care.

Read more about Octavia

Diana Dimas

Age: 21
Where Diana grew up: South Gate, CA
Where Diana now lives: South Gate, CA/Hamilton, NY
Diana’s college and academic year: Colgate University, Senior, Class of 2020
Area of study: Educational Studies
Why Diana is pursuing a post-secondary education: I am pursuing a post-secondary education to ensure the financial wealth of myself to help other women pursue their dreams. 

Read more about Diana

Jennifer Fuentes

Age: 26
Where Jennifer grew up: El Salvador
Where Jennifer now lives: Los Angeles, CA
Jennifer’s college and academic year: Mount Saint Mary’s University, First Year Master Student
Area of study: Masters in Counseling Psychology emphasis Marriage and Family Therapy
Why Jennifer is pursuing a post-secondary education: My motivation to pursue higher education despite the hardships of being an undocumented student is to become a licensed marriage and family therapist to provide counseling services to people from different cultures and ethnicities. The joy of counseling people towards mental health and healing surpasses the pain and challenges I went through as an undocumented student. 

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Cristina Gil

Age: 28
Where Cristina grew up: Chicago (south side), IL
Where Cristina now lives: Washington, DC
Cristina’s college and academic year: American University Washington College of Law, 3rd year, Class of 2020
Area of study: Law
Why Cristina is pursuing a post-secondary education: I am pursuing a law degree in honor of my beloved immigrant parents who risked their lives for my ability to dream of a brighter future.

Read more about Cristina

Olivia Harpine

Age: 21
Where Olivia grew up: Eldersburg, MD
Where Olivia now lives: Shepherdstown, WV
Olivia’s college and academic year: Shepherd University, Senior
Area of study: Nursing
Why Olivia is pursuing a post-secondary education: Ever since I was young, I wanted to be a nurse who helps children. I was in the oncology unit myself, and I want to go back to help and support children going through the cancer journey I was once on. Getting the post-secondary education will help me pursue this life-long dream of giving back.

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Belky Hernandez

Age: 19
Where Belky grew up: Willmar, MN
Where Belky now lives: Northfield, MN
Belky’s college and academic year: St. Olaf College, freshman
Area of study: Philosophy and Psychology, with a concentration in neuroscience
Why Belky is pursuing a post-secondary education: My reasons for wanting to pursue a higher education have evolved through the years. At first, it was simply because I was a curious child. So I thought ‘why not? It’s fun.’ Then it was because I wanted a better life for me and my parents. I wanted to be someone who enjoyed her job and made a difference. On my latest trip back home, everywhere I went, I was repeatedly told how proud my community was of me. I was shocked. Now, my decision to go to college is also reinforced by the notion that there is an entire community cheering me on because they’re seeing the barriers being broken.

Read more about Belky

Jenny Olivarez

Age: 19
Where Jenny grew up: Ludington, MI
Where Jenny now lives: Lansing, MI
Jenny’s college and academic year: Michigan State University, sophomore
Area of study: Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science – Community Governance & Advocacy
Why Jenny is pursuing a post-secondary education: I am pursuing post-secondary education for multiple reasons, however, some carry more weight than others. My choice to continue my education is motivated not only by my personal growth and success but also by the overall mobility of my family and community. As a first-generation Latina, I will use my education to raise awareness for my people and have their voices heard.

Read more about Jenny

Andrea Pantoja

Age: 24
Where Andrea grew up: Eagle Pass, Texas
Where Andrea now lives: Austin, Texas
Andrea’s college and academic year: Texas State University, Class of 2020
Area of study: Doctor of Physical Therapy
Why Andrea is pursuing a post-secondary education: Although my parents did not attain a college degree, they have instilled in me a passion and dedication to learn. “Serás una médica algún día,” (you will be a doctor one day) they have shared with me since I was in high school. As a first-generation student, I pursue my education because I LOVE the connection and joy that comes with helping patient’s achieve their goals through physical therapy. I also fervently work towards my education in order to honor my parents who have sacrificed so much and inspire me through each season of my professional career. 

Read more about Andrea

Holly Shultz

Age: 19
Where Holly grew up: Lower Burrell, PA
Where Holly now lives: Pittsburgh, PA
Holly’s college and academic year: Chatham University, Freshman, Class of 2023
Area of study: Biochemistry
Why Holly is pursuing a post-secondary education: I am pursuing secondary education to follow and engage in my passion for biochemistry. I find all the little details fascinating. Also, by attending college, I am paving a path for my younger sisters to do so as well. Until I went to college, they didn’t think it was an option for them. They feel more confident in pursuing secondary education themselves, after seeing me do it. 

Read more about Holly

Merdith Spahic

Age: 21
Where Merdith grew up: Pittsburgh, PA
Where Merdith now lives: Pittsburgh, PA
Merdith’s college and academic year: Chatham University, class of 2022
Area of study: Arts Management, French Language
Why Merdith is pursuing a post-secondary education: I choose to pursue a post-secondary education because it is essential for me to expand my knowledge and connections to achieve my lifelong dream of becoming an international curator and artist, and I want to be a positive idol to any first-generation child so they know his or her dream is in fact possible to achieve.

Read more about Merdith

Linda Wang

Age: 19
Where Linda grew up: Oakland, CA
Where Linda now lives: Hamilton, NY
Linda’s college and academic year: Colgate University, Class of 2023
Area of study: International Relations and Economics
Why Linda is pursuing a post-secondary education: I am pursuing higher education to study the relationships between nations and economies in our world, to reveal how these relationships connect us, rather than divide us. In the course of this, I hope to work in the business industry, to disrupt the way traditional businesses work, and to involve people from low-income communities so that everyone has a voice.

Read more about Linda