College Kids of Los Angeles: Meet our 2016 Beat the Odds Scholars

Five community college transfer scholars who have overcome several obstacles and transferred to four year universities have been awarded with the NBC4 Beat the Odds Scholarship

Cesar CruzUniversity of California, Los Angeles

“I grew up in a good neighborhood with two very supportive parents and I never had to worry about having food on the table. Yet, despite the constant support of my parents, they were unable to guide me with my pursuit of higher education as they never went to college. Getting the help I needed was a challenge. I felt lost with the process and didn’t plan to enroll in college but thanks to counselors at the Fulfillment Fund, I decided to attend Santa Monica College (SMC) and use community college as a platform to transfer to a four year university. I felt that SMC gave me a second chance of attending a good university. I took advantage of the multitude of resources and opportunities available and got involved.  Today, I’m at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). as a Communications Studies major. Without the generous support of NBC4 and Fulfillment Fund, it would have been harder to make my dreams a reality.”


Jasmine MirandaCalifornia State University, Long Beach

“We try to find some purpose in our life by setting up goals for ourselves and overcoming challenges to find what drives us. My story is no different. Not only am I a first generation college student, but when I was younger, I was diagnosed with auditory dyslexia. It made school challenging for me as I would have problems with short-term verbal memory. However, I did not hesitate to ask for help nor did I hide the fact that I was dyslexic. I worked extra hard to overcome those challenges and immersed myself in practices that helped me thrive in community college and allowed me to transfer to California State University Long Beach (CSULB). The Fulfillment Fund offered me the academic, financial and moral support I needed to pursue my education and now I’m currently working on my degree in Animation so that I can one day open my own studio.”   



Alan DanielCalifornia State University, Los Angeles 

“My journey to California State University Los Angeles (CSULA) hasn’t been an easy one.  I began my college experience at an out-of-state university, but between struggling with depression and financial issues, I decided to move back home to enroll at LA Trade Tech College.  With the support of my Fulfillment Fund counselors, I realized the importance of asking for assistance and that breakthrough allowed me to be successful. During my time at LATTC, I received straight A’s and earned a spot on the Dean’s List while working in the IT dept. Transferring to a 4-year school was important to me because I have dreams of becoming a programmer. Now that I am at CSULA, I am one step closer to achieving my dreams.  I have worked hard to overcome my challenges and plan to graduate with my degree in Computer Science and set an example for my younger sister.”



Marina HannaUniversity of California, San Diego 

My family and I came to the United States from Egypt for a chance at a better life. Coming to a country that I knew nothing about was very difficult. I did my best in high school to assure my parents that our struggles were all worth it. I graduated high school with a high grade point average and several college acceptance letters. I then decided to go to community college with the intent of transferring since this was a more affordable option for me at that time. Two years later, I am now a 3rd year transfer student at my dream school, University of California, San Diego (UCSD), where I will continue my pursuit toward becoming a dentist. I am currently majoring in Psychology and specializing in human health. Despite all the challenges that I have faced and will continue to face, I will still be optimistic and full of hope that one day, I will fulfill my dreams and be successful. Thank you NBC4 for making college possible for me.”


Marco EnriquezUniversity of California, Los Angeles

“Santa Monica College (SMC) gave me a chance to attend my dream school to obtain my BA in History at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Although I had the best three years of my life at SMC, it wasn’t without its challenges. My father was unemployed and my mother was struggling to pay the bills. Seeing my mother stressed led me to find a job on campus to support them. It was tough to balance my school work and my job. What made it even more challenging for me was the fact that I was doing this as a first generation college student with no clue as to how the college system worked. In spite of these challenges, I was fortunate enough to have amazing mentors and the Fulfillment Fund staff to help me persevere against the odds. When I graduate from college, I will become the first person in my family to do so. I hope that getting my degree will change the trajectory of my family and those who come after me.”

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