Meet the Scholars

For the past four years, SDEF has assisted me in paying for my tuition and books for college. After attending my first SDEF board meeting, I felt moral support from everyone as they were listening to my story. It was good to meet the people who are helping me financially and morally. This scholarship turned me into a better Scholar as I can appreciate their efforts  in helping me graduate from college. As of today, I am debt-free and continuing my dream of becoming a teacher. Thank you for the moral support of the SDEF scholarship. 

- Alberto Vega Hernandez, Senior at SDSU, majoring in Liberal Studies

Growing up in a family of two former math teachers, I knew at a young age that I would pursue a higher education. What I did not know, however, was how to pay for it. Struggling financially after immigrating to America, my family's situation serves as a daily reminder that I must give my best at school to become a well-qualified applicant for college scholarships and have the opportunity to better my future through education. The SDEF scholarship serves as a stepping stone that will push me one step closer toward accomplishing my lifelong goals. As I look back on my childhood in Vietnam, it was apparent to me the difficult life of those with disabilities. Due to lack of government supports and good healthcare facilities, many with disabilities live in poverty or end up on the streets. As the result, my career goal is to design and develop assistive devices that will give individuals with disabilities better chances in pursuing higher education and finding employment opportunities. I want to work with hospitals and research centers to aid members of low-income communities with reasonably priced devices and one day bring my innovations back to my country.

- Duyen Tran, Sophmore at UCSD, majoring in Bioengineering


The support I have received from SDEF has helped me pay for school supplies such as books, notebooks and transportation. My goal is to become a high school English teacher. I know the SDEF scholarship will help me achieve my goals.

- Alexandra Palomera, Junior at SDSU, majoring in English

My goal is to become a high school math teacher. I have always loved math and have excelled in it. I have also always loved helping others and that is why I want to become a teacher. The support I have received from SDEF has allowed me to attend SDSU and work on my degree in education. The moral support I have received has helped me stay on top of school and be successful. I am grateful to SDEF for assisting me to pursue my degree in education.

- Mackenzie Kelly, Sophmore at SDSU, majoring in Mathematics for Secondary Education

I have many goals for my future. Not only do I want to teach high school calculus, but I also want to be a mentor and a role model. This spark first lit inside of me when I was in middle school and my desire to become a teacher has only grown since. Thanks to the SDEF scholarship, I am getting closer. The scholarship funds provided all go towards paying my tuition, and I plan to utilize all of the mentorship opportunities and provisions provided by the San Diego Education Fund. Receiving this scholarship has allowed me to meet new people with similiar dreams and those who have achieved their dreams. As a result, I am more confident about becoming a teacher. Being surrounded by people who want to make a difference in education has pushed me to work hard and set an example for others.

- Amanda Huynh, Sophmore at UCSD, majoring in Mathematics for Secondary Education