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News > Alumni Stories > Scholar Spotlight - Samantha Calderon

Scholar Spotlight - Samantha Calderon

What did your journey to start higher education look like?

As early as 14 years old, in my first month of high school I met with my college counselor to discuss what scholarships I could apply for as an undocumented student and to talk about possible colleges I could attend. I had always known that this was no easy path and it would come with a lot of challenges, but what I did not realize is how scared I would be sometimes; nevertheless, I did not give up easily. Everytime I felt scared I tried to remind myself that “el que quiere, puede” might as well turn that fear into action. My high school guided me while I did a lot of research about universities, colleges, internships and scholarships that were friendly towards undocumented students. I received many rejections that could have brought me down, but I kept my hopes and expectations high.

What does receiving the HDF Scholarship mean to you?

To me receiving the HDF scholarship means a lot. It means that hard work pays off. That there is hope. That I am worth believing in. That undocumented students have potential and other people see it. Most importantly to me it is a pivotal step to keep climbing the ladder to reach the better life my parents sacrificed everything for.  

What do you plan on majoring in/areas of interest?

I plan on majoring in marketing. I truly like the idea of spreading awareness and that's essentially what advertising does. I also enjoy analyzing, strategizing, and being creative.  I plan on becoming a strategic planner.

In your application, you mentioned meeting with politicians to discuss immigration policy. Can you share a bit about what you learned from this experience, and what you wish to see the politicians do for our community, especially with it being an election year?

I learned that although the people in power might not always seek the right things to do, you must make yourself and your cause noticeable. The best way to spread awareness about an issue is sharing perspectives. We the people should seek the best for our communities, and the best is empathy and equity, it begins from within. I wish that politicians who get to handle any type of authority would listen to the struggles of the community they oversee.  I wish they would begin by protecting and empowering oppressed communities. The list could really go on, but I mostly wish they would listen more than they talked. 

What was your favorite aspect of the Cambio Para Cambio fundraising campaign?

The Cambio Para Cambio campaign was really fun, I got to design flyers, meet with people, bake, design a poster, encourage my classmates and many other things. I believe my favorite aspect was to spread awareness of the reality undocumented students face. When my classmates and I held the bake sale, we explained HDF’s mission and campaign and had people significantly donate without getting a bake good in exchange. That made me believe that people stand for the cause too.

What would you like to say to all those who support the HDF Scholarship Program?

I would like to give them a huge thank you. There are no words that could describe all the impact HDF scholarships have. You guys are changing lives.

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