The Helen Cuesta Scholarship Fund
We are excited to announce that Miguel Alemañy, chair of SHPE’s National Board of Directors, made a $15,000 gift to establish SHPE’s first scholarship fund created by an individual donor.
According to Alemany, “My mother lived for 91 years and had a fantastic, rich but difficult life. She raised me as a single mother and did not have the chance to enjoy the good things of life – we barely made it for many years. She dropped out of college to work. She worked like a horse to send me to a good school and college. She had breast cancer around 1988 and was given a prognosis of five years of life, but she fought back and continued to live beyond those five years. In fact, she went back to school and got a Bachelors's and a Masters's degree as she had wanted to do when she was young. So in her honor, I am establishing a fund in her name, Helen Cuesta, to give a scholarship each year to a deserving female student in SHPE who has demonstrated the ability to overcome life’s obstacles and who doesn’t give up. Someone who is on his or her way to success in life in spite of what life throws their way.”
The number one reason Hispanics do not graduate is financial need. In 2018, 1,300 student members applied for SHPE scholarships. SHPE was able to grant 155 students a scholarship award. The need for scholarships is greater than the funds we are able to grant.
“We are thrilled at Miguel’s generosity and the establishment of the Helen Cuesta Scholarship Fund,” added SHPE CEO Raquel Tamez. “SHPE is in deep, significant need of more scholarship dollars to help our students complete their STEM degree.”
On November 2, 2019, at the SHPE National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, the first Helen Cuesta Scholarship was awarded to Monica Tejeda, a Master of Civil Engineering Candidate at California State University, Long Beach. In addition to her studies, Monica is currently an intern for the research and development department at the Orange County Water District in Fountain Valley, California. She also tutors K-12 students as part of the MESA (Mathematics Engineering & Science Achievement) program at the College of Engineering at Cal State Long Beach, a program she benefited from in middle school and high school.