Spotlight on a Washington State Opportunity Scholar
When your first name is America, you have a lot to live up to in representing the land of opportunity, and America Sevilla is doing just that. She started school unable to speak English, and graduated from Chiawana High School with a 3.8 GPA and thousands of dollars in scholarship awards. “My parents named me America because they knew I was going to receive the opportunity that they didn’t get,” she said.
That opportunity has resulted in admittance to Washington State University in Pullman. It’s a far cry from the limited education her parents received, “Both of my parents ended up dropping out of school when they were in sixth grade,” Sevilla said.
Now a college freshman, Sevilla spent summers in cherry orchards, beginning at age seven. She worked part-time to pay for her college education while juggling high school courses. Sevilla will receive up to $22,500 from the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship to pursue a high-demand STEM career. The Foundation’s engagement of high school counselors across the Mid-Columbia has helped to support the more than $6 million in STEM scholarship money awarded to local students in recent years.
“There are a lot of people who are Hispanic who don’t pursue higher education, and I want to show them that we all can,” she said.
Internships Develop Top Talent
Hosting an intern can provide not just a win-win, but a win-win-win for all involved. Work-based learning offers students real-world job experience, while educators see their students succeed in opportunities that translate classroom theory into practice. The third win comes when employers benefit by turning enthusiastic interns into permanent employees.
Work-based learning allows students to develop critical problem-solving skills, increase their teamwork and leadership abilities and “try-on” a potential lifelong career. Studies have found students’ final grades may increase as a result of internships, and the probability of seeking a higher degree is more likely.
Arthur Baranovskiy’s high school internship at Meier Architecture – Engineering taught him valuable skills while helping him to decide to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. His current internship at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory enhances his studies at WSU-Tri-Cities and has confirmed his plans to stay in the Tri-Cities post-graduation as an engineer, while working on his Master’s degree at WSU. Arthur’s experiences are shining examples of how local employers are investing wisely in our homegrown future workforce.
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