Christian Sanchez, Southwestern College Puente Project student and English major, has won a competitive and prestigious $5,000 scholarship from the California Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation. Sanchez is one of only 50 students from across California and one of only a handful of community college students to win the scholarship.
Sanchez said he found the scholarship opportunity through the Puente Project, a momentous factor in his success at Southwestern College.
“Puente has helped me build myself and my confidence within myself,” Sanchez said. “Counselor David Ramirez and Professor Francisco Bustos were both instrumental in the changes I made for myself. The program and the people in it changed my life. I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities had I not been in Puente.”
Out of the more than 1,200 applicants, 50 students were chosen based on their academic performance, extracurricular activities, leadership positions and honors received.
“These 50 hardworking students have defied unimaginable odds and obstacles,” said Caucus Chairwoman, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego). “By supporting their efforts with these $5,000 scholarships, we are helping our next generation of leaders who we know will make positive change in our state.”
Sanchez had tried attending Southwestern College twice in the past, but his third time enrolling in the summer of 2018 was when he officially started his educational journey. The support he received from Puente Project is what made the third time a charm for the 32-year-old father of five.
In one year alone, Sanchez has made tremendous contributions to Southwestern College and has quickly become a leader for many campus organizations. In addition to being a part of Puente, Sanchez has served as a senator for the Associated Student Organization, the Inter-Club Council representative for four student clubs, he’s served on several critical college hiring committees, he sits on the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee and he’s a student worker in the admissions office.
Now, after the Puente Project and Southwestern College, he’s changed his educational goals. Transferring was never on his mind when he first started, now he wants to transfer to a four-year university and get a master’s degree. Sanchez has his eyes on top schools like U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Los Angeles and U.C. Davis thanks to the many campus tours Puente has taken him on.
“Touring other universities with the Puente Project helped bring the vision into focus,” he said. “Before, I had no idea what I was going to do. Puente and Southwestern College have done a lot for me. It’s part of the reason I want to keep going, so one day I can maybe come back and help the students, just like Southwestern College helped me.”