Gates Millennium Scholar Angelita Garcia, a liberal studies major and Fullerton resident, is among the inaugural class of college students selected nationally for this honor.
"Since I was 16 years old, I wanted to attend Cal State Fullerton and pursue a career in teaching," said Garcia. "Being a Gates Millennium Scholar recipient will enable me to obtain my teaching credential and fulfill my lifelong dream."
Garcia has been on her own since high school. While attending classes at Anaheim High, she worked at Baskin-Robbins and later United Parcel Service. Garcia credits the support and guidance she received from many teachers, as well as Dr. Janice Billings, Anaheim Union High School District superintendent, and Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Shirley McCracken, with helping her complete her high school studies and enroll in college.
But it was a teacher she never had who continues to be her heroine and role model-CSUF alumna Laurel K. Giroux (B.A. physical education '89), a health teacher at Anaheim High. It was Giroux who sat down with Garcia and read her the book "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" Garcia recalled that "meeting her was the most important thing in my high school career."
The full-time freshman plans to teach high school upon graduation. "I want to give back to high school students and show them that if I can do it, they can do it."
The Gates Millennium Scholars initiative, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was created in September 1999. It is aimed at increasing the number of low-income, high-achieving, African-Americans, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Hispanic Americans and Asian Pacific Americans enrolling in and completing undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
Individuals from these targeted groups are eligible to be nominated as Gates Millennium Scholars if they have: significant financial need, attained a cumulative GPA of 3.3, and demonstrated leadership ability through participation in community service and extracurricular activities.
The program is administered by the United Negro College Fund in partnership with the American Indian College Fund, Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the Organization of Chinese Americans, who represent the Asian Pacific American community.
The scholarship covers Garcia's education and housing costs.
Media Contacts: Angelita Garcia at (714) 742-0031 and Susan Katsaros at (714) 278-4854 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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