California State University, Dominguez HillsEdison International Scholar
The child of Mexican immigrants, Berenice Rojas moved to the United States when she was 12 years old. She didn't speak English, and her school didn't provide resources for English language learners. Berenice taught herself to speak English by watching television and reading children's books, demonstrating strong determination and self-reliance.
In high school, Berenice started an after-school tutoring program to help other English language learners who were going through the same struggles she'd experienced. She has also devoted herself to helping immigrants navigate the path to obtaining U.S. citizenship—even attending interviews and serving as an interpreter for prospective citizens.
Berenice is a third-year student at CSU Dominguez Hills, where she is pursuing a bachelor's degree in chemistry.
She plans to combine the knowledge she gained from her associate degree in agriculture with her chemistry degree to study climate change and conduct innovative research that can help mitigate its effects in places like her adopted hometown of Yuma, Arizona.