California State University, SacramentoCSU Foundation President Emeritus Garrett P. Ashley Scholar
Carla Cruz Medina is a first-generation college student who struggled during her time at UCLA. Having migrated from Mexico as a child, Carla felt alienated in a predominantly white institution because her major, biology, had few minority students and even fewer faculty of color.
As an undergraduate, she found community by double majoring in Spanish, tutoring underserved middle school students in math and helping UCLA service employees learn to read and write English.
Carla serves students of color through Pacers United, an organization she cofounded, which aids high school seniors applying for college, financial aid and scholarships. She is also a research assistant at Bushy Lake, helping to restore the area's habitat.
Carla is currently a biology graduate student at Sacramento State and is considering pursuing her Ph.D. Her goal is to utilize her degree in pursuit of environmental justice and increase underserved communities' access to careers in STEM.