2013 Scholarship Recipient
In the spring of 2013, my senior year of high school, I was carefully considering the college options I had before me. As I weighed various factors--academic rigor, campus culture, distance from home--I knew that the financial factor was an extremely important one. When I was selected to become an LAFD Merit Scholar, I was excited and grateful because I knew that the LAFD scholarship would provide a source of needed financial support as I prepared to start my first year at Columbia University. Not only did the scholarship help provide for my college education, it also allowed me to purchase the most important school supply I needed--a laptop.
At Columbia, I majored in English and concentrated in Hispanic Studies. Aside from the books I read for my classes, I completed the majority of my readings and coursework on my laptop. The support I received from the LAFDSF also enabled me to take advantage of the numerous extracurricular opportunities that surrounded me. During my time in college, I served as a New Student Orientation Program Leader and as the Co-President of Columbia Catholic Ministry, and I joined the team of a non-profit that was committed to helping high school students get to college by providing free tutoring. After graduation, I knew that I wanted to further my own education, but that I also desired to continue serving students in under-resourced communities.
After I graduated from college in 2017, I joined ACE Teaching Fellows at the University of Notre Dame. During my two years as an ACE Teaching Fellow, I taught high school Spanish and English in Denver, Colorado, while also completing coursework to earn a Master of Education degree. As both a master’s student and a teacher, I spent many hours writing papers and planning lessons on the same laptop that had powered me through college. In the summer of 2019, I graduated from Notre Dame, where I now work as an Associate Program Director for ACE Teaching Fellows. Because of the initial support that the LAFD and Jean Perkins Foundation provided me, I have been able to receive a high-quality education and I am able to work to ensure that students across the country receive the same opportunity that I was given.
2007 Scholarship Recipient
My husband and I travel when we can, including trips to Europe, China, Japan, Central America, and we are heading to New Zealand in 2020. This part of our lives has been focused on many years of education, and we are both looking forward to settling down someplace in the near future and starting a family.
After 41 years on the LAFD, my father, Ray Gomez, retired this year. I feel privileged and grateful to have belonged to, and received assistance from the Los Angeles Fire Department family.
2014 Scholarship Recipient
While at Columbia University I studied Computer Science and fostered lifelong friendships. During my first few years at college, I joined the National Society of Black Engineers and went on to become both the Telecommunications Chair & Senator. A few months later, I joined the Undergraduate Recruitment Committee, where I gave tours to prospective students once a week and was picked by the Admissions Committee to be the official face of the virtual tour guide on Columbia’s main website. My last two years, I joined a Consulting Group that worked with non-profits in Manhattan called 180 Degree Consulting and auditioned to be in a play for the Black Theatre Ensemble, where I got the lead role! Immersing myself in theater was one of the most worthwhile experiences of my college career.
After interning in a wide range of roles from Network Security Analyst to Cyber Security Advisory, I accepted a Software Engineering Role at Workday in 2018. After a year and a half, I was promoted to Software Engineer II. The LAFD Merit Scholarship gave me the chance to pursue the most intellectually stimulating and exhilarating four years at Columbia. I will forever be grateful to LAFD and the Perkins Foundations.