The PiE Alumni Scholarship returns once again this year for its sixth year in recognizing the many high-achieving high school seniors graduating from our program! Our finalists this year were again a strong pool of candidates chosen for not only their achievements throughout high school, but also their goals and dreams for the future, which reflect PiE’s mission of giving back to the community and furthering the reach of STEM and education. Here are our 2019 PiE Alumni Scholarship Finalists:
Cristian Garcia Cortez
Cristian is the winner of our 2019 PiE Alumni Scholarship and stood out for his quiet determination related to both STEM and helping out those around him. As a student in a school without many STEM resources for students, Cristian challenged himself to step outside of his more introverted ways to help found clubs and be a resource to other students around him. He showed tremendous growth as he became an instructor for fellow students in an extracurricular coding class and played leadership roles in clubs for both STEM and journalism, another major passion of his. His dedication towards learning will serve him well in striving towards his goals, among which include giving back to schools in his community with computer science education opportunities. Cristian will be attending UC Santa Cruz to study computer science.
Francisco’s intense dedication for STEM education is immediately obvious when speaking with him. Upon realizing that his school lacked extracurricular STEM opportunities for students, he took it in his own hands to found clubs and start initiatives to give students both access to technology and places to further learn and explore the STEM field. Both in and out of class, Francisco demonstrated his diligence as a student and leader, volunteering to help his teachers and working with the constant changes in school administration to see his initiatives through. Francisco will be attending studying computer science at Cal State East Bay.
Helen Zhao Chen
Helen’s efforts in balancing her many varied extracurricular activities and leadership roles truly impressed us. Not only was she captain of her robotics team in 11th grade, but she also served as president of her school’s Key Club and captained the badminton team. As a leader, she took the unique approach in stepping back and shifting the focus to those she led. She also demonstrated growth throughout her experiences as she built upon her communication skills and learned to rely on others to truly work as a cohesive team. She expressed a genuine interest in pediatric medicine and will attend UC Berkeley to study molecular and cell biology.
The achievements and accomplishments Ricardo had throughout his high school years clearly demonstrates his passion for and talent in programming. Not only was he the first student in East Oakland to pass the AP Computer Science A exam, but he also attended the Make School program, where he built an iOS app which he hopes will help solve troubles faced by his community. He consistently used his extra time in his APCS class to teach others and helped to found the school’s robotics team. He will be heading to Wesleyan University, where he plans to study computer science and biomedical engineering.
Focused and driven, Sahid is keenly aware of the troubles which are faced by his community. He speaks knowledgeably about the need for affordable housing, which reflects the depth of his research and his own experiences. This, combined with his own interest in DIY projects, helped to spur his passion for construction. As a well-rounded individual, he also helped to found his school’s gardening club and leads the team which produces his school’s weekly announcements video. Sahib is very observant in the changes he wants to see around him, leading to his plan to study construction engineering and management at Cal Poly Pomona.