The First Gen Scholarship
recognizes first gen students who actively contribute to the first gen community at UCSF. Each awardee will receive $3,000 to support their educational goals.

First Gen Scholarship

November 8, 2021 – Congratulations to the 20 recipients of the inaugural First Gen Scholarship!

Here they are with a few words of their own about being first gen, their aspirations, and their ambitions. 


Firo ColeFiro Cole
School of Medicine

"I aspire for a leadership career in academic medicine where I can not only mentor minority and first-generation college students, but also design programs to recruit, and retain them in Academia."

Mario GadMario Gad
School of Dentistry

"I founded a new campus organization here at UCSF that works with first generation immigrant students to improve their quality of dental care and support them on their academic and future professional journeys."

Vinh Hoang
School of Dentistry

"I plan to open my private practice in the future not only to provide care to people who cannot afford regular care but also to provide students an opportunity to learn more about college and expand their horizons."

Christopher HuebnerChristopher Huebner
School of Medicine

"I have been working on a book which aims to provide medical students with strategies and skills to foster well-being in order to address the crisis of mental health problems in medical students and trainees."

Sami JelousiSami Jelousi
School of Medicine

"I have a vision of creating a pipeline program between medicals schools and community colleges with the hope of decreasing the stigma associated with attending community colleges and helping disadvantaged students pursue medical school admissions."

Jennifer LaJennifer La
School of Pharmacy

"One of my goals within pharmacy is to educate future generations of leaders, inspiring people from disadvantaged backgrounds like myself to pursue their own passions."

Kyle LakatosKyle Lakatos
School of Medicine

"One effort I have been investing more energy into is recruitment and engagement of Native American and Indigenous Youth into healthcare professions. I hope to continue exploring this avenue and someday work with a program actively doing this work."

Johsias MaruJohsias Maru
School of Medicine

"Through my own lived experiences, it has become evident that financial investment within this community is paramount. It can be the bridge between a high potential student and social mobility. I have benefited from the bridges built by others before me, and I hope to build bridges for others."

Rosa MoraVanessa Mora
School of Medicine

"As an SJV PRIME student and future physician, I hope to become a local leader who advocates for a healthier and brighter future for the Valley."

Wilson NgWilson Ng
School of Dentistry
 

"I launched a blog aiming to virtually assist and share gems of wisdom I picked up along the way with aspiring pre-dental students. With over 22,000 views, my blog has also given me the pleasure to personally mentor over 40 pre-dental and college students."

Derek PonceDerek Ponce
School of Medicine

"A first-gen’s best superpower is the ability to channel sweat and tears from navigating uncharted territory on their own into distributable knowledge that can help smoothen and streamline a fellow first-gen’s introduction to higher education and beyond."

Ernesto RojasErnesto Rojas
School of Medicine

"A recent event I went to was speaking to 3rd graders. My favorite moment was telling them 'Anyone can be a doctor,' and in their thank-you letters to me, one of them mentioned that this phrase stuck with them."

Mariella Rosa CasillasMariela Rosa Casillas
Graduate Division
 

"The unique circumstances I have experienced as an Afro Latina, daughter of immigrants and first generation student has formed me into the strong scientist that I am. As I continue reaching my goals, I plan to contribute to the first generation to college community by inspiring and mentoring other first generation students that just like me, felt that going to college and achieving higher education was just not an option."

Brandon SaavedraBrandon Saavedra
School of Dentistry

"As a high school student, I was completely unaware of all the amazing career opportunities that are within the STEM and healthcare fields and I feel that by raising awareness and interest of these careers to students that would otherwise not receive this type of mentorship can bring in valuable resources in their academic journeys."

Anuvir SinghAnuvir Singh
School of Medicine

"I intend to increase awareness about healthcare services and simplify navigation for first generation to college students who may be primary caretakers for their loved ones."

Alonso TorresAlonso Torres
Graduate Division

"My military experiences taught me to appreciate other cultures and customs and, most prominently, revealed discrepancies in health and socioeconomics that drive my ideas in science innovation."

Alexis VelazquezAlexis Velazquez
School of Medicine

"Committed to increasing provider diversity and supporting students passionate about addressing medical inequalities, I became a founding member of MiMentor.org in college. MiMentor.org is a student-run, non-profit organization that concentrates on mentoring students underrepresented in health careers."

Joanne WongJoanne Wong
School of Pharmacy

"Education has become a centerpiece to the life I am building. It is not only a way for me to grasp a better understanding of the world, but it is also a powerful tool to uplift those around me: my family, my community, and the underserved."

Ali ZahirAli Zahir
School of Medicine

"The signposts in my journey were the mentors, sponsors, and advocates who guided me on this journey. Thus, being a first-generation student meant I needed to pave the road for those behind me to ensure that other first-generation students had a light to follow. And, thus being a first generation student not only influenced my journey but taught me I could influence the journey of others."


* One additional student was awarded the scholarship, but asked that their name and other information be withheld.