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Scholarship benefits students of Mexican descent

December 7, 2020

A new scholarship supported in part by the Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta will relieve some of the financial burden for seven University of North Georgia (UNG) students.

The $8,000 grant is funded through the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (IME) via the IME-BECAS Program; becas is the Spanish word for scholarships. UNG added another $8,000 in matching funds. Recipients, who must be of Mexican descent, will participate in a leadership program during the spring 2021 semester. Four of the UNG recipients are pursuing bachelor's degrees and three are seeking associate degrees.

"This shows the commitment of UNG to create programs to give Latinx students the opportunity to attain their education and remove some of the obstacles to getting a degree," said Leri Argueta, associate director for diversity recruitment in Undergraduate Admissions and principal investigator for the grant.

Getsemani Flores-Correa, a junior from Cumming, Georgia, pursuing a degree in kinesiology with a health and fitness concentration, considers the scholarship "validation that I'm doing something right." He is especially eager to take advantage of the required leadership component.

"I've been interested in being able to excel and be a part of my community. The whole idea of the program is to get Latinos involved in leadership," Flores-Correa said. "We'll learn about what it means to speak up and bring our roots into modern life."

Yajaira Martin, a sophomore from Gainesville, Georgia, said the scholarship will help her offset some of the costs in transitioning from an associate pathway to pursuing a bachelor's degree in political science with a pre-law concentration. The first-generation college student wants to become an immigration attorney.

Martin said her parents have supported her throughout her education journey, and she was excited to tell them about this award. She appreciates the scholarship even more because of the way others doubted her in middle and high school because of her ethnicity.

"I've been able to surpass those doubts and go to college and have all these opportunities," Martin said. "I want to take advantage of the opportunity and not let it go, and to be humble about it."

The scholarship recipients included Flores-Correa, Martin, Juan Rangel, Jennifer Mendoza, Johan Rodriguez-Soto, Jacqueline Ocón, and Diana Castellano Serrano.

Dr. Brett Morris, associate vice president for Enrollment Management, said the IME-BECAS Program is an important addition for the university.

"UNG is pleased to be able to partner with the Mexican Consulate to increase scholarship opportunities for students," Morris said. "Finding a way to pay for college is a challenge for all families, and it is partnerships like this that help make attending college a reality."

Flores-Correa said the scholarship has relieved some of the financial pressure on his family.

"It's a big burden taken off our backs," he said.

Flores-Correa expressed gratitude for Argueta's work in acquiring the grant for UNG students.

"You can tell he's very passionate about what he does," Flores-Correa said. "He wants to get us connected with the right people so we can be on the right path for our careers."

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