SUBMITTED NEWS — Incoming University of Nevada, Reno freshmen Robert Lopez and Perla Garcia were awarded and recognized as the inaugural winners of the Nu Alpha Kappa Fraternity RISE Above Scholarship at a ceremony on Friday.
This is the first year of the RISE (Remember, Inspire, Soar, Educate) Above Scholarship. The main criteria for the scholarship, outside of academic achievement and community involvement were personal struggles overcome in the individual’s life. The awards were for $500 each.
“Many of us in the fraternity come from immigrant parents, low-income households, single-parent households, have had to learn English as a second language, been raised with many stereotypes placed against us, or faced other obstacles as children,” said Juan Calderon, NAK at UNR President. “But what ties us together is that we’ve faced these challenges, have risen above them, and excelled to become great adults. It was only natural for us to give back to students in the community who are facing similar problems, and have aspirations to ascend higher.”
Robert Lopez graduated from Fortuna Union High School in Fortuna, California. He managed a 4.23 weighted grade point average through high school and will be a biochemistry and molecular biology major this fall at UNR. His ultimate goal is to become a traveling dentist and offer dental help to people where it is not accessible.
Perla Garcia graduated from North Valleys High School in Reno with a 4.1 weighted GPA and is planning to be a biology major this fall. She comes from a single-parent household and wants to become a pediatrician so she can change the way the health care system works.
“Since I only have my mom in my life, it’s been really difficult for her,” Garcia said. “I want to get as many scholarships as I can so I can help take some of the pressure off of her to pay for my school since she’s always taught me that education is the most important thing in life.”
On top of awarding the scholarships, the gentlemen of NAK will also counsel, tutor and mentor the two students throughout their time at UNR on an as-needed basis.