vanessa chosa

If you had to choose one word to describe Vanessa Chosa, it would likely be “potential.” It’s what her teachers at Peninsula High School saw in her four years ago. It’s what she discovered in her own heart, and what motivated her to strive for something more. It’s difficult to imagine this confident, vibrant and studious young woman as a fifteen-year-old with a brand new baby and few choices. But that’s where her journey began. Her mother emigrated from Guadalajara in the early ‘90’s, working two and three jobs at a time to make ends meet. Vanessa recalls taking care of her baby brother when she was little more than a baby herself. She fell in with a rough crowd at an early age and left high school. Later resuming at a new school, Vanessa’s ability and drive were recognized by some of her teachers, who pushed her to excel. Determined to provide a better future for her young daughter, Dulce Azul, Vanessa successfully juggled school, work and caring for Dulce. She worked hard in her final years of high school, earned a scholarship to Skyline College, and became involved in the Latin American Student Organization and Puente while also working in the Counseling and EOPS offices on campus. Her strength and achievements did not go unnoticed.

Vanessa was this year’s recipient of the prestigious $20,000 Pister Scholarship to UC Santa Cruz, where she will begin the Latino-American Studies program this fall. Always looking to the future, she plans to earn a master’s degree, then continue on to law school. Always foremost in her mind is making a good life for her daughter and herself with no limits to the opportunities Dulce will have if she strives and works hard like her mom. Truth be told, many words describe Vanessa Chosa: brave, bright and determined are just a few. Skyline College is extremely proud of Vanessa and how her story inspires other young women to achieve.

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