Eight University of Arkansas at Little Rock students have been awarded scholarships from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
UA Little Rock’s students are among the 43 students from colleges and universities across the state selected for this year’s awards. The eight students are collectively receiving $14,367, with some matching funds from UA Little Rock.
All of the scholarship recipients will be honored during a virtual gala at 6 p.m. Oct. 9. In addition to the gala, LULAC will hold a month-long celebration that coincides with Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept.15 to Oct. 15) and will include highlights of the recipients and sponsors on social media.
UA Little Rock’s scholarship recipients include Jenifer Carmona-Garcia, a Spanish and elementary education double major; Alexey Chacon-Perez, a nursing major; Oscar Gomez, a criminal justice major; Janette Munoz, a nursing and Spanish double major; nursing majors Karla Ramirez and Elizabeth Santillan; Kassandra Torres Sanchez, a political science and Spanish double major; and Luis Velazquez, a civil engineering major.
Three of the students will receive special scholarships.
Karla Ramirez will receive the Patricia Guardado Scholarship, awarded in remembrance of Patricia Guardado, a UA Little Rock sophomore who was studying international business at the time of her death. Her murder has never been solved, and LULAC has awarded a scholarship in her name every year to remember her and other students like her who want an education.
Oscar Gomez, a senior, will receive the Richard Family Fund Scholarship, an endowed scholarship awarded to deserving Latino students attending UA Little Rock, where Terry Richard is a professor emeritus. The scholarship recognizes academic excellence and requires 15 hours of community service with UA Little Rock LULAC Council 771 or with another community agency that works with the Latino community.
Gomez is actively involved in the community. He volunteers as a translator with Leigh Law Firm and volunteers with the Consulate of Mexico in Little Rock, playing traditional music for events celebrating the independence of Mexico.
“I am originally from El Tepe, a very small town in the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico. I grew up in Little Rock and fell in love with the beauty of the natural state,” Gomez said. “I feel like the LULAC scholarship was a blessing for me, because I lost my job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The award has lightened my financial burden and allowed me to focus on important things like studying and learning. I deeply appreciate this award, and I’m very grateful.”
Sophomore Jenifer Carmona-Garcia, a native of Gunajuanto, Mexico, who grew up in Little Rock, will receive a scholarship co-sponsored by LULAC and Just Communities of Arkansas. In addition to her internship at Just Communities of Arkansas, Carmona Garcia is also serving as an English tutor.
“I feel very excited and blessed to have obtained a scholarship from LULAC, because it will help in my journey of becoming a teacher,” Carmona Garcia said.
LULAC seeks to empower the Latino community at the local, state, and national level through its seven councils chartered in Arkansas. The organization involves and serves Latinos of all national origins and focuses heavily on education, civil rights, and employment. Over the past 27 years, LULAC Council 750 Little Rock has awarded more than $600,000 in college scholarships.
UA Little Rock was the first higher education institution in Arkansas to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with LULAC to create a partnership to recruit and retain Latino students on campus. Since 2006, UA Little Rock has provided a dollar-for-dollar match for students who receive scholarships from LULAC of Arkansas.
Sandra Carmona Jobe, TRIO program coordinator at UA Little Rock and member of LULAC’s scholarship committee, knows firsthand the value of a LULAC scholarship. She received LULAC scholarships for six years while finishing two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree.
“I am very thankful for all the support LULAC has provided me over the years,” Jobe said. “As a professional, I am an active member leading the scholarship committee. I am honored to be a part of this organization and excited to have our virtual gala this year to honor all of these deserving students.”
In the upper right photo, Oscar Gomez, left, and Jenifer Carmona-Garcia, right, are two of the eight UA Little Rock students who are being honored with scholarships from LULAC.