Twenty Puente and Promise scholars participated in a four-day Southern California college tour from April 18th- April 21st! The students visited four UC and CSU campuses, including University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), California State University of Long Beach (CSULB), and San Diego State University (SDSU). Students got a glimpse of college life through campus tours and informal student panels facilitated by several Latinx organizations, including Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Inc., the Latinx Student Union, and the Latinx Resource Center. The tour also included an in-depth admissions presentation on transfer requirements at UCSB and a transfer event at UCLA.

UCLA hosted its 25th Annual STOMP Conference on Friday, April 19th. The event was in-person with over 1,000+ community college students, including Puente cohorts from Cañada College and College of San Mateo. STOMP, short for Student Transfer Outreach and Mentor Program, invited keynote speaker Valerie Gomez, founder of Latina Grad Guide, to share her journey as the daughter of Salvadorian immigrants, a first-generation college graduate, and a rising third-year PhD student at the University of California, San Diego. Valerie has several years of experience working in higher education, supporting the holistic development and academic success of transfer and undocumented students. After sharing her story, she walked students through a guided meditation on envisioning their future.

The trip concluded with a visit to the 54th annual Chicano Park Day Festival in San Diego on Saturday, April 20th. Every year, the community of Logan Heights, the greater community of San Diego, and communities throughout the Southwest and across the U.S. gather to commemorate the takeover of Chicano Park on the Saturday closest to April 22nd. This year’s theme was ‘Bringing Back the True Spirit and Energy of the Chicano Park Takeover.’ Puentistas got to experience traditional music and dance, including one of the largest performances of Aztec Indigenous dance (thanks to Calpulli Mexihca for coordinating), a lowrider exhibition, performers, and local street arts and crafts vendors.

Many thanks to the Promise Scholars Program team for collaborating on this special student experience for our Puente/Promise community. The students are thankful to Skyline College and the Puente Program for making this tour and cultural experience a possibility.

Article submitted by Andrea Hernandez

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