On November 19, 2022, over 20 Skyline College student Puente students attended the Puente Motivational Conference at the University of California Merced! Students and faculty woke up bright and early to be at the bus by 5 a.m. and drive to UCM to attend a conference with hundreds of Puentistas from all over Northern California, all excited to discover UC Merced.

The conference was from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and was filled with a variety of different workshops from UC’s and CSU’s including UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, and San Francisco State. The keynote speaker was Julissa Arce, who spoke about the challenges of staying true to her culture in an environment that rewards assimilation. This was a great opportunity for students to learn and explore a beautiful college campus as well as hear about the wide variety of opportunities students have after graduating and transferring from Skyline College.

Following the workshops, students were able to tour the UC Merced campus. Students had the opportunity to explore the campus and learn about the vast variety of programs available to them.

After a long day at UC Merced, students returned to campus at 7p.m., tired but with bigger dreams to transfer to a 4-year university.

It was really inspiring to see all the Puentistas from Northern California come united and share our unique and overlapping stories. Chicano/Latinx folk are often left out of prestigious academic institutions which is why programs like Puente are so important. They help you with resources and honestly feels like a family. ~Stephanie Borja

Our trip to UC Merced was real eye opening and fun. I enjoyed meeting new people and having a personal view of a UC campus. It was my first time ever experiencing the atmosphere of a large helping community. It made me realize that there’s so much out there and it made me want to be more involved in Puente. I’m real thankful for the opportunity and I’m definitely recommending Puente to family and friends. ~Christofer Benitez

I really liked how they explained the college and how the resources there can help me achieve my major goals. ~Ian Pulumbait 

Our Puente students planned a trip to this incredible university, UC Merced. It was not on my dream school list but now it is part of it because of the amazing people I met. We had a tour of how their system works and enjoyed some workshops where we found new connections and extended our network. My favorite workshop was the mental health workshop where we shared our thoughts on mental health and released a lot of stress. I appreciate professor Lachmayr for giving us the opportunity to find our element by trying different things. ~Liz Posso

It was fun. ~Geovanna Souza

I had a wonderful experience at the Puente conference at UC Merced. Being able to meet other Puente students and hearing about their experiences was a nice thing to take a part of. It’s always fun to meet new people and learn from them. ~Adan Arambula

Article by Lucia Lachmayr

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