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Mikayla B. Aviles - January 2014 Scholar of the Month

Mikayla B. Aviles
2013 CHCI-Ford Blue Oval Scholar

Gladstone, MI
University of Southern California (USC)

Ever since I was young, I've wanted to go to college. It wasn't really a question for me. I knew that if it was possible, both financially and academically, that I would go. Neither of my parents have college degrees and growing up in a low-income household, I knew my life would be greatly improved if I continued my education after high school.

In elementary school I used to work hard on every homework assignment and every test, making sure I always brought A's home to mom and dad. I was naive and I thought that those grades actually mattered. When I reached middle school and realized that they didn't matter, I was a little upset, but even though those grades didn't factor into college admissions, I was still proud of the work ethic that I had developed. The work ethic I had from a young age is what propelled me and prepared me to do well in high school.

In high school I studied... a lot, but I also made time for extracurricular activities. I was a part of Key Club, Chess Club and, for a year and a half, the Drama Club. I was also granted many honors while attending high school. I was awarded membership in my school's National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. I was on the high honor roll for four consecutive years. I was also third in my graduating class and given the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award, which is an award for one person per year, chosen by the faculty members.

Despite being a good student, with a high grade point average and decent test scores, I knew that affording college would be an issue. My parents couldn't contribute anything to my college costs and as I reached senior year, I knew that community college was probably my future. That is, until I discovered a program called QuestBridge, a non-profit organization that links high achieving, low-income students to top tier universities. They provide two different programs, one for juniors and one for seniors in high school. For seniors, QuestBridge offers a very rare opportunity for students to apply for full-ride scholarships to eight of their 33 partner schools. I was reading through their list of partner schools and what did I find? My dream school, the University of Southern California. I applied, but wasn't given the scholarship. However, I was admitted to USC with decent financial aid and a Dean's Scholarship. If it wasn't for QuestBridge, I never would have applied to my dream school and I wouldn't be sitting in my sunny, Los Angeles dorm room, writing this right now.

My goal throughout high school was to simply get into an affordable college, and now that that's achieved, I'm trying to find another goal. Currently, as an undeclared major, my short term goal is to discover what I am truly passionate about and explore possible career paths. A long term goal is to graduate from USC with a high grade point average and a heightened sense of who I am and who I'm striving to be in the future.

Past Scholar of the Month

Daniela Carbajal - July 2015 Scholar of the Month
Beverly Apodaca - May 2015 Scholar of the Month
Edwin Hurtado - April 2015 Scholar of the Month
David Rodriguez - March 2015 Scholar of the Month
Jennifer Villalobos - February 2015 Scholar of the Month
Maria Garibay Campos - January 2015 Scholar of the Month
Samantha Perez - December 2014 Scholar of the Month
Andrea Gutierrez - November 2014 Scholar of the Month
Elias Jimenez - September 2014 Scholar of the Month
Monserrat Baeza - August 2014 Scholar of the Month
Mayra Estrada - July 2014 Scholar of the Month
Isaias Faustino - June 2014 Scholar of the Month
Wendy Cartagena-Gonzalez - May 2014 Scholar of the Month
Cesar Esteban Bernal - April 2014 Scholar of the Month
Celia Flores - March 2014 Scholar of the Month
Aldo Sosa - February 2014 Scholar of the Month
Mikayla B. Aviles - January 2014 Scholar of the Month
Christian Guerrero - December 2013 - Scholar of the Month
Esperanza Perez - November 2013 - Scholar of the Month
Adrian Rosas September 2013 Scholar of the Month
Vivienne T. Meljen - August 2013 Scholar of the Month
Sophia DeAraujo - July 2013 SOTM
Ricky Vides - Scholar of the Month - June 2013
Kelvin Castillo - Scholar of the Month - May 2013
Xochitl Davila - Scholar of the Month - April 2013
Brian Ibarra - March 2013 Scholar of the Month
Jacqueline B. Odum - February 2013 Scholar of the Month
Alexis Nava Teodoro - January 2013
Cristina Gil - December 2012
Roy Nuñez -- November 2012 Scholar
Karla Arevalo-Alas -- October 2012 Scholar
Luis C. Alvarez Scholar -- September 2012
Carolina Gonzalez Scholar -- July 2012
Daniel Caraballo Scholar -- June 2012
Rose Aviles Scholar -- May 2012
Felix A. Navarro, Jr.-April 2012 Scholar
Andie Lee Gonzalez-March 2012 Scholar
Kevin Magaña-February 2012 Scholar
Rebecca Rodriguez-January 2012 Scholar
Erika S. DiVivo-August Scholar
Wesley Quevedo - July Scholar
Arlett A. Aguayo - June Scholar
Ricardo L. Baez-May Scholar
Natalie Chiriboga - April Scholar
Eddie L. Castanon - March 2011
Monica Avila -- February 2011
Daniel R. Lopez -- December 2010
Maria Murillo -- November 2010
Gilberto Chaidez, Jr. -- August 2010
Stephanie A. Alvarez -- July 2010
Christian Amador -- June 2010
Isabeth Mendoza --May 2010