Meet the 2017 TAAP Scholars

Fartun Nur Adan ’21
San Diego, CA
Political Science

Fartun Adan was born and raised in San Diego, California. She is a proud alumni of Hoover High School and an incoming freshmen majoring in Political Science with minor in African American studies. She is excited to embark on her new journey here at Berkeley.

Sarah Adebabay ’21
Inglewood, CA
Applied Mathematics

Sarah Adebabay is unlike many students her age. Despite the struggles she faces as a first-generation, low-income Ethiopian-American, Sarah continues to crush barriers through her schoolwork and community involvement. In August, Sarah will be a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley majoring in Applied Mathematics.

Zohrah Ahmadi ’21
Sacramento, CA
Molecular and Cell Biology

“Salam (Peace)!” Zohrah Ahmadi is from Afghanistan, born in Iran and raised in Malaysia. She is an intended Molecular Cell Biology major on the pre-med track and is very honored to be a TAAP recipient and to be here at Cal. GO BEARS!

Jacob Matthew Avelino ’21
Mountain View, CA
Computer Science

Jacob Avelino grew up in the Bay Area. He spent his time running track, volunteering at schools, and working at restaurants. He is an intended Computer Science major who is interested in data science, machine learning, and technological applications that can level the academic playing field.

Jose Carranza ’21
Norfolk, NE
Music and Theatre Performance Studies

Jose Carranza was born in Tulare, California as the youngest of eight children. He was raised by his mother, Elva Carranza. She was his inspiration to drive himself beyond limitations and labels. He hopes to open a non-profit community center for underprivileged and low-income families.

Erandi Chavez ’21
San Pedro, CA

Erandi loves playing violin, reading articles about space, and taking refreshing nighttime walks. She hopes to become an astrophysicist at NASA after she graduates from Cal, and aims to get her PhD in any field. She is really excited to do undergraduate research on campus!

Dane Edgar Cruz ’19
Los Angeles, CA
Business Administration

As a first generation, gay, Latino student who has experienced the oppression that comes with these intersectionalities, Dane Cruz is passionate about reforming our education system to establish equal opportunities for all students regardless of race, gender or sexuality.

Nuria Saralegui Garcia Rivera ’21
Watsonville, CA
Molecular and Cellular Biology

Nuria S. Garcia Rivera was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, but has been residing in Watsonville, CA since 2008. During her free time, she likes to read and hike. She is an older sister to her eight-year-old brother and nine-month-old sister. She is an incoming freshman at the College of Letters and Science. Nuria hopes to major in Molecular and Cellular Biology. In four years, she wants to attend medical school to obtain her MD degree.

Brandon Hsieh ’19
Cypress, CA
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Brandon Hsieh is a transfer student from Cypress College in Orange County, California. He’ll be studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He is very interested in learning about Artificial Intelligence. In his spare time, he enjoys practicing calisthenics.

Aaliyah Karunaratne ’21
Pittsburg, CA

Aaliyah Karunaratne is from Pittsburg, CA. Her passion is theater, where she hopes advocate for more diverse roles for women and equality in pay and treatment. She loves Shakespeare and classical theater.

Huy Le ’19
San Jose, CA

Huy Le is from San Jose, California, and is a transfer student from West Valley College, where she earned two associate degrees in Sociology and Communication Studies. Now, she is majoring in Sociology and minoring in Education at UC Berkeley. Her dream is to attend graduate school and earn her Master’s in Counseling to become an academic counselor.

Elizabeth Madrigal ’19
Salinas, CA
Political Science

Elizabeth Madrigal is a proud first-generation, Chicanx transfer student from the Salinas Valley. She is a political science major, and her ultimate goals include becoming an educator and an immigration lawyer to serve underrepresented and marginalized communities.

Hang Kim Mai ’21
Garden Grove, CA
Chemical Biology

Hang Mai is a first-generation college student. She is ecstatic to pursue a chemical biology degree at her dream school. It is truly the privilege of her life. Hang also hopes to enrich her life at Berkeley by continuing her hobbies of photography and eating a lot of food!

Harutyun Markosyan ’21
Van Nuys, CA
Society and Environment

Harutyun Markosyan is a multicultural individual who has struggled much with his Armenian-American identity growing up. Today he not only aims to help those who are experiencing the difficulties he faced when he was younger, but is also dedicated to teaching about the importance of sustainability and conservation.

Kate Annette Medina ’21
Los Angeles, CA

Kate Medina is undeclared in the College of Natural Resources. She comes from Koreatown, Los Angeles. She is interested in a variety of fields such as biology, art, ethnics studies, anthropology, and is very excited to be starting college in the fall at Cal.

Valeria Moran ’19
Political Science

Valeria Moran is a political science major with a passion for environmental and social justice. Her dream is to become a lawyer and represent her diverse, resilient community.

Ifechukwu Okeke ’19
Fontana, CA
Molecular Environmental Biology

Ifechukwu Okeke was born and raised in Lagos Nigeria, but moved to Fontana, CA. She hopes to study Molecular Environmental Biology, while focusing on neurobiology, and conducting undergraduate research.

Omotara Oloye ’21
San Leandro, CA
Computer Science/Mechanical Engineering

Omotara Oloye is a freshman from San Leandro with the hopes of majoring in Computer Science or Mechanical Engineering. Throughout her life, she faced racial, gender, and educational barriers, yet her passion for learning and growth has never died. She has continued to march on with a sense of endurance and grit.

Bryan Chris Pascual ’21
Los Angeles, CA
Molecular and Cellular Biology

Bryan Pascual is a descendent of Guatemalan and Mayan family. He was born and raised in the poverty-stricken area of South Central, Los Angeles. He firmly believes that adversity builds character and that if we want to be successful, we must prepare for success.

Maria Guadalupe Perez Flores ’21
Watsonville, CA
Society and Environment

Maria Perez faced many challenges when she migrated from Mexico to the United States such as not speaking English and being a victim of harassment. She was able to overcome these difficulties and became a young leader that worked to bring racial, environmental, and food justice to her community.

Anabel Reyes Alonzo ’21
Escondido, CA
Chemical Engineering

Anabel Reyes Alonzo comes from the San Diego area. Her intended major is Chemical Engineering. She looks forward to the late nights of studying, adventures, and learning opportunities that are coming her way in the next four years.

Vanessa Reyes ’21
South Gate, CA
Political Science

Vanessa Reyes went to South Gate High School and comes from a low-income family. She is a first-generation college student. She was involved with Teen Court and Peer College Counseling which have both deepened her passion for law and helping others.

Javier Rodriguez ’21
Inglewood, CA

Javier Rodriguez was born and raised in Inglewood, California and is a first-generation college student. He is a proud alumni of Morningside High School majoring in Psychology with an Education minor. He hopes to become a high school principal one day, to push students to pursue a higher education.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Cisneros ’21
South Gate, CA
Sustainable Environmental Design

Jose Luis Rodri­guez Cisneros is a proud Latino. He is the first in his family to graduate high school, attend a four-year university, and set an example for his people to strive for higher education. He dedicates all his academic success to his family.

Jingwei Zhang ’19
Jilin, China
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Jingwei Zhang moved to the United States at the age of 18 and is pursuing a major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. He plans to pursue a field in the electronics industry of nanoscale science and technology. In his spare time, Jingwei loves going sightseeing