The Achievement Award Program (TAAP) supports low-income, first-generation college students in their pursuit of a Berkeley education. The Cal Alumni Association (CAA) congratulates all 29 of our incoming 2020–2021 Alumni Scholars.
CAA is also excited to welcome the 14 recipients of The Achievement Award Program - Diversity Scholarship (TAAP-DS). TAAP-DS is awarded to Cal students from underrepresented communities. Its recipients are high-achieving and community-minded. TAAP-DS helps these dedicated students thrive on campus by providing both financial assistance and supportive programming.
2020-2021 TAAP Scholars
Raised in Fresno, California, Chloe is a transfer student from Cuesta College majoring in philosophy. Her passion for public service is what motivates her to pursue law and contribute to the well-being of her community by furthering women’s rights and serving those affected by domestic violence.
An undocumented student who immigrated to the US from El Salvador at the age of six, Bryan is a transfer student who values and practices mentorship. Once a kid who helped his seamstress mother pack clothing, Bryan now helps other first-generation, undocumented, Latinx students navigate higher education.
Thao Ly Cao is the first-born child of a first-generation Vietnamese immigrant family. Currently, she is supporting her family in their pursuit of the American Dream while exploring her identity as an Asian American woman.
Jaky Cruz is a transfer student from Santa Monica College intending to major in political science and minor in Chicano studies. She is interested in pursuing a career in entertainment or criminal law, and is excited to continue her education as a first-generation Mexican American student.
Emma is a proud Latina and UC Berkeley student who hopes to pursue her educational aspirations while contributing to her community. Emma has dedicated herself to tutoring students and volunteering at a hospital to create positive change.
Salvador is a very determined deaf and hard of hearing student who wants to pursue mechanical engineering and make an impact on his peers. Born and raised in San Diego, Salvador looks forward to his time as a Golden Bear.
Norma is a first-generation college student from Los Angeles, California who is always looking for opportunities to give back to her community. A political science major, she hopes to utilize her background to empower the Latinx community on campus through joining clubs and organizations that align with her interests.
Aaraam Granera, also known as AJ, is an 18-year-old first-generation Nicaraguan-American from Fresno, California. He is eager to study cognitive science and pre-med at UC Berkeley, with aspirations of becoming a bereavement psychiatrist. He is excited to partake in research at both UC Berkeley and the University of San Francisco.
Jade Heredia-Salas is a proud Chicana, first-generation student excited to begin her journey at UC Berkeley. She is in the College of Letters and Science as an intended political science major and Chicano/Latino studies minor and hopes to attend law school after UC Berkeley.
Yvette Hernandez is a passionate first-generation Latina student from El Monte, California. She hopes to become a doctor and advocate for affordable health care. She seeks to diversify the medical field by creating a program that encourages Latinos to pursue medicine.
Omaka is committed to making a difference. As an Oakland, California native, his passion for social justice stems from his upbringing and the need for change in his community. He draws upon his unique experiences with adversity to inspire others to overcome their own challenges.
Nicole is a first-generation transfer student from Chula Vista. Since Chula Vista is such a diverse city in both population and climate, Nicole grew up with a strong connection to the environment. Nicole is majoring in conservation and resource studies and is excited for her future at Cal.
Nancy is a first-generation student raised in Parlier, California, a small town in the Central Valley. Nancy plans to major in applied mathematics at Cal and hopes to use her experience and knowledge to inspire other students, especially young Latina students, to pursue careers in the STEM field.
Luis is a first-generation college student and a DACA recipient from Mexico. San Jose, California is his home and where he lived for 12 years. He will pursue a double major in sociology and public health to examine and combat health disparities in communities of color and immigrant communities.
Miguel is a 17-year-old Mexican American and first-generation college student from Riverside, California who attended Rubidoux High School, where he graduated with the highest honors. He was very involved in high school—being part of the National Honors Society, AVID, Student Council, and Mathletes.
Danny, raised in the East Bay and part of many underrepresented populations, has overcome great adversity. A survivor of gun violence, Danny has become a flourishing student with a bright future ahead, aspiring to uplift the younger population of his community.
Daniel grew up surrounded by poverty, homelessness, drug abuse, and environmental racism. Nonetheless, Daniel has never been discouraged by his surroundings; instead, he is driven to pursue higher education at UC Berkeley and be an individual that creates positive change in his community.
Dalia Rangel immigrated from Mexico to Thermal, California with her family when she was two years old. Despite the hardships she and her family have faced in America, Dalia is a giddy ambivert who is determined to fight against institutions that exploit immigrant labor as a future lawyer.
As a first-generation Mexican American student coming from a rural area and pursuing STEM degrees at UC Berkeley, Samantha plans to achieve the goals that she set out for herself by applying her leadership, internship, and research experience.
Julio is a first-generation college student who immigrated to the United States with hopes of a better future for his family. He is pursuing an architecture degree to be able to provide innovative, sustainable solutions to many communities. Julio looks forward to having great experiences as a Cal Bear.
Emely is a first-generation Chicana, born and raised in San Jose. She has helped her parents navigate the complexities of what it means to be an immigrant and an English-learner in the United States. Her goal is to uplift her community by supporting and empowering other students like her.
Jazmin is a first-generation college student who aims to become a physician. She has witnessed the language and cultural barriers that patients face in the medical system, so she hopes to use her voice to advocate for patients in and beyond the exam room.
Parneet Sahota is an incoming freshman from Delano, California. Through her involvement in business organizations, student government, and non-profits, she has become a community-minded and ambitious leader who leads with passion. She is pursuing a degree in business administration and political science to bring change to her community.
Anel is a diligent Mexican American, first-generation college student born and raised in San Diego, California. Wanting to help relieve her mother’s lifelong struggles and secure her own future, Anel decided to push herself into pursuing a higher education.
Daniela Hernandez is an 18-year-old from Oakland, California. She will be double majoring in biology and business. She does not believe in giving up and always finds ways to be successful despite hardships.
Katherine Squire is a transfer student from San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton. She is a first-generation, hispanic student pursuing her bachelor’s in political science and with the intention of attending grad school for public policy. She is excited to integrate herself into Cal’s community of diverse-minded students.
Hildeberto came to this country at a young age. Despite being a bright student, he was forced to drop out of high school. His courage and determination allowed him to go back to school and accomplish his dream of attending UC Berkeley and building a better future for himself and his family.
Vanessa is a first-generation transfer student double majoring in legal studies and political economy. She graduated from Modesto Junior College with an associate degree in business administration. As a daughter of two Mexican immigrants, Vanessa is passionate about improving living conditions for low-income, farmworker families in the Central Valley.
2020-2021 Achievement Award Program - Diversity Scholars:
The Hispanic and Japanese son of working-class immigrants from Mexico and Brazil, Pablo was born in Torrance, California. He discovered his passion for public service and government in high school after facing financial uncertainty for much of his life, and cares deeply about helping underserved communities and fighting inequality and injustice.
Saron is from Ethiopia, where some of the most prominent ancient human fossils were discovered. Her interest in evolution comes from her deep connection to Ethiopia. She plans on majoring in integrative biology and anthropology to pursue a career in evolutionary research.
Deborah is a student who is passionate about helping others, especially the youth. She has made it her mission to empower and educate them in order to help prepare them for the future.
Kendall Archie is an incoming junior transfer majoring in conservation and resource studies, focusing on water conservation. A Marine Corps veteran and single father, Kendall looks forward to UC Berkeley’s networking and research opportunities. Originally from Seattle, Washington, Kendall has spent most of his adult life in the Bay Area.
Vanessa is a Bay Area native and community college transfer student. She is an anthropology major and has two minors in French language and literature and human rights interdisciplinary studies. She is planning to apply to law school in her senior year and specialize in international law and human rights.
Sophia is a first-generation transfer student from Mission College, where she was a treasurer for the student government and a student assistant for the MESA program. At Cal, she plans on being involved in research, clubs, and jobs relating to computer science and increasing women’s representation in the technology industry.
Taylor Cross is a twenty-six-year old freelance writer and aspiring software engineer who wants to advocate for underserved communities of color. Taylor wants to use her voice to advocate for herself and her Blackness.
Eric Esparza is a first-generation Mexican-American college student. He has faced many obstacles, but has perceived through them with the help of his professors, friends, and family.
Diligent, creative, and generous are a few words that can be used to describe Emoni Francis. At Cal, she aspires to have a major in the sciences and endeavors to intellectually build upon communities already established on the Cal campus.
Victor is a 23-year-old first-generation, non-traditional Latino from a small town in Riverside, San Jacinto. Victor is incredibly passionate about his community and hopes to empower other students.
Accomplished researcher for UCLA, Dartmouth, CSUN, and Harvard.
Ayline is a 21-year-old first-generation college student who lives in Chula Vista, California. She is compassionate, persistent, and confident. After obtaining her B.A. in political science from Cal, Ayline will continue on to law school, as she hopes to work for the DA as an economic crime attorney.
Michael Sanchez is a first-generation, re-entry student who began his career in animation. His goal had always been to advocate for greater social and economic equality. Eventually, he turned his attention to computer science and has been dedicated to the idea of using powerful technology to help uplift marginalized communities.
Lydia Vasquez-Trucios is a junior transfer from Hayward, CA pursuing a double major in comparative literature and ethnic studies. Her dream is to become a teacher. She is a hard working, powerful Latina who goes above what is expected of her to help others succeed.
Image: TAAP New Scholars Orientation | Johanna Romero