Scholar of the Week

Baleria Mendez      
University of California San Diego

Baleria Mendez is in her freshman year at the University of California, San Diego where she is pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. Baleria graduated from James A. Garfield High School in Los Angeles with a 4.1 grade point average, ranked 20 in a graduating class of 598.

Baleria is the third member of her family who graduated with a high school diploma. Not content with just getting by, Baleria took the initiative to enroll in advanced placement classes and maintain very high grades. She told herself that she would not be happy just to graduate and attend a community college like her older brothers. Baleria’ older brothers never left home when they went to college. Because of that, her parents did not understand why she would want to move out in order to continue her education. Baleria persevered and is now the first in her family to move out of the family home and attend a four year university.

At Garfield High School, Baleria was the captain of the varsity volleyball team and led her team to a third place finish in league. Her leadership skills on the court were just as impressive as her behavior in the classroom. Baleria is the type of person who leads not by words, but by her actions. She demonstrated great time management skills by maintaining a high grade point average while competing on a varsity athletic team. She talks about wanting to come back to her high school and become a role model for other Latina students. Baleria is so humble that she does not realize that she is already a role model.

Aside from her athletic and academic achievements in high school, Baleria was involved in many clubs including the Yearbook, Gear-Up, TELACU Talent Search and the Film Club. She was also involved in the ICARE Mentoring Program and was a teacher’s assistant at Eastman Elementary School in Los Angeles.

Baleria hopes to use her electrical engineering degree to assist her community become as eco friendly as possible.

Baleria is a 2012 HENAAC-NAVSEA/SPAWAR scholarship recipient.

View More Scholars of the Week