Scholar of the Week



Brenda Salazar      
East Los Angeles College




Brenda Salazar was born in the small town of Santiago Tianguistenco in Mexico. At the age of four, her parents decided to move the family to the United States in hopes of providing a better life for their children.

The move landed the family in Boyle Heights, a neighborhood east of Downtown Los Angeles in the state of California. Brenda quickly learned the hardships undocumented families faced when starting life in a new country. Despite facing adversity, Brenda focused on her studies and was encouraged by her teachers to take advantage of the advanced courses and programs at a magnet school in Long Beach, CA. As an AB 540 (Undocumented) student, Brenda knew that there would be unique challenges presented to her. She understood that her parents would be unable to pay for her college education and that by law, she would have trouble working herself because of her immigration status. Later that year, a law passed that allowed Brenda to obtain a work permit, which opened a multitude of possibilities.
 
This helped Brenda begin her path to success. She began attending East Los Angeles College in the summer of 2013, majoring in biomedical engineering. Brenda has excelled in her leadership, which has led to her obtaining a position on campus as an English and Math tutor for the Extended Opportunities Program and Services (EOPS). In addition to her extracurricular activities and employment, she remains focused on her educational goals of obtaining a degree in Biomedical Engineering and has maintained a 3.39 GPA.

Since 2014, Brenda has served as a College Captain for various Great Minds in STEM educational programs. She states, “seeing how much parents and students get out of these outreach events that promote science and engineering motivates me to continue pursuing a degree in engineering because I see how much I can be a positive influence to others.”
She is a FIRST Robotics Mentor for the Esteban Torres High School Robotics team in East Los Angeles and was able to support the students through technical, logistical, and moral support. 

Brenda was a recipient of the Great Minds in STEM Community College Scholarship in 2015.




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