Comité México Recognizes Inaugural Scholarship Recipients
On a fall evening that’s annually a chance for its guests to sample fine Mexican wine paired with a specially prepared multiple-course dinner at La Gran Terraza while also recognizing and pay respects to multiple cultural celebrations and traditions, the University of San Diego’s Comité México inaugurated something new this year that completes a memorable event.
On Oct. 26, the first-ever recipients of the Comité México Scholarship — Claudia Dominguez, a second-year graduate student in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences’ three-year master’s program for clinical mental health counseling, and Eduardo Cervantes, a senior double major in Ethnic Studies and Sociology — were introduced.
“This is a huge honor. I’m so thankful,” said Dominguez, who was joined at the event by her parents and her boyfriend. “This scholarship inspires me to keep going.”
Dominguez, who is from Temecula, is expected to graduate in 2018 and seeks to become a licensed professional clinical counselor, work in the field, especially young adults from Hispanic communities who suffer from severe mental illnesses. She plans to get a PhD, perhaps in depth psychology and, ultimately, to have her own private practice.
Cervantes, a Garden Grove, Calif., resident who will graduate in May 2017, has short- and long-range plans after graduation. “My short-term goal is to join a missionary group and promote service to marginalized communities in underdeveloped countries. My long-term goal is to operate a juvenile group home and sporting complex where kids can come and learn about nutrition, farming and sustainable living.”
Receiving the scholarship, Cervantes said, meant much more than an individual recognition.
“It’s an honor and privilege for me and everyone else who can benefit from this because the scholarship allows me to continue my studies at USD. This isn’t just for me, it’s an honor and privilege for my family, for the community and the people I will eventually help. My goals and aspirations aren’t only mine, they’re everyone else who helped fund this scholarship. I hope everyone keeps that in mind and pushes me forward because I have big plans in the future.”
Making the Most of Opportunities
Both students are active at USD and in the community. Dominguez tutors undergraduates in Spanish, psychology and writing and just began volunteering with the UC San Diego Medical Center’s psychiatric inpatient unit. Describing this year of her MA program as a “buckle-down year,” she appreciates the opportunities she’s had at USD, connections she’s gained and the support of “an amazing advisor, Dr. Ann Garland, ‘you’re the best!’”
Cervantes was a Writing Center tutor for two years, getting special satisfaction helping Spanish-speaking English as a Second Language (ESL) students. A dedication to grow spiritually led him to USD’s Intervarsity Christian Fellowship chapter, the Changemaker Hub and the Mulvaney Center for Community, Awareness and Social Action.
“USD embodies the Changemaker aspect. What it means to me is thinking about all of the principles USD offers — being Catholic, being humble, have good morals, and really wanting to help those who are disenfranchised,” he said. “That’s not just about growing while on campus, but going into the community, seeking those who need help, those who aspire to be something in this world but don’t have the means or don’t have that push or influence to make that push. That’s what gets me going. I feel USD has a lot of great outlets to connect me to those people.”
Dominguez and Cervantes’ newfound connection to Comité México opens new possibilities. Founded in 2009, Comité México is comprised of Mexican alumni, parents and friends and has two main objectives: to foster a bond and a relationship between USD and its Mexican constituents through outreach efforts throughout Mexico, greater San Diego and the Southern California region; and a commitment to endow the scholarship fund to support Mexican and Mexican-American students and establish a Mexican legacy of philanthropy at USD that continues to grow.
Seeing the required scholarship endowment amount realized in 2015 and to award the first student scholarships was quite special to David Sánchez Yeskett ’98, Comité México’s new president.
“I’ve been a part of the committee for six years, but what a lot of people might not know is that I came to USD on a scholarship, so this is full circle to come back to the university and to help give back. Having put in a lot of time into this and see the results is rewarding. It also gives us a chance to remember Yolie (Rodriguez Ingle, Comité México’s late founding director) and a lot of people who’ve helped us get here.”
Cervantes and Dominguez benefit from that support now and payback will come through building a bright future in their communities.
“My community is one of family, love and passion. However, the stigma mental health carries in the Mexican community is far from accepting,” Dominguez said. “I wish to show my Mexican community that the stigma on mental health is being lifted; and with the help of those who can offer it, the rise of awareness and acceptance will only come faster and stronger. I want to show my community that we are able, and together we can do so much good for not only ourselves but others. I am not alone, there are so many others like me trying to make a difference, every day, and working towards a better tomorrow for not only our parents, nor ourselves, but also the future generations to come... SI SE PUEDE!”
— Ryan T. Blystone
Photo courtesy of Nicholas Porter.
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