By Jacquelyn Gutierrez
Two very talented and deserving Class of 2019 seniors found out on April 27 that they were the recipients of the prestigious Dorrance Scholarship.
Yazmín Almazán and Héctor Gámez were chosen among hundreds of applications. Only 12 students are selected per in-state university (the University of Arizona; Arizona State University; and Northern Arizona University).
Almazán said, “I had my interview on a Friday; the very next day, I was notified. I was very excited to learn this because there was a lot of competition—unfortunately even from some of my close friends at Pueblo. For a few years, no students from Pueblo were awarded the Dorrance scholarship, and to be one of two students from Pueblo to receive the award this year makes this reception even more exciting.”
Gámez said, “I found out that I received the Dorrance scholarship while I was doing yardwork with my father. I was so excited that I screamed, and I scared my mother.”
Both students plan to attend the University of Arizona following graduation.
Almazán will be studying molecular and cellular biology, and she plans to pursue a minor physiology.
“I’ve been extremely interested in this field for several years due to my experience in biotechnology with Dr. Andrew Lettes in my sophomore year,” Almazán said. “I also want to credit Mr. Bill Richards, my honors biology teacher during my freshman year. He persuaded me to enroll in Dr. Lettes’ class, and I’m so glad that I did because of all of the new knowledge that I would be introduced to—as well as all of the opportunities Dr. Lettes encouraged me to take advantage of.”
Over the past few years, Almazán has fervidly been involved with summer workshops and internships at the University of Arizona regarding biomedical research.
“This collegiate experience really inspired to further my aspirations into research and medicine,” Almazán said.
As for Gamez… This is his second year at Pueblo. Prior to that, he lived in Sonora, Mexico, and knew very little English prior to coming to Tucson. This year, as a senior, he is enrolled in four advanced placement classes, included AP English. Following graduation, Gamez plans to pursue a career in neuroscience—specifically to become an orthopedic surgeon.
“A lot of family members have bad backs, and I think this inspired to pursue orthopedics—because I might be able to help them,” Gamez said.
“I knew nobody when I came to Pueblo, and there was already the language barrier to overcome,” Gamez said. “Receiving this scholarship is an affirmation of all of the hard work it took to acclimate to Pueblo and to life in the United States.”
Both Almazan and Gamez are eligible to participate in the Dorrance Study Abroad Program, which lasts for one semester—an experience that introduces students to different cultures, both in theory (academically) and in practice (the study abroad experience itself)—which contributes to global citizenship.