Character, Education, and Strength


May 9, 2017

By staff

All around the country recently graduated high school seniors are gearing up to make the exciting transition to their new lives as college freshman. And we couldn't be more proud to announce that, thanks to your generous support, our 2016 Beat the Odds® scholars will be participating in this important milestone - and attending some of the greatest colleges and universities in the nation, including Harvard, Columbia, and UCLA.

Our Beat the Odds scholars are the embodiment of dedication, determination, and resilience. Each one of these incredible students has achieved academic excellence and personal success in the face of childhoods marred by poverty, abandonment, abuse, neglect, and loss.

Read below to see what these outstanding students have been up to - and click here to learn more about the  Beat the Odds scholarship program.

2016 Beat the Odds Scholars

  • Jose Aceves, graduating from New Open World Academy, will attend Harvard University and pursue a degree in engineering with a focus on biology.
  • Jacob Estrada, graduating from Antelope Valley High School, will pursue certification in welding.
  • Cierra Gunderson, graduating from Carson High School, will attend Clark Atlanta University and pursue a degree in social work.
  • Joshua Liebovich, graduating from John Marshall High School, will pursue a certificate in holistic medicine.
  • Kevin Manzano, graduating from Belmont High School, will attend UC Santa Cruz and pursue a degree in computer engineering.
  • Jennifer Martinez, graduating from UCLA Community School, will attend Columbia University and pursue a degree in chemical/environmental engineering. She was a 2017 National Center for Women & Information Technology National Award Winner.
  • Florencia Valenzuela, graduating from Whittier High School, will attend UCLA and pursue a degree in sociology.

Past Beat the Odds Recipients

  • Jade Woods, class of 2013, is graduating from University of Southern California with a degree in social sciences with an emphasis on psychology
  • Jalen Woods, class of 2013, is graduating from University of Southern California with a degree in human performance
  • David Solano, class of 2013, is graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in intensive psychology
  • Richard Kent, class of 2012, is graduating from UCLA with a degree in political science
  • Roneisha Pugh, class of 2012, is graduating from Mt. St. Mary's with a degree in nursing
  • Caylin Moore, class of 2011, is graduating from Texas Christian University with a degree in economics. As a 2017 Rhodes Scholar, he will move on to Oxford to pursue an MSc in sociology and a masters in public policy.
  • Jeanette Wright, class of 2011, is graduating from Brown University with a degree in science & society, and is now its medical program.