LatPro.com

Mayra Herrera – LatPro Scholarship Finalist for August 2012

My mom always makes a point to ask just how tired I feel after accompanying her to clean sometimes up to three houses per day during the weekends. After proclaiming my exhaustion she does not console me or apologize. Instead, she explains how it serves me well to know why I am to continue to excel at school. Since I was old enough to read and write, I was also cleaning toilets and mopping floors in addition to being my mom’s translator. We would ride the bus from our liquor store lined neighborhood into ocean view properties and pretend that this was our home.

The reality was that we were undocumented immigrants trying to make it in a society with a label that dehumanizes us as dispensable and undeserving without taking into consideration anything else but our status. I had graduated top ten in my class with a number of scholarships and had the drive to continue my education at a four year university, yet I was unable raise enough money and was excluded from receiving government assistance because of my undocumented status. However, that did not stop me. It did not alter my drive and determination to continue my education, instead, it strengthened them. I enrolled into my local community college with a stronger will to help my family and my community overcome the prevailing barriers of our socioeconomic status.

In response to those sentiments I chose anthropology as my major at UC Berkeley. I was inspired by the fact that anthropology works towards validating all people. Anthropologists aim is not to judge or decide what is correct or wrong but to understand and help to explain the circumstances of all social groups. I want to adopt that ideology in order to help eradicate such bias against all marginalized people. I envision a career for myself that includes working with underrepresented communities of both developed and underdeveloped countries. In the past I have felt that it was a romanticized notion that only wealthy philanthropist could undertake, even less by someone who grew up cleaning others people’s homes. Now my attitude and confidence has quickly changed with the influence of the unique training that anthropology offers and the impact of my work with The Children’s Dental Center of Greater Los Angeles.

It is a nonprofit organization that largely works with illegal residents, just like my family. I take pride in assisting these families since most often we are the only ones they can turn to when they do not have insurance or government assistance for dental and oral health. That is what anthropology and our center has inspired me to do. I want to be able to provide the proper assistance in all aspects of life for those who have been left behind.

LatPro.com’s scholarship program for Hispanic students is proud to announce Mayra Herrera as one of the six finalists for its August application deadline. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

LatPro Admin


55 comments

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  • I LOVE this so much that I want to cry 😀 It is genuine, unique yet relatable to others who have also gone through the same, but you are an inspiration.

  • Mayra is not only an amazing student but an amazing friend and person! She has worked so so hard for everything she has and is the most deserving person I know. She is so smart and will use her education for the greater good. She is the driving force of her family and has two sibilings who look up to her. If anyone deserves to get this scholarship it is Mayra! Being undocumented has posed so many hardships for her and her family. Paying for school is hard enough as a US citizen. I could not imagine how I would deal with her situation and she has never once complained. This scholarship will help her so so much, more than you can imagine.
    I <3 you Mayra!!!! : ]

  • Wow. I’m proud that someone is actually making change for a lot of our community. I’m so amazed how you take such pride in your profession. You deserve this!!!!!!

  • It’s so inspiring to know someone with such great spirit & driving force looking to better the world! Hope you win this Mayra!

  • Wow! I have shown this powerful essay to my family and friends and they are as moved as I am! Your persistence and resiliency are admirable and UC Berkeley is lucky to have such quality students at their University. No matter what, continue to fight for your dreams and for “those that have been left behind”. You truly deserve this scholarship in order to assist you in making your influential dreams a reality.

  • If her story isn’t already enough of an indication, let me reiterate it: Mayra is a phenomenal woman. Reading her story, I’m very moved and want to express that I feel she deserves this scholarship to further her studies and achieve what she wants to achieve. I truly believe that she is capable of accomplishing what she has set out to do, and then some.

  • Wow. So inspiring. This piece should be stickied onto every high school and college student’s refrigerator. Your good heart and well intentions have always been strongly noted 🙂 , you’ve been a good influence on my brother for the past few years. Good luck on this Berkeley venture, rooting for you!

  • This is truly an inspiration for our generation. I’m so proud of you mayra and as your family is as well. We all come across hardships but it’s what we do with them. This was a constant battle for you and your family but your perserverence serves as an inspiration to everyone who was it was impossible. Best of luck!

  • You deserve it more than anyone else I know, “help will always be given to those who deserve for it” – Dumbledore 😀 (Harry Potter deathly hallows part duex) good luck!!!!!!

  • I admire you, Mayra. You are one of the strongest people I know, AND positive-est AND kindest. I am so proud of you for making it through your journey and to Berkeley. You will go far in life and I am honored to call you a friend.

  • Mayra, I always think of you and I wonder how you’re able remain so positive and joyful despite the challenges you’ve faced in your life thus far. I think this essay really reveals a lot about what keeps you going. You don’t think about yourself, you think about others. You aren’t working hard for yourself, you’re doing it for the benefit of others. WOW. What an inspiring story, your serving heart and selfless attitude will go a long way, it’s a story worthy of changing lives. You are fully capable of continuing to inspire the world 🙂

  • Every Time I Open Up Fb, I Have To Stop By And Re-Read This Essay. It Is More Than Inspiring, It Is Motivational. Rather Than Just Touching My Heart, It Makes Me Want To Get Up And Do Something About This Obstacle That Many Young Men And Women Are Still Facing Today. You Have A Beautiful Gift Mayra, And I Am More Than Grateful That You Opened Up To Share Your Story With Us.

  • I’ve known this girl for about 14 years now and she is absolutely amazing. I couldn’t think of another person who deserves this more than her. She has always been so humble, and she is such a positive and up-lifting person. I have never seen her let anything or anyone put her down. This essay proves that. She works with what she has and makes the best out of every situation. I wish her the best of luck. You go girl! 🙂

  • I have always looked up to mayra.i know she has a bright future. Wish you the best. As an illegal immigrant myself i know the struggle and obstacles she faces. Good luck Mayra!!

  • Todas laspersonas que te conocemos asi se de manera virtual o a distancia sabemos que te has esforzado mucho por consegir lo que quieres asiq ue que desde aca te deseamos la mejor suerte del mundo

  • Mi negra estamos muy orgullosos de ti y sabemos la dimension de tus suenos y que vas alograr no solo la beca si no una gran antropologa, y se que vas a poder ayudar a mucha gente por que tu tienes un corazon muy grande.I loveyou good luck lalas…

  • I absolutely believe that you are a strong woman! If this isnt the most touching thing I havent heard in a while, I do not know what it! Mayra keep making yourself, family, and community proud and I hope that this scholarship can understand that you truly deserve it! Suerte!

  • Mayra, thank you for sharing this. Too many times I hear of people wanting to do things, wishing they can live for others- but for as long as I’ve known you, you’ve lived it. Your loving heart and intense desire to help people is such an inspiration. I really hope you win this scholarship, you deserve it.

  • I hired Myra after a chance meeting with her in our waiting
    room lobby. She was reading a book and
    as we chatted, I could tell instantly that she was very bright and showed a
    strong focus towards the goals she had set for herself. I asked her if she was looking for a job, and
    she said yes. She was for all intents
    and purposes, hired on the spot to work as a call center representative. With her amazing customer service skills,
    team attitude and her ability to complete the tasks at hand with very little supervision,
    she was soon promoted to a front desk assistant. Mayra was one of our most productive and well
    liked employees. Having the pleasure of
    knowing Mayra the past few years, I saw firsthand how she managed to balance her
    education commitments along with her work schedule here at The Children’s
    Dental Center of Greater Los Angeles (TCDC) all while helping to support her amazing
    family at home. She had mentioned many
    times her desire to be accepted to a four year university. Well, she did it; she was accepted by numerous
    universities and especially the university of her dreams; UC Berkeley where she
    is currently attending. Her parents as
    well as everyone here at TCDC are extremely proud of what she has accomplished
    and the person she is becoming. Going to
    a four year university, especially UC Berkeley is a major achievement and is a
    testament to her dedication and self-commitment to fulfill the dream she set
    for herself a few years back. I believe that
    Mayra is a role model for so many young kids to emulate. Success is not given; it must be obtained through
    hard work, dedication and the desire to achieve it.

    Dennis Young, President and CEO, The Children’s Dental
    Center of Greater Los Angeles

  • The lessons we can learn from a person like Mayra are unmeasurable and teach us to be better and to reach higher. If after all her life circumstances we are not able to grasp a sense of humanity and determination we would be failing as members of a society. The social labeling is unjust because it doesn’t value the human being, Mayra with her drive, and determination will make our society better and she is unquestionable deserving of this scholarship. She will help make our country a better place not just by her benefiting the needy and vulnerable but also for many of us we are too busy to stop and think of the people in need. Thank you Mayra for sharing your example of life.

  • Excellent essay Mayra. I commend your desire to want to help others in this way. Prove to the world that no human being should be dispensible and undeserving. I wish you the best in attaining this scholarship!

  • Omg mayra your essay is incredible!!!! You are the best example of overcoming, for me and for a lot of people in the world! I always knew you were bright super smart and really nice coworker… I wish you the best luck in the planet I know you’ll win because god won’t leave you alone and he is gonna help you to get the mayority of the votes because you just deserve it!!!
    With love, Diana

  • This is such an inspiring essay.No words can describe how proud I am of you.I have seen you go thorough this all of your life and its time for a change for you to be able to accomplish something for you and your future and be an example to your siblings and to everyone in the United States that is going through similar situations as you due to their legal status.But you are one of a kind that actually had the guts to fight for what they want and did not care if you didn’t have money once you got to UC Berkeley because you knew what your goals are. You are the one that deserves this scholarship you always put people before you an left your self in the back now it’s your chance to glow.I love you very much and I am here for you.Good luck girl you got this.

  • This is such an inspiring essay.No words can describe how proud I am of you.I have seen you go thorough this all of your life and its time for a change for you to be able to accomplish something for you and your future and be an example to your siblings and to everyone in the United States that is going through similar situations as you, due to their legal status.But you are one of a kind that actually had the guts to fight for what they want and did not care if you didn’t have money once you got to UC Berkeley because you knew what your goals are. You are the one that deserves this scholarship you always put people before you and left your self for last now it’s your chance to glow.I love you very much and I am here for you.Good luck girl you got this.

  • This is such an inspiring essay.No words can describe how proud I am of you.I have seen you go thorough this all of your life and its time for a change for you to be able to accomplish something for you and your future and be an example to your siblings and to everyone in the United States that is going through similar situations as you due to their legal status.But you are one of a kind that actually had the guts to fight for what they want and did not care if you didn’t have money once you got to UC Berkeley because you knew what your goals are. You are the one that deserves this scholarship you always put people before you an left your self in the back now it’s your chance to glow.I love you very much and I am here for you.Good luck girl you got this.

  • I Know both Mayra and her mom. I know they’re beautiful, smart, and very warm people. When I met Mayra I just thought: ‘wow, she’s smart!. How about the world with people like her?’

  • I always knew you could do something very amazing for you’er future.I hope you will win the contest and your going to do it for sure. I am very proud of you and I always will.

  • SIGUE CRECIENDO PRIMA DIOS esta mas cerca de lo que lo puedes sentir o imaginar EL ES mas de lo que puedes soñar o pedir si lo tienes a el lo tienes todo…
    ISAIAS 54:

    Ensancha el sitio de tu cabaña, y las cortinas de tus tiendas sean extendidas; no seas escasa; alarga tus cuerdas, y fortifica tus estacas.
    3 Porque á la mano derecha y á la mano izquierda has de crecer; y tu generacion heredará gentes, y habitarán las ciudades asoladas.
    4 No temas, que no serás avergonzada; y no te avergüences, que no serás afrentada: antes, te olvidarás de la vergüenza.

  • Mayra this was awesome and i’m glad i know such a great person. Good Luck and I hope you get to achieve everything you set your mind to. ;]