Ariadne Reveles remembers the exact moment when she learned she received scholarship from the Women’s Fund of El Paso. The UTEP industrial and systems engineering student says it was the moment she realized hard work truly does pay off.
“The Women’s Fund of El Paso has helped me in so many ways. It has lifted a huge financial burden off my shoulders. I have been able to work two jobs instead of three, allowing me to dedicate more time to my studies and my community. It has also pushed me even more to work harder towards my career goals of becoming the first woman engineer in my family,” she wrote in her 2020 essay.
This summer Reveles was awarded a renewal scholarship for Fall 2020. She was one of 21 applicants who received scholarships from the Womens Fund of El Paso in amounts ranging from $250 to $1,500. In all, WFEP awarded $14,600 in scholarships for the fall semester to help El Paso women cover financial gaps in their pursuit of college degrees or technical training.
The amounts awarded offer support for things ranging from books and tuition to childcare and school supplies. But scholarship recipients also tell us that just knowing the Women’s Fund of El Paso is on their side offers encouragement in dark times.
Emily Mata is a sophomore studying civil engineering at UTEP. She will be the first in her family to graduate college, but she is often asked why she would waste her time on school instead of going right into the workforce.
“Becoming a scholar for the Women’s Fund Scholarship will be an honor for my family and a tremendous motivator to continue my career. I want to THANK the Women’s Fund of El Paso organization for bringing such opportunities to women like myself,” she wrote.
For Norma Orozco, a scholarship helps her transition after being laid off from her previous career working for the city library for 18 years. Now she is studying medical coding and billing at Western Technical College.
“Once I am back on my feet financially I would like to donate to the Women’s Fund of El Paso as a token of appreciation,” Orozco wrote. “This, in turn, could help someone else who reaches out to your group. Perhaps someone like me, a woman who dedicated herself to providing for her family and decades later is finally taking steps to invest in her educational goals during uncertain times.”
For everyone, education is the key to not only improving their lives, but also is expected to have a ripple effect to help those around them.
Jessica Murillo is a single mother who takes the bus from Tornillo to UTEP where she is studying to become a science teacher.
“I would like to influence my students to look for a better quality of life,” she wrote.
Health issues sidelined Yvette Landeros for years from pursuing her degree in business management at Park University. She is a single mother of four children and works full time. She is focused on finishing her last five classes and become the first in her family to graduate college.
“I am determined to finish school so that my children can have a better future. I want to show my children that if I can graduate from college then the sky is the limit for them,” she wrote.
While each scholarship recipient has a compelling story, one of the most profound this year may be that of Bianca Ruida, a nursing student with the Texas Tech Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing. She wrote an update after receiving funds to help with online training guides in the spring semester.
“The Women's fund of El Paso scholarship was an incredible help this last semester. I was able to afford the books and online access that are required. The previous semester I was very lost and unprepared. I was privileged to have received this reward and will forever be grateful. It came at a time that I needed it most,” she wrote.
Ruida explained that due to the lockdown in the spring semester over the pandemic, nursing students were given the option of continuing with their clinical studies or put their semester on hold.
“I chose to continue my degree and went to the hospitals in order to help my community as much as I could. There was a lot of fear in many of us and my fear was bringing it home to my kids,” she wrote. “Once I saw COVID patients and what it does to them, I knew this was my calling. I knew that this was the reason it took me so long to get here. I was not afraid to be a part of this pandemic and I was even more eager to finish my degree and volunteer to be on the front lines.
Rueda said there is some talk that the school may graduate nurses early to help fulfill demand on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight. If so, she said she is ready to serve.
“I am proud to have chosen the career I did, and I will do everything it takes to continue to help during this time,” she said.
Learn more about how you can support scholarships for El Paso women here.
How many days could you last in solitary confinement? How would you do it? I think I would get a little stir crazy after 5 days. In the rare moments I have to myself I enjoy arts & crafts, cleaning/reorganizing my place and listening to music.
Do you save old greeting cards and letters? Throw them away? I save them. I usually save cards on my refrigerator for a week or two and if they are really beautiful or have a sweet/sentimental message, I keep them in a memory box that I occasionally go through for inspiration or a quick pick-me-up.
What’s some insider knowledge that only people in your line of work have? There is no one right answer! That is one of the most exciting and terrifying parts about marketing.
What’s the worst hairstyle you’ve ever had? I unintentionally got a shmullet…twice!
What life skills are rarely taught but extremely useful? Networking! Networking can be scary but it is so important for your professional and personal growth.
What movie or book do you know the most quotes from? The Princess Bride
What’s the smartest thing you’ve seen an animal do? My cat can guess which cup a ball is in after you mix it up with other cups. She’s a genius.
Who in your life has the best / worst luck? I don’t really believe in luck. I know there are chance circumstances but when I think of those who could be considered lucky or unlucky, it is pretty obvious that they have played active roles in their situations. To credit luck would take away from their efforts or lack thereof.
What trend are you tired of? Ripped jeans, snapchat filters and the Kardashians
What’s the weirdest crush you’ve had? My first crush was on David Bowie. His character Jared in Labyrinth was so dreamy!
Who is the most creative person you know? I’ve been blessed to work with so many creative people. I can’t think of just one.
What elements of pop culture will be forever tied in your mind to your childhood? Hyper color t-shirts and jelly sandals…Did I just age myself?
What would be the most amazing adventure to go on? In the past few years, I have developed an adoration for sloths. That being the case, a trip to the sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica is definitely on my bucket list.
Who in your life is the worst at using technology? Are you trying to get me in trouble? I plead the 5th!
What was the biggest realization you had about yourself? I’ve got this, whatever it is. I’ve reached a point in my professional career and in some respects my personal life that I have been presented with enough situations where I thought, “This it! This is where it all falls apart.” Each time I have come out on the other end…not necessarily unscathed but I figured it out.
What job doesn’t exist now but will exist in the future? Social engagement coach to teach people how to interact with each other offline.
What’s the cutest thing you can imagine? Something so cute it’s almost painful. Baby sloths
What’s the worst thing you ate from a fast food restaurant? I’m seriously afraid to even think about it but I’m sure it was at Taco Bell. Lol!
What was the most amazing physical feat you’ve managed to pull off? I repelled off the Mills building. It was awesome but I never want to do it again.
What values are most important to you? Authenticity, empathy, kindness, and humor
What state or country do you never want to go back to? – Can’t say that I have one place that I would never go back to. I’ve loved every state and country I’ve visited. Plus “never say never”.
What songs have you completely memorized? Any 90's and 2000 Spanish pop song. I don’t know how or why I know the words, I just do.
Are you usually early or late? LATE!!!
Who’s your go to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to? Green Day. There’s a Green Day playlist on Spotify that I play constantly.
What age do you wish you could permanently be? 26
What TV show or movie do you refuse to watch? Anything Kardashian related.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? Travel to a foreign country.
What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years? Living my life with my fiancé/best fired/partner in crime and being able to travel to all the places we want.
Where would you spend all your time if you could? Traveling
What did you think you would grow out of but haven’t? Getting spoiled.
What are you addicted to? Coffee, Traveling, and binge watching series.
If you had to change your name, what would you change it to? I used to want to change my name when I was little to Fernanda, not anymore. I like that my name is unique, but I hate that sometimes they call me Maria or Mayra instead of Mara.
Name 3 celebrities you most admire. What I admire most right now is the all the individuals behind the #metoo, #timesup, and #neveragain movements. Individuals that will not stand down or remain silent in the wake of injustice. Sometimes I wish I could be more like them.
If you could live in any TV home, what would it be? Gilmore household. I love the Gilmore Girls.
What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? Vanilla
What is your favorite movie quote? I don’t have one, sorry.
What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen? The Others, hands down. Gets me every time!
What’s the first thing you do when you get home from a trip? Unpack then lay on my bed, I always miss my bed.
If you could shop for free at one store, which one would you choose? Burberry!!!
What was the last photo you took? A photo of us using our “Wifey” and “Hubby” mugs for the first time. Corny, I know.