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.