Vanessa Salazar got involved with the Gateway Scholarship Program as a freshman at Merced High School and said guidance in navigating how to apply to college was instrumental in helping her make her choice.
“I knew I wanted to go to a UC, but I did not know which one would best for me would be,” Salazar said. “We took trips to visit college campuses my junior year and I learned in what environment I wanted to be in for the next four years. UC Merced is truly the best choice I could have made for my education, and I am very glad I decided to attend this school.”
Salazar has served in various roles at the Bright Success Center, from being part of the orientation team to serving as a peer instructor for first-year students as they navigate their transition to UC Merced. She said the Gateway Scholarship Program provided her a chance to succeed because of the guidance Alex Delgadillo, Associate Director of the Calvin E. Bright Success Center who oversees the Gateway Scholarship Program, provided.
“If my grades were ever borderline, he would always provide resources on how I could improve my grades or workshops on how I could destress to improve them,” the rising third-year student said. “It was really important to me because I did not know what to expect and having Gateway there for me really made me understand the academic expectations of the school and helped me align my responsibilities to meet them.”
As she continues her studies in human biology, Salazar is also thankful for the financial support the Gateway Scholarship Program provides, which allows her to focus on performing well inside and outside the classroom.
“Because it is a growing campus, students here are giving huge amounts of opportunity,” Salazar said. “I do not think I would be as involved in another campus. It truly is a community here and everyone looks after each other.”