June 17, 2022

More than 150 Education Forward Arizona Scholars and their families honored for graduating college  

Graduates collectively received over $2.5M dollars in scholarships and support services 

To help expand college access and attainment across the state, we honored more than 150 Education Forward Arizona scholars who graduated from college last month during a special ceremony at our headquarters in Phoenix on May 26. Many of the students are first-generation college graduates who received scholarships and/or mentorship support from our organization. 

“To just say that Education Forward Arizona helped me to succeed in my education would be an understatement,” said April Victor during the ceremony. “They did so much more. They got me through one of the hardest times of my life.”  

April was a recipient of the Freeport-McMoRan Native American Scholarship and recently graduated from Eastern Arizona College. She is now giving back to her community by working in the IT department of the San Carlos Apache Tribe hospital. 

The Education Forward Arizona scholars who were recognized last month all earned degrees from various colleges and universities, including Arizona State University, Benedictine University at Mesa, Grand Canyon University, Northern Arizona University, Tohono O’odham Community College, University of Arizona, University of Washington and Universidad Estatal de Sonora. 

As part of their scholarship opportunity, the students received support from success advisers, who offered coaching and mentoring and helped them to successfully navigate through their college experience. The advisers also connect the scholars with campus resources and provide guidance to keep the students on track to graduate. Toward the end of their college experience, the advisers also help students transition into careers. 

“The scholarship, the success advisers and the support system that I received was unmatched,” said Brenda Dichochea. “I knew my advisers absolutely believed in me. I had never had an experience like this one.”

Brenda graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in engineering. She is now working for Raytheon Technologies as an engineer while she studies for her Master’s degree in Science and Electrical Engineering.  

“It’s incredible knowing how much I’ve been supported by Education Forward Arizona throughout the last four years,” added Luis Peña. “It feels great to know that I’m always being surrounded with so much support.” 

Luis, who graduated from Grand Canyon University, is now working as a contracted software developer. 

“We are beyond proud of each one of these Education Forward Arizona Scholars,” said Dr. Richard Daniel, Executive Vice President, Education Forward Arizona. “They represent the incredible talent of Arizona students and we’re honored to be able to share in their educational success.” 

Not only have these graduates overcome tremendous obstacles to earn scholarships to start, persist through and graduate from college, but they have also continuously achieved despite experiencing adversity. As evidenced by their degrees and future careers, these graduates are going places. They aspire to work in healthcare, mental health, law, engineering and design and will surely contribute back to the community.