July Newsletter

Welcome to our newest class of Scholars!
Greetings from MVLA Scholars!

We’re proud to announce that 19 Scholars graduated from a four-year college this year, and have begun a variety of professional careers including High Technology, Teaching, Social Services, the SF District Attorney’s Office, Kaiser Medical, and Theater Works. Check out the photos from our graduation party.

We’re excited to welcome 31 rising freshmen who will be attending a range of colleges including UC Berkeley, San Jose State, UC Merced, and Boston University. Take a look at the photos from our New Scholars Reception.

Below is a story about one of the programs that makes MVLA Scholars so special and has enabled our Scholars to enter professional positions right after graduation. 
Thank you to everyone for all your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
Dee Gibson and Janet Tornow

Graduating Scholar Elaine with Mentor Liz, Mentor Bill with Scholar Aldo
Scholarships for Internships
Did you know that in addition to helping students achieve college degrees, MVLA Scholars helps students explore careers by providing “Supplemental Scholarships” to enable students to experience academically-related but unpaid internships? 
Since 2014, MVLA Scholars has granted more than 60 Supplemental Scholarships to Scholars who worked at unpaid internships.  These internships are typically 10-week programs during the summer.  About one third are full-time positions.  Supplemental Scholarships range from $500 to $4,500, depending on various factors including the number of hours worked.  Last year, the average Supplemental Scholarship awarded was $2,000.
One of our Scholars, Maria Plascencia interned in the Simulation Center at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Hospital.  For her internship, Maria observed staff treat medical conditions simulated by mannequins.  She also shadowed nurses and physicians on rotations in the ICU, ER, OR, and Spinal Unit.  In describing what she learned from her experience, Maria said “I have learned that I must value myself and what I believe is the right thing to do. My supervisor taught me self-worth and the power in challenging others respectfully when you disagree.”

Another Scholar, Blanca Casillas, interned at LifeMoves, a homeless shelter network that focuses on breaking the cycle of homelessness. Blanca worked with LifeMoves’s outreach team to do intakes and provide translation, help clients sign up for social services benefits, and make referrals for clients who needed dental or vision services.  In describing her internship experience, Blanca said “the work I did at LifeMoves has changed my perspective in a lot of things, but most importantly it has changed the way that I look at our community.  Being a ‘Healthcare for the Homeless’ intern was not an easy task. I did see and experience many things that made me question why some things are the way they are. At the end of the day, I learned a lot from this internship.”
And finally, Cecilia Castaneda, interned at JusticeCorps, a non-profit that helps people without legal representation gain access to justice.  For her internship, Cecilia was placed in the Family Law Facilitator’s Office for San Mateo Superior Court where she worked closely with lawyers helping litigants.  She also attended court, assisting with processing the judge’s orders. Cecilia said that her internship helped her learn to “work efficiently with others under pressure and in an intense, crowded environment.”  In terms of a career, Cecilia said that “talking with the attorneys and my colleagues made me realize that law is definitely something I would be capable of doing, something within my reach. However, my internship experience and hearing about others’ experiences made me realize that it’s not something I want to pursue right now.”
If you are interested in finding an academically-related internship or want to apply for a Supplemental Scholarship for your work at an unpaid internship, contact Jennifer Pence at