Three Students from New London Earn Hispanic Alliance Scholarships

Written by Michael Rouleau


Left to right: Luis A. Rodríguez, assistant director of Eastern’s Center for Community Engagement; students Leopoldo Navarro ’15, Katherine Burgos ’16 and Robert Díaz ’16; and Alejandro Meléndez-Cooper, founder and former president of Hispanic Alliance.

Willimantic, Conn. – Three Eastern Connecticut State University students from New London received scholarships at the Hispanic Alliance’s 15th annual “Noche de Gala” (Night of Celebration) this past June. Sixteen scholarships were awarded in total at the New London event, mostly to high school students—Eastern was the most represented university in Connecticut.

Based on their Latino heritage, academic pursuits and community involvement, biology major Katherine Burgos ’16, environmental earth science major Robert Diaz ’16 and Spanish major Leopoldo Navarro ’15 earned the scholarships. Their extracurricular activities ranged from interning in a hospital in the Dominican Republic, to working as camp counselors, to volunteering at local soup kitchens, to serving as teaching assistants.

All three Eastern recipients are graduates of Higher Edge, a New London-based organization that prepares low income and first-generation high school students for college. Eastern has a strong partnership with Higher Edge, which plans to open a satellite location in Willimantic this year.

“Success in college is a team effort. At Higher Edge, we do our best to prepare students, but it’s good to have a partner like Eastern that’s committed to student success and attention,” said Chris Soto, founding director of Higher Edge. “The majority of Higher Edge students go to Eastern, and we feel confident sending them there.