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CALAHE awards scholarships at Eastern luncheon

Published on August 14, 2023

CALAHE awards scholarships at Eastern luncheon

Kelvin Carranza-Martinez ’25, receives his scholarship from Myrna Garcia-Bowen, co-chair of the CALAHE scholarship committee, and Wilson Luna, chair of the committee.

President Elsa Núñez speaks to scholarship recipients and their families.

Christina Irizarry, left, presents flowers to President Núñez as Antony Wormack, director of career services at Naugatuck Valley Community College and Núñez’s son, finishes his presentation to recipients.

The Connecticut Association of Latinos in Higher Education (CALAHE) held its annual scholarship luncheon at Eastern Connecticut State University on Aug. 3, offering scholarships to first-generation college students from around the state as part of its mission to promote full access and participation of Latinos and Latinas in Connecticut higher education.

“We do realize that many students here today are the first in their family to go to college,” said CALAHE president Christina Irizarry, assistant director of opportunity programs in the Academic Success Center at Eastern.

Kelvin Carranza-Martinez ’25, an environmental earth science major at Eastern, was awarded one of the scholarships. He plans to earn a master’s degree in education and become a high school teacher, he said.

Christina Irizarry, president of CALAHE and assistant director of opportunity programs at Eastern, welcomes scholarship luncheon guests.

Sierra Colon-Rivera, former scholarship recipient, spoke at the luncheon.

President Elsa Núñez told the recipients and their parents that a reception hosted by CALAHE when she first came to Eastern was “one of the most gorgeous occasions of my life,” and it made her feel like, “I belong in Connecticut.” The group’s signature program is offering 20 to 25 scholarships a year, she noted. She urged the recipients to use their scholarships to work hard and give back generously to others.

“You achieved it because of your intelligence and hard work,” she told the scholars.

Sierra Colon-Rivera ’17, a former scholarship recipient at Eastern and now the academic services coordinator at the University of Connecticut at Hartford, said the award helped her fill in gaps in her college expenses and take part in activities such as study abroad.

“I found power in my identity in my sophomore year,” she said, and she used it to get as much as possible from her academic experience.

“Our degree allows us to change the game,” she said, by building networks and opportunities for Latinos/Latinas.

“My hope is that everybody here continues to push through as well,” she said.

Written by Lucinda Weiss