Nereyda Maldonado, a Richmond native who graduated from Richmond High, is now a decade into her career as special events coordinator at the Chevron Richmond Refinery. Not only does she love her job, she said she loves that her job allows her give back to her community.
As second year site leader for the Richmond chapter of the Chevron SOMOS Employee Network, Maldonado was on hand last Friday evening at Café Soleil in El Sobrante to honor eight deserving local high students who earned $1,000 college scholarships from the network.
The SOMOS employee network is a group of dedicated Latin American and Hispanic employees at Chevron who work together to support each other’s career development and to organize community engagement projects such as this scholarship program. It is one of several employee-run networks encouraged by Chevron, across all of its locations worldwide, to both promote and to benefit from diversity and inclusivity in its workforce.
This year’s SOMOS scholarship recipients include Middle College High students Mylani Sonico, Ishika Prashar, Kelsey Heatherington, Leslie Noriega and Mathew PIzano; Richmond High’s Cynthia Mendoza and Giselle Sanchez; and De Anza High’s Edwin Garcia.
The award, available to all local students regardless of their ethnic background, had students submit applications consisting of a two-page essay. The applications were judged by four members of the SOMOS employee network.
Maldonado beamed at honoring the winners, saying she takes pride in playing a role in helping youth from her community succeed.
“It’s an awesome feeling knowing we are helping these students achieve their college dreams,” she said.
Hector Infante, the Refinery’s public affairs manager and a native of El Salvador, encouraged scholarship winners not only to pursue their education goals, but to one day use their new skills to help enrich their communities.
“Thanks to our employees who want to reach out to the community, and to those who are from here and want to give back, we have scholarship opportunities such as this,” Infante said at Friday’s scholarship ceremony.
Separately, the Richmond chapter of the Chevron Black Employee Network provides annual student scholarships. Also, as part of a $90 million community benefits agreement between the City of Richmond and Chevron connected to the Richmond Modernization Project, $35 million was earmarked to help establish the Richmond Promise College Scholarship in 2014. The program provides up to $6,000 in college scholarships and guidance to every Richmond and North Richmond student planning to attend a two or four year college or university or career technical education program.