Richmond Promise Scholar spotlight: Asya Saechao

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Asya Saechao | University of California, Berkeley | Class of 2022

Meet the Richmond Promise Scholars, a growing movement of hundreds of students from Richmond and North Richmond who are currently attending over 100 colleges and universities. They are beneficiaries of the Richmond Promise college preparedness, scholarship and guidance program, which is part of a $35 million, 10-year investment by Chevron to help make college more affordable and attainable for local students. For some students, the Promise wasn’t just an opportunity to achieve their college dream, but also to help younger generations do the same. In this series, we feature interns from the Summer Associates program talking about their experience.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? Expand on hardships/motivational factors that influence you to this day

I currently attend UC Berkeley majoring in Political Economics. I love being involved with my home and school community. Growing up as an underprivileged person, I saw all the injustices that my community faced. It motivated me to get involved with many clubs in high school like KIWIN’S, and Student Body. In college, I joined the CAL REACH! as well. I understand what it’s like to grow up with little support, that’s why I feel it is my duty to give back to communities like mine. I was privileged to have a sister who guided me to higher education, but I know that isn’t the case for everyone else in my community. These setbacks in my community motivate me to get a higher degree because the only way we can fight these obstacles is if we’re educated and driven. 

Q: How has the Richmond Promise played a role in your education?

Richmond Promise has helped me a lot during my transition from high school to college. When I graduated high school, I felt like I had everything ready, but I soon realized that I didn’t know everything. Berkeley was so close to home and it felt like I knew all the ins and outs. However, if it wasn’t for the one on ones that Richmond Promise made me do during the summer, then I wouldn’t have known about class registrations, and how to use my CAL Central. Even in college, Richmond Promise still helps me out with internship opportunities and scholarships that are offered to Berkeley students. 

Q: What do you want to contribute to Richmond, or to the world?

I would love to spend part of my life inspiring the underrepresented youth in California by continuing to volunteer for community events, donating/supporting nonprofit organizations, etc. I believe that the youth in communities like Richmond aren’t exposed to enough higher education pathways, simply because they don’t know anyone in college. If they had someone to help motivate them then it would be a different story. 

Q: Can you tell us about your current college experience?

Going into college I thought that I had everything planned out, but little did I know college was going to change my goal direction. I first was planning on majoring in Public Health, but I learned that I am not a science person. As my second semester started, I decided to take on Ethnic Studies. However, I didn’t feel like that major would get me a stable job for the future. At that point I felt completely lost about my future and what I wanted to do. I lost motivation in school because it felt like I was going nowhere. There was a voice in my head asking me why I was still here when I didn’t even know what I wanted to major in. I decided to advocate for myself and set an appointment with my career counselor. She helped me clear my head and figure out the career I should do. During my first year of college, I was lost, but eventually, I found myself. 

Q: What are you looking forward to after receiving your bachelor’s?

After receiving my bachelor’s I see myself working for a company or any nonprofit. I’d want to work in the Bay Area because I don’t want to go far. I know that I wasn’t to go back to school as well. I want to get my master’s and Ph.D. I don’t know what I want to get those degrees on yet but I know I want to keep learning.

This year the Richmond Promise Scholarship will open their 2019-20 Scholarship Application on Dec. 1, 2019. Students will be able to apply online at richmondpromise.org.

Students who are interested in applying for the scholarship can complete the following interest form here.

Students who complete this form will be sent information once the application opens, as well as key dates and times when Richmond Promise will come to their school to provide in-person support with our application.

Here are a list of other key dates to keep in mind:

  • October 1st: California State University Application Opens at calstate.edu
  • October 1st: FAFSA and California Dream Act application for financial aid open at:
    • ed.gov (for US Citizens or permanent legal residents
    • csac.ca.gov (for California students who are currently undocumented or in the process of becoming legal residents)
  • November 30th: Deadline to submit CSU and UC college applications
  • December 1st: Richmond Promise Scholarship Opens at richmondpromise.org
  • March 2nd: Last day to submit your FAFSA or California Dream Act for Cal Grant Priority
  • March 14th: Deadline to submit Richmond Promise Scholarship Application

You can also follow the Richmond Promise on their social media platforms to stay updated

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