The PepsiCo Foundation Uplift Scholarship Student Testimonials

Frank Herman
 
 
Frank Herman_PepsiCo_PhotoThank you for the PepsiCo Uplift scholarship that was generously awarded
to me for my extended education at Houston Community College. My name
is Frank Herman and l am 51 years of age. I currently work for Harris
County where I have been employed for 16 years. I feel that one can
never have enough education and with assistance from organizations like
you, the sky is the limit. My short-term goals are to become a commercial driver’s
license holder and become a truck driver as a secondary career. PepsiCo has made
this goal become a reality and it is greatly appreciated. This dream will come into fruition because of your kindness. This scholarship opportunity that has been provided to me and my family has given me hope and drive to press forward and strive for higher goals

 

 

 Amy Ortiz – Graphic Design

Amy Ortiz – Graphic Design

 

My name is Amy Ortiz. I am 27, I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and I am a single mother of two. It has been a struggle juggling it all with little help. I am currently getting my Associate of Applied Science at Houston Community College.

Thank you so much for the PepsiCo Uplift scholarship. I am in my second year, and I am close to graduating. I am very passionate about my career in visual communication specializing in graphic design.

I cannot wait to be a helping part of my community once I have completed my studies. I plan to help inspire people with the skills I have learned and to help bring my community together. What I love about graphic design is being able to bring ideas and vision into something real and tangible. I am one step closer thanks to your generosity.

 

Ashley Mercer – Information Technology

Ashley Mercer – Information Technology

I am grateful for PepsiCo granting me the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship to continue my education. My name is Ashley Mercer. I was born in Houston, but I was raised in Austin, Texas. I am pursuing an AAS in Information Technology at Houston Community College. I plan to use my scholarship funds to continue taking classes and training in cybersecurity. My academic plan is to finish my associate degree at HCC and to transfer to Hampton University to complete my bachelor’s degree.

As a woman of color, it is essential to me that I distinguish myself as a pioneer for diversity in the tech industry. My goal is to collaborate with other like-minded individuals to create a movement, a change, and a revolution in society. I am committed to becoming a leader in not only the community but to be a person of inspiration within my own family. I will continue to develop my skills, contribute back to the community and be an influential leader. Doing so would not only be personally fulfilling, but it would inspire other women and people of color to pursue careers in the tech field.

 

Benneth Akpa – Computer Networking

Benneth Akpa – Computer Networking

My name is Benneth Akpa. I want to thank you for your generosity in awarding me the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. This means a lot to me and my family. My mom and dad are also thankful for this opportunity you have given me to complete my CCNA course for the first quarter of 2021-22.

I come from an African household. Both my mom and dad are from Nigeria. They have done a lot to get me where I am. I was able to get my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. I was a manager most of my professional career, but my passion lies in computer technology. My brother taught me about the technical side of computers. From that moment on I love learning about computers and how they work. I was introduced to network engineering while I was obtaining my A+ certification. I knew that is what I want to do as my career. I love how complicated the network infrastructure is designed. My biggest goal is to learn everything there is to know about networking.

My mom worked so much to raise me, my big brother and three little sisters. Unfortunately, one of my sisters passed away from sickle cell anemia complications. I know everybody is still hurting as much as I am. Even though my mom still finds the strength to keep working, I know she is getting tired, and her knees are not as strong as they used to be. Growing up I barely saw my mom. Now I want to make sure I can repay her for everything she has done for me and my siblings.

When I complete my CCNA training I will be able to put my mom and dad into retirement – something they both deserve more than anything. I want to provide for them and give them anything they want. While my brother is not working due to sickle cell and having to go through surgery, I want to make a way to ensure he has everything he needs in life. I’m scared for him during this COVID season. My biggest dream is to provide for my family. Thank you for making the process that much easier. I will use this money to help pay for my books and class tuition. The rest will be spent on furthering my education.

 

LaTasha Parks – Computer Networking

LaTasha Parks – Computer Networking

My name is LaTasha Parks and I am honored to have been selected as a recipient of the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship c/o HCC Foundation. Thank you for your generosity, which has allowed me to continue my career a network engineer in the Information Technology Department at Houston Community College.

I am an information technology student with a concentration in cybersecurity, as I am moving forward with completed my education at Houston Community College. I plan to attend a four-year university to continue pursuing a career as a network engineer. After graduation, I will seek employment in the field of computer technology with the hopes of inspiring other students to achieve higher education.

The financial generosity of the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship has allowed me to be one step closer to my goal and has inspired me to help others in the community. My family and I are very thankful for receiving your thoughtful and generous gift.

 

Olivia Marin – Automotive Technology

Olivia Marin – Automotive Technology

 want to express my gratitude for considering and selecting me as a recipient of the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I am honored that you found me worthy of your esteemed scholarship. Thank you for your generosity and financial support towards my higher education.

At present, I am in my second year of study at Houston Community College - Automotive Technology Training Center. My dedication and passion for an automotive technology degree has allowed me to achieve a grade point average of a 4.0 along with being placed on the dean’s academic list twice.

In addition to my academic pursuits, I am currently involved in the Houston Community College Car Club. I was raised by a single mother. She worked as much as she could to make ends meet and to provide for my brother and I as best as she could. Now as an adult, I have committed to do my part and do all that I can to attend college while working as well. It is not easy at all, but I will finish this.

My goal is to set the standard for the generation ahead of me in my family by showing them my accomplishments of education and success. I have chosen the degree of automotive technology because I have always had a passion for it since I was a child. After obtaining my degree I plan to establish a woman-owned franchise of automotive services for customers. Due to the COVID situation, now more than ever I am filled with deep gratitude for this gesture of generosity. Please know that it will be invested accordingly.

 

Carl Brown – Automotive Technology

Carl Brown – Automotive Technology

Thank you for the opportunity to receive the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I was more than ecstatic to hear the news that I was selected for the amazing scholarship. My name is Carl D Brown Jr. and I was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. I am currently in school to further myself in the automotive / auto body industry. Starting from the age of 3 I’ve been in love with sports cars, specifically the Corvette being my favorite. In the near future I will be in pursuit of my AAS in Automotive Technology while further down the road I plan to sharpen my skills and open up my own custom auto shop.

This opportunity comes in abundance to me since I’m a full-time student, as well a full-time father of five amazing boys. The scholarship will be applied directly to my tuition and books for the fall semester which more than overwhelms me with joy, and I am greatly appreciative. Once again I would like to thank the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship program for this wonderful gesture of kindness.

 

Christian Gariet – Automotive Technology

Christian Gariet – Automotive Technology

I am Christian Gariet, a former student at Houston Community College attending the automotive program. I want to thank the Foundation Scholarship for granting me the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I really enjoy cars, both driving and doing maintenance on them as well as researching how they function.

My educational passion is learning more about vehicles and how each and every mechanism works. My short-term goal in my career as an auto technician is to master the basics of this program and doing things the correct way. My long-term goal is to someday become a master auto technician at a well-known dealership. This scholarship will help me achieve my goals by providing me help with the expenses of purchasing invaluable tools. They get pretty pricey in this industry, but thanks to the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship I have all that covered.

I am grateful that this foundation was so generous to pick me of all people to help me pursue my goals; without them I don’t think I would be as motivated as I am now. My family can’t thank you enough for giving me this amazing opportunity most people don’t get. My family sees this as a gift from God for all the hard work that I have done to get in the position I am in today. Thank you very much for this scholarship. This means so much to me and I will not take this opportunity for granted.

 

Perla Lais – Cybersecurity

Perla Lais – Cybersecurity

First, I’d like to thank you for this opportunity to be one of the recipients of the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. My name is Perla Lais, I am of Mexican descent and the first person to go to college in my family. I am currently studying computer networking with a specialization in cybersecurity.

My passion for technology began when I was young, and my mother gifted me my first iPod Touch (first generation). The idea of how versatile a device could be sparked my interest in technology. Throughout the years, technology has constantly improved and having a career in this field will allow me to participate and enhance my understanding of technology advancements. I would like to graduate with my associate degree and start a career in the IT or cybersecurity field,

This scholarship is important to my family and I because it is a step forward in my education. When I first applied to college, I had to navigate through the application process and filing for FAFSA (financial aid) on my own, so having this scholarship means it is a weight off my shoulders and my family’s because we won’t have to worry about paying for tuition and books. We are grateful for the generosity of PepsiCo and its donors for contributing to my education through this scholarship.

 

Christopher Newkirk – Cybersecurity

Christopher Newkirk – Cybersecurity

I would like to thank you for awarding me this scholarship which will be vital in helping me achieve my educational goals. From the bottom of my heart, thank you! I have a diverse background which includes 11 years in the United States Army as a combat medic and two tours in Iraq (2004-05 and 2009-10).

Currently I work in the service industry as a bartender, a job that allows me to interact with the people of my community and have the flexible schedule I need to pursue my cybersecurity degree. I am also a happily married father of three beautiful children: Brooklyn, 7-year-old girl, London, 3-year-old boy, and Cairo, 7-month-old boy. I am a 36-year-old former business major, and I am truly optimistic about my future, both short- and long-term.

Upon completing my associate program at Houston Community College, I will transfer to the University of Houston in the spring of 2022. Upon graduation with my bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems, I will join the workforce as a cybersecurity analyst/engineer. Within the next ten years I would like to obtain my law degree and become a cybersecurity lawyer.

The PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship is not only key in my pursuit of a college education, but also in showing my children the importance of education and how it can positively affect the future of our family for generations to come. African-American families and other families of color for years were denied the right to pursue educational goals in institutions of higher learning. To know there is a scholarship foundation dedicated to the uplifting of minorities in this nation is truly a sign of changing times, and I could not be more grateful. Once again, thank you for awarding me with this fantastic opportunity. It certainly is not taken for granted.

 

Tosin Olaniyi -- Cybersecurity

Tosin Olaniyi -- Cybersecurity

I was happy to receive the news that I am a recipient of the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I am writing to thank you for your generous financial support towards my higher education. I plan to break into information technology by taking continuing education courses.

I am now studying cybersecurity and working to obtain a certification for my career. I plan to take more certification courses in spring and fall 2022 to re-enter the workforce. Upon completion of all the courses, I will seek employment as a security analyst, risk analyst and cybersecurity analyst. I plan to pursue a two-year degree in the cybersecurity program at HCC after obtaining employment.

I will be able to focus on my education and do well in my classes. Again, I appreciate your generosity in making my education goals a reality. I am so thankful to PepsiCo for this amazing opportunity to give my life a new start.

 

Brandon Danini – Automotive Technology

Elijah Guzman – Logistics

My name is Elijah Zayne Guzman and I started this fall at Houston Community College. My experience at a HVAC manufacturing company has motivated me to pursue a degree in logistics and supply chain management.

The educational goals I have for myself are to receive my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in logistics and supply chain management with a minor in business management. Growing up and even today, I know how it feels to not have the support you need. I suffer from bipolar disorder and depression, so being in college and learning how to think strategically and to analyze business problems has and is helping me mentally.

These goals I have for myself are not only for me, but they are for my family and the next generation of children/young adults that will need the guidance to get through school and pursue a career in logistics. This program has given me the opportunity to be creative and think more as a logistician even without having the degree. This scholarship and the HCC program I have chosen will help me reach my goals, and I appreciate your generosity to help me pursue all my goals.

 

Erik Gonzalez – Automotive Technology

Erik Gonzalez – Automotive Technology

Thank you for donating money to support my education at Houston Community College by gifting me the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I am grateful for this opportunity as it will greatly impact my future education and career in the field of mechanics.

I am a first-generation student with a disability who is trying to improve my life to become someone in life. I am currently acquiring my associate degree so that I can be certified to work as an auto technician. I am very passionate about learning about vehicles, machines, and computers; this passion has always been in my life since I was a small child.

In the near future, I desire to become a mechanical engineer with a focus on vehicle construction and improvements. Your scholarship will be a step forward towards reaching my long-term goal. Therefore, I am very thankful for your generous donation on supporting my current/future education. It will also help me become a role model to my future sons and daughters, and an example to follow in my family. I cannot thank you enough. I wish the best to your company, PepsiCo, and nothing but success!

 

Esteban Soto – Automobile Technology

Esteban Soto – Automobile Technology

I would like to thank you for awarding me with the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. My name is Esteban Soto and I’ve always had a love for cars since I was just a kid. My dad working in a body repair shop next to our house just made me love it much more because I could always see the different types of cars that were brought in.

I say this because it’s one of the main reasons I’m going to college for auto body collision repair. I want to learn a lot more than I know now about cars and I want to learn different areas so I can go out into the real world and find a job in almost any area of collision repair. My short-term goals are to go to college, work, save money, and earn my certificate in collision repair.

As for my long-term goals, I want to graduate from HCC, work at a body repair shop either as an estimator or a collision repairer, gain experience, and hopefully open up my own shop. I also want to help other people with estimates/repairs on their cars on my own time. This scholarship will be beneficial for me since it would help to pay for my education. I could also use the money I saved to pay for tools, which are not the cheapest.

I appreciate this scholarship very much and it helps since I don’t have to pay for my tuition out-of-pocket which is good for both me and my parents. Any help that I have received and will receive in the future is very good and will allow me to finish college, making me the first person in my household to have done so!

 

Xochitl Reyes – Video Graphics/Visual Effects

Xochitl Reyes – Video Graphics/Visual Effects

My name is Xochitl Reyes, and I am a first-year student at Houston Community College. I am passionate about art and learning more about opportunities in this creative field. I have decided to pursue an associate degree in the video graphics and visual effects program at HCC.

Receiving this scholarship is significant to me because it provides me with a financial opportunity to further my education. It also helps me to reach my goal in becoming a successful Latina animator, graphic designer, illustrator and artist. The Uplift Scholarship gives me confidence to pursue something that I may not have been able to do otherwise and offers motivation for me to graduate and continue on to a four-year university.

I hope to set an example for my family and pave a way for a better future. Thank you for the opportunity to do so. I appreciate PepsiCo’s generosity in aiding me with the funds I need to keep moving forward toward achieving my goals in the creative arts.

 

Hector Alvarado – Automotive Technology

Hector Alvarado – Automotive Technology

Thank you PepsiCo for the scholarship and the help you are providing me. I’m from Houston, Texas. I'm currently attending the collision repair course at HCC, and I hope to one day make a career in this industry.

This scholarship will definitely help a lot in paying for some of my classes that I otherwise would have struggled to afford. I appreciate the help and generosity.

This is taking me one step closer to my goal of finishing the course and getting my certificate in collision repair. It’ll help my family and I in the future, and my upcoming career.

 

Isaiah Walker – Automotive Technology

Isaiah Walker – Automotive Technology

Thank you for awarding me the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. It means so much I am honored to receive it. I am a recent high school graduate, I'm 19 years old and I have a passion for cars. I wish to further my education and learn even more about cars and get a hands-on experience.

My short-term goals are to do exceptionally well in school and learn more about cars that I didn’t know before. My long-term goals are to finish all my courses that I need to take and to get a degree in engineering.

I plan to find a good job in the automotive industry, making good pay and then taking a leap of faith by opening my own tuning shop and hiring people like me are eager to learn and build cars. We will all have a successful career building and tuning cars.

This scholarship will me help me because before receiving it I didn’t have the funds to attend school. This has been nothing short of a miracle, and the automotive program is perfect for me because I love cars and it will allow me to pursue my passion for cars.

 

Jacobe Cerf – Automotive Technology

Jacobe Cerf – Automotive Technology

Hello, my name is Jacobe Cerf. I want to thank you for allowing me to receive the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I am the only child in a single-parent household. I graduated high school in June 2021 and decided to follow my passion of working on cars and learning how they work.

I plan to work for a big-name brand like Chevy or owning my car shop where my focus would be on maintenance of cars and trucks. This scholarship will help me greatly because I can then pay for anything from tools to books or any required items. This means a lot to me because paying for tools and books from one check is hard to do after bills are paid. Thank you for your generosity.

 

Jonathan Lopez – Automotive Technology

Jonathan Lopez – Automotive Technology

Words can't express how thankful I am for receiving the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. My name is Jonathan Lopez and I lived in Alvin for as long as I can remember. I come from a Hispanic household and like to work on vehicles since I was little. Some of my short-term goals are to learn more about automobiles so I can fix all my family's car problems.

I want to help those in need with simple stuff like oil changes, changing filters and cleaning throttles without them breaking the bank going to a dealership or independent shop. I plan to get experience with different makes and models so I can have a better understanding of what's to come.

My long term goals are to own my own business/shop, and have it produce income for me. Eventually I would like to go back to school and study auto body so I can buy my dream cars salvaged! Seems crazy to some but that’s the only way I'm going to get my hands on some of these vehicles, for they go for a premium now which is fine with me. I was taught that if you want something you better go an earn it.

Again, words cannot express how grateful I am for your generosity. This will help me with my goals tremendously, for life hasn’t been exactly smooth sailing for me. I know I have no right to say it for there are many people who have it worse than me.

Two weeks before the fall semester I was in a car accident. My vehicle was totaled, and I was stressed out trying to figure out how I was going to make it to school. Lucky for me my hobby saved me for I had bought a Chevy Colorado to fix up and sell. It was by no means ready to drive on the road, but I had to make it happen. My project just became my mode of transportation. If it weren’t for my previous classes I would have been a fish out of water but it all clicked to me while I was fixing the Colorado.

I can't thank you enough for this will help tremendously for I am a broke college student trying to fix my old truck, go to work and to school. It gets stressful but I feel a lot of stress leaving me because of you. Thank you.

 

Jorge Munoz – Graphic Design

   

Jorge Munoz – Graphic Design

I am honored to be selected by the PepsiCo Uplift scholarship. My name is Jorge Munoz, I am a 26 year old student with a strong passion for computers. Growing up I was always fascinated by anything relating to technology. I spend a lot of my time outside of school working on computers or improving my graphic design skills.

I am currently pursuing a degree that will get me one step closer to doing what I love for a living. My whole life I have grown up in a low-income household, so I've always had to work extra hard to afford my tuition. Your generosity will enable me to continue my education and will motivate me to surpass my limits as a student.

By awarding me with this scholarship you have lightened my financial burden, which will allow me to focus more on my education. I am grateful and honored to be a part of such a special program.

 

Lance Lindley – Auto Body and Collision Repair

Lance Lindley – Auto Body and Collision Repair

I'm writing to thank you sincerely for awarding me the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. After leaving my role at the sheriff's office here in Houston, I struggled with finding a second career. I searched deep to find my calling and found the Auto Body and Collision Repair program at Houston Community College. I knew it was the program for me and am truly honored to have your support.

With this scholarship, I will be able to take my passion for auto body work and turn it into something other than just a hobby. Coming from a career in service, it is extremely important to me to be able to use my talents to help others and this scholarship will give me that opportunity.

My goal is to provide not only auto body service to paying customers but to help those with financial hardships (the elderly and single parents) by donating a portion of my time to doing their auto body repairs. With this scholarship, I will be able to both fulfill my goals and pay it forward. Thanks again for giving me this opportunity. I genuinely appreciate your support.

 

Nathan Casas – Automotive Technology

Nathan Casas – Automotive Technology

 would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your kindness in funding me the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I am very honored to be the recipient of this award. I am currently enrolled at HCC taking classes as a full-time student in the automotive program. My short-term goal is getting my certificate as an automotive technician. My long-term goal is to become a general manager or Audi Master Tech.

Receiving this scholarship motivates me to give 110 percent in class and complete my certification. This scholarship helps me go a step forward in reaching my goal by being able to purchase tools that will be needed throughout the course and my career path.

My family and I are really thankful for your generosity of giving me this chance to receive this scholarship. It means so much to my family and I because we are struggling financially, and this scholarship takes some relieve off our backs because of you. I thank you for your willingness and kindness once again to help me achieve my goals.

 

Ronald Henley – Automotive Technology

Ronald Henley – Automotive Technology

First, I want to say thank you for awarding me with this scholarship. I am truly honored and in appreciation of your generosity. This scholarship will help me enormously in acquiring some of the necessary tools and books needed for my heavy diesel mechanic classes. I just decided to attend college in August. I can say that not too many 52-year old’s go back to school, especially those who dropped out of school at the age of 10.

I had a difficult life growing up. I had to get a job by the time I turned 10 to help pay the bills. School was not for me, not because I did not want to go but because I had to work and help my mother. Today, I stand proud to say that I took that step and got my GED and now I am attending Houston Community College for my certification as a heavy vehicle and diesel mechanic.

I have many goals in life, but one that I see is attainable is having a heavy diesel mechanic shop. I want to be able to work on 18-wheelers, farming equipment, construction equipment, and any heavy diesel engines. Houston Community College Heavy Diesel Mechanical Program is the best. My favorite part of the program is the labs, where we get to work with our hands. The hands-on portion of the program not only gives me the experience I want and need, but it also allows me to put my textbook knowledge to the test.

Once again, I want to thank you for this opportunity you have provided me. I have five boys who are all adults. They are proud of me for going back to school. Now, they also want to attend college and earn a degree. I have encouraged them and told them that there are many wonderful programs and scholarships such as this one that can help them. Thank you again for this scholarship. It will help me get to the next level in this program.

 

Ryan M. Clarke – Digital Communication

Ryan M. Clarke – Digital Communication

Hello, my name is Ryan Clarke. I would like to first thank PepsiCo and the HCC Foundation for your generosity of providing this PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship for Black and Hispanic students facing educational inequalities. This scholarship means everything to me!

It’s a great opportunity to help me further my education and improve the quality of my life. I now reside in Houston, but I’m originally from New Jersey. I was raised in Essex County, on the border of Newark and East Orange. I’ve always believed in furthering my education to improve the quality of my life. I started off studying business and now I’m furthering my education in the digital communication field to learn graphic art and web designing.

I’ve always wanted to be in business for myself since a teenager and with technology and the internet being at the forefront of business commerce, I’ve decided to take digital communication courses to maximize my future business ventures. I write and record music, I also plan to start a fashion clothing line and sell all my goods and services on an online platform. This will maximize profits and make it convenient for consumers anywhere in the world to purchase.

Learning graphic and web designing can enable me to freelance and profit in the digital communication market with the goal of starting my own business. I just want to thank Pepsi Co and the HCC Foundation for such a generous, empathetic and beneficial scholarship. These types of scholarships Uplift and motivate students such as me giving us hope, inspiration and most of all, opportunity. I’m so excited to be one of the students chosen to receive this beautiful scholarship. Thank you so much again PepsiCo and HCC Foundation. Your generous scholarship donation is appreciated.

 

Taylor C. Maxie Jr. – Computer Systems Networking

Taylor C. Maxie Jr. – Computer Systems Networking

Thank you so much for selecting me to receive the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I am very humbled by your generosity. I am a 42-year-old computer science/information technology student. The bulk of my professional background is in the nonprofit sector. For six years, I worked for an organization that provides mentoring and post-release services to high-risk youth and young adults transitioning out of gang culture, and/or incarceration.

I made the decision to transition into the technology field to create better opportunities for myself and my family. A couple of my short-term goals are to complete my Associate of Applied Science degree and acquire the CompTIA A+ certification. These two achievements will open doors that are currently closed in terms of professional opportunities. Within a year’s time of work experience as an IT support analyst, I plan to go for CompTIA Network+ and Security+ certifications.

These accomplishments will empower me to continue performing youth and community work without having to depend on it for survival. The PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship will be a tremendous help to this process. It will allow me to purchase technical equipment that will make the experience with my computer lab assignments a much smoother process.

The scholarship will also cover the costs of CompTIA certification exam vouchers. The computer science program at Houston Community College has been instrumental in helping me blaze a trail of success for this next chapter of my life. Every day that I have been in this program has been a blessing. The PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship allows me to invest in my future, without compromising any of my family’s immediate needs. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity.

Denzel Wilson – Artificial Intelligence

Denzel WilsonI am honored to be awarded the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. As a nontraditional student who has worked hard to earn a good GPA in my first year back in school, it brings me great joy to have that effort recognized. Upon completion of my artificial intelligence associate degree, I wish to transfer to a four-year university to focus on a degree in cognitive science and computer science.

HCC’s implementation of the AI degree plan has changed my life in many ways. The program has inspired me to pursue my dream of creating brain machine interfaces that can help individuals who have brain and spinal cord injuries. The cutting-edge information and resources that are provided to us at HCC help students understand the complexities of machine learning and robotics, and how they affect our world.

This scholarship provides a financial security blanket that is much needed in hard times amidst a pandemic. My family and I would like to thank the donor, the PepsiCo Foundation, and the HCC Foundation for providing me with this great opportunity.

 

Christopher Newkirk – Computer System Networking

Christopher NewkirkFrom the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank you for awarding me this scholarship which will be vital in helping me achieve my educational goals. I have a diverse background which includes 11 years in the United States Army as a combat medic and two tours in Iraq. Currently I work as a bartender, which allows me to interact with the people of my community and have the flexible schedule I need to pursue my cybersecurity degree. I am also a happily married father of three beautiful children.

As a 36-year-old former business major, I am truly optimistic about my future. Upon completing my associate program at Houston Community College, I will transfer to the University of Houston in spring of 2022 to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems, and hope to become a cybersecurity analyst/engineer. Within the next 10 years I would like to obtain my law degree and become a cybersecurity lawyer. The PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship is not only key in my pursuit of a college education, but also in showing my children the importance of education and how it can positively affect the future of our family for generations to come.

African-American families and other families of color for years were denied the right to pursue educational goals in institutions of higher learning. To know there is a scholarship foundation dedicated to the uplifting of minorities in this nation is truly a sign of changing times, and I could not be more grateful. Once again, thank you for awarding me with this fantastic opportunity. It certainly is not taken for granted.

 

Adonis Fitwi – Computer Programming

Adonis FitwiI came to America in 2013 and it was a stark contrast to my country of Ethiopia. The possibilities and opportunities are boundless and if I’m willing to put in the work, I would be able to achieve whatever I wanted. The thing I have wanted to do the most since I was little was to help as many people as I can. I had seen suffering around me back in Ethiopia and how much people barely were able to make ends meet. It made me sad that I didn’t have the ability to help them out in that situation. My educational goal is to complete my associate degree in computer programing and cybersecurity, then transfer to a college or university to get my bachelor’s degree. This PepsiCo Scholarship will help me cover the rest of the fees for attending HCC. I am so grateful that I didn’t need to have my parents pay for my attendance. I am beyond grateful for you allowing me to be able to achieve my goals, and I hope one day I am in a position where I can help as many people as you have.

 

Arath D. Najera – Automotive Technology

Arath NajeraI appreciate the opportunity to receive the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. Life hasn’t always exactly been easy for me and getting through school while working has been a struggle, but with this scholarship a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Now I can get much closer to achieving my dreams and financially provide for my mom who has been my biggest supporter all along. I come from a humble family with low income.

I was born and raised in Houston and graduated with honors from Heights High School in 2019. My dream is to have a mechanic shop and learn more technical skills in areas such as diesel and foreign automobiles. I also want to broaden my knowledge of sports cars and luxury vehicles. My family has been struggling financially since my father left. I have been the man of the house and took on the role of taking care of my mother. This scholarship reminds me that I can help my mom and make her proud of me. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

 

Conniel Lloyd – Auto Body/Collision Repair

Conniel LloydI’m very blessed and thankful to be a recipient of the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I’m a graduate of La Porte High School and continued my education at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M as a business major. My biggest support system was my older cousin who lived with me and my mother. As a first-generation American and the oldest of three boys, this is my opportunity to live the American Dream.

My parents are immigrants from the Caribbean. I quickly learned a lot being on my own, in a different world, meeting other young entrepreneurial minded individuals. Things didn’t go so much as planned but we had the opportunity to open a family owned bar and grill in Missouri, which was one of the most exciting times of my life. Our plans were cut short when my grandmother passed away. My family and I ended up calling it quits, packing up and returning to Houston. I’ve always wanted to gain the knowledge to run my own shop/garage. Receiving this scholarship means so much to me and my family.

 

Demetrio Torrez – Computer Programming

Demetrio TorrezI would like to thank the donor of the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship for giving me the opportunity to continue my education in the U.S. I came from El Salvador three years ago, not knowing much English, but HCC classes have gotten me ready to be a part of the continuing education program. In El Salvador I was a science and computer engineer; I graduated nine years ago. This is one of the reasons why I choose to pursue a career in information technology.

My short-goal is to obtain my certifications in CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+. These certifications will allow me to get a better job in a field I enjoy working in, and it will also provide for my family. The long-term goal is to have a master’s degree in networking and a doctorate degree in cloud security. This scholarship will allow me to be a step closer to my goals in life. This means a lot to me, my family and my wife because we have a little boy on the way, and we want to provide a better future for him. 

 

Arturo Lopez, Jr. – Commercial Truck Driving

Arturo LopezI am thankful for being selected to receive the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I grew up in a low-income, single-parent household with an undocumented mother and a family of six. When I was 19 years old, I was arrested and was sent to prison, and was released in 2015. Coming out of prison at the age of 32 was a very hard transition, but luckily I have my fiancé there to support me and help get me back into the workforce. No one in my family has pursued a high-skill, high-growth job opportunity, either because it’s too much money, or it’s too hard to attain.

Now I will be the first in my family to pursue a workforce career that will lead me to a better employment opportunity. I know that without this scholarship, I would have been unable to do so. I am confident that my success in this program will help keep me out of trouble, and provide me the ability to provide for my family as well as set an example for those that come behind me who were in situations like me.

 

Aderemi Adegboyega – Computer Systems Networking

Aderemi AdegboyegaI am very happy and appreciative to learn that I was selected as one of the recipients of your PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I am a computer systems and networking major specializing in cybersecurity. I plan to pursue a career in cybersecurity upon graduating from Houston Community College. I have only 12 hours left and plan to graduate in fall 2021. I have also been taking some of my certification examinations, so I am one step closer to that goal.

The PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship has lightened my financial burden, which allows me to focus more on the more important aspects of my education. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as your company has helped me.

 

Derrick George – Digital Gaming and Simulation

Derrick GeorgeThank you, PepsiCo for giving me the opportunity to be able to go to school again. This means so much to me and shows me that big corporations do care. I am studying graphic design and working toward a digital gaming & simulation degree. I will graduate in 2023 and hopefully be able to transfer to UT to be able to get a bachelor’s in the graphic design field.

As a long-term goal, I would like to own my own gaming studio and create my own game with its own unique style of play and challenge. I'm so thankful that I finally found a school that offers exactly what I'm looking for in the gaming industry. This scholarship means the world to my mom because now her son can go to school without worrying about having to pay for classes or take out loans and me having to work more hours while attending school. Now I can just focus on my classes and learn in peace.

 

Alex Rodriguez – Computer System Networking

Alex RodriguezThanks to the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship, I can worry less about paying to learn and pay more attention to getting my work done in school. This has truly been an honor to receive this scholarship. After graduating from high school, I thought that I could accomplish more if I went to college. I’m the first one in my family to make it to college and I am ready to make my family proud.

My goals are to make it through college and find the perfect job, and to have a long and happy life. This scholarship will surely help me with my journey through college, as it will give me the motivation to prove that I can work hard and accomplish anything. Thank you so much for the opportunity to do my best in school. This will for sure be an exciting year for me and I have you to thank.

 

Brandon Danini – Automotive Technology

Brandon DaniniThank you so much for selecting me to receive the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I am 18 years of age and Hispanic. I live with my mother and I work at Office Depot. I clock in for about 33 hours a week and I do my very best to try and help my mom with anything I can as far as bills, groceries. etc. Becoming a mechanic has been my lifetime goal, and to own an auto body shop and help people the right way.

The scholarship and classes I choose will not only teach me, but they will guide my future and open many opportunities for me, and it's only the beginning. I thank you for your generosity. My family and I gladly thank you for giving me this opportunity, and it means everything to my mother especially. You have truly made my dreams become reality.

 

Booker T. Dickerson – Heavy Truck, Diesel, and Industrial Technology

Booker DickersonThank you for this this PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship which will help me financially during this pandemic and times of uncertainty. I started working on cars at the age of 14 and I love repairing vehicles. There is a great demand for auto technicians like me.

My goal is to become a master certified technician and one day own my own shop. I am taking these automotive courses so I can be well-educated in fixing high-technology automobiles. Thank you for the donation and your willingness to help me obtain my goals. I really appreciate your generosity.

 

Jamal Brice – Cybersecurity

Jamal BriceThank you for selecting me to receive the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I was born and raised in Houston by my mom and my grandmother. I am the only person in my family to complete high school. Education was not rooted in my family, and I wanted to break the cycle. The importance of education for me and the future generation of my family will start today with this scholarship.

My short-term goal is to finish my bachelor’s degree and get certified in information technology. My long-term is to become an author/producer and change the narrative of black culture. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for this opportunity to further my education. School is expensive, especially with me working and trying to pay back taxes on my grandmother's house who recently passed away. I am not able to afford this HCC program on my own. My family will be proud of the educational background I’ve created for myself. One day I hope to start a nonprofit for people who have limited resources.

 

Jorge Munoz – Computer Programming

Jorge MunozI am sincerely honored to be selected to receive a PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I am a 26-year-old student with a strong passion for computers. Growing up I was always fascinated by anything relating to technology. I spend a lot of my time outside of school working on computers or improving my graphic design skills. I am currently pursuing a degree that will get me one step closer to doing what I love for a living.

My whole life I have grown up in a low-income household so I've always had to work extra hard to afford my tuition. Your generosity will enable me to continue my education and will motivate me to surpass my limits as a student. By awarding me with this scholarship you have lightened my financial burden, which will allow me to focus more on my education. I am truly grateful and honored to be a part of such a special program.

 

Chukwuebuka Onwuzulu – Logistics and Global Supply

Chukwuebuka OnwuzuluThank you for awarding me the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship via the HCC Foundation. I am so grateful. As an immigrant to the United States, getting this scholarship to aid my educational pursuit is a dream come true. This past year has been really challenging with the Covid-19 pandemic but with this scholarship I will be able to get my degree in logistics and global supply chain management, which will help me in achieving my dream to be promoted to a supervisory level in my present place of work. I truly appreciate this great gesture.

 

Cristian Rodriguez – Auto Body/Collision Repair

Cristian RodriguezThank you for this opportunity to receive a PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. My goal is to work in a body collision shop. After getting my certificate at HCC, I plan to get an associate degree in automotive technology and specialize in automotive and body collision repair. This scholarship will help me to reach my goals. I appreciate the help of Felicia Brooks of the HCC Foundation for her kind generosity. With the help of this scholarship my family will be proud of me. I will use this opportunity to continue my studies, and to buy great tools to work on automobiles.

 

Devin Ligon – Automotive Technician

Devin LigonI am currently studying at HCC to become an automotive tech with the dream of becoming a master technician. Recently I was provided a car for a project and thanks to the professors at school I’ve successfully pulled out the engine and in the process of putting a new one in. It’s rewarding to gain experience and do something I really enjoy doing while making a living and going back to school to finish my chemical engineering degree at Prairie View A&M University.

At the same time, I want to become a master technician and plan to open a repair shop so that I can earn a living and start growing my own business. This scholarship means the world to me. Due to the pandemic, my funds haven’t been the best so this scholarship will take some financial burdens off me and my family. Thank you so much for accepting me.

 

Eliseo Gonzalez – Computer Systems Networking

Eliseo GonzalezOn behalf of a grateful new collegiate entering Houston Community College, the experience has been made possible by the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship for the fall 2021 semester. My family is of Latin descent, and we have worked hard in the United States. We are all passionate about higher education, and everyone has supported my academic goals from K-12 and my acceptance into HCC.

I have worked since I was 16 years old, learning skills in addition to my academics. I would like to pursue a career in cybersecurity at HCC to obtain an associate degree and transfer to the university of my choice to complete my bachelor’s degree. My goal is to assist our government and businesses with fraud prevention or any other high-tech cybersecurity issues. I still work in automotive technology, which has assisted our household and myself. Being a distinguished recipient of this scholarship will allow me to reach my academic goals and to help my family.

 

Ivan Lagunas – Cybersecurity   

Ivan LagunasThank you for your generous PepsiCo Scholarship. I was very happy and appreciative to learn that I was selected as the recipient of your scholarship. I am a cybersecurity major and plan to pursue a career in cybersecurity upon graduating from Houston Community College in fall of 2021 with a cybersecurity degree.

Thanks to you, I am one step closer to that goal. By awarding me the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship, you have lightened my financial burden, which allows me to focus more on the most important aspect of school which is learning. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me.

 

Ivan Lopez – Digital Gaming and Simulation

Ivan LopezI would like to thank you very much for selecting me to receive the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship and giving me an opportunity to attend Houston Community College. From elementary through middle school, I was in Alief ISD. In the eighth grade I transferred to Fort Bend ISD and graduated from Hightower High School.

My short-term goals are to graduate from HCC and transfer to the University of Houston and continue learning more about programming video games. My long-term goals are to be able to create my own games and teach others to program games. I think of this scholarship as something that brings me closer to the community. I again would like to thank you for selecting me for this scholarship.

 

Victor Rodriguez – Artificial Intelligence

Victor RodriguezI am a student at Houston Community College and originally from the border town of Ciudad Juarez, right across from El Paso. My passion is technology and computers. I am not a fan of computer gaming. I like the aspect of household computing and in an enterprise environment, with computer networks and operating systems. My short-term goals are to graduate with a degree in artificial intelligence at HCC and to one day become a teacher and inspire students to keep learning just like the teachers that inspire me. This scholarship will help me reach my goals in this vast field of cybersecurity. 

I am still thinking this is a dream because I have never won anything like this in my life. My father used to tell me not to leave it to luck. He would say, “You have your health, you got working arms and working legs. Show people how you are a good worker.” My father did not have the option to go to school. Just like my father I want to be a role model for my nieces and nephews.  I want to thank you for your generosity.

 

Jeff Ogbor – Computer Systems Networking

Jeff OgborI want to thank you so much for awarding me a PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. It will help me pay tuition for my classes and help me to reach my goals as an HCC student. My plan for my future is to have a career in cybersecurity. This is a route that I am excited to embrace and ready to learn at HCC so that I can become a cybersecurity professional. This scholarship and the curriculum at HCC will help me reach this goal. While I attend HCC, I am also into fitness and like to work out in my spare time. I also take part in ride bikes downtown because I am very much into city life.

I am 27 years old and was born in Stockholm, Sweden. I am of Nigerian descent, and my family and I moved here from Sweden in 1998. My family is grateful for this scholarship and want to thank you sincerely for your generosity in selecting me as one of the recipients.

 

Jeremy Sirias – Artificial Intelligence

Jeremy SiriasThank you for allowing me to receive the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I am a certified surgical technologist and have been in this field a little over three years. After the third year I realized that the healthcare field was not for me, and it was time for me to follow my passion in technology. Since I was a child, I enjoyed playing with computers and as an adult my hobbies include building gaming computers and crypto mining rigs. I look forward to my career in artificial intelligence. Thank you for helping me make it happen.

 

Jesus Flores – Computer Systems Networking

Jesus FloresI would like to thank you for the opportunity to further my education through the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. The past year has been very challenging financially due to instability of the retail job market. My family and I appreciate not having to incur more debt to pay for classes and textbooks.

As a non-traditional student returning to school many decades after completing high school, it is not always easy to prioritize my education. I look forward to completing my cybersecurity degree soon with the ability to pursue a more stable career.

 

Marcos S. Abrego – Automotive Technology

Marcos AbregoI want to thank PepsiCo Uplift for the opportunity to receive these benefits. Lately I have been wondering how I am going to pay for my career in which I have nothing but the willingness to learn. I am 21years old and a resident of the Houston area. I went to school from elementary to high school in the Alief ISD. It wasn't easy getting to this level of education considering the environment around me and other factors that held me back.

My passion has always been to work with cars, and I was always working with them with my uncle Douglas on the weekends. My short-term goals are to obtain a scholarship and to get a car. My long-term goals are to graduate from HCC as a technician, and to also to get a house. This scholarship and the HCC program I have chosen will help me reach my goals. I appreciate PepsiCo Uplift and your generosity. It means a lot to me and my family and I am truly thankful for being chosen for this blessing.

 

Mauricio Medina – CISCO Certified Network Associate

Mauricio MedinaI want to express my gratitude for awarding me the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship to help pursue my career. It gives me the opportunity to achieve my certificate and build a better future for myself and my family. I have worked for Community Health Choice a little over five years and have enjoyed every moment. We are a nonprofit organization that assists with medical coverage of Medicaid, CHIP and Marketplace. I have worked in the call center environment for eight years and I’ve gained a lot of experience. This scholarship will help me to gain the knowledge needed to get me where I want to be within the company. Thank you again for the opportunity you have given myself and my family.

 

Nikita Garcia – Automotive Technology

Nikita GarciaI would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for choosing me for the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I’m a proud mother of five and completed a short time in rehab, realizing that I wanted to finish school. Dropping out of school in the eighth grade was not the best time in my life. Having the time to grow and become this strong woman I am today is special, thanks to my husband of six years. He showed me that school was important, and I decided to get my GED and enroll in automotive technology.

Working on vehicles became a passion of mine, seeing my husband working on motorcycles. Opening a shop would be our long-term goal together. This scholarship will help a lot when it comes all my school supplies. During the hard times these past two years, this opportunity is a blessing in so many ways. Investing my time to improve my life, not knowing what I had inside me, is an amazing feeling. This will open more doors for my kids, teaching them that owning your own business is far better than working for someone else, which is not bad either. Showing them that they can make a living doing what you love to do is a unique opportunity. Thank you again for this blessing.

 

Pedro Matul – Computer Systems Networking

Pedro MatulIt is an honor to be chosen for the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship at HCC for the fall 2021 semester. I am a Cisco student and I am gaining knowledge in network administration. I plan to graduate in fall 2021. I am currently working at a jewelry store as an online sales manager, but I hope soon to be able to enter the IT field and put into practice everything I have learned and be able to contribute to our community. After my graduation I will pursue a career in computer information systems. Thanks to you, I am one step closer to that goal.

By awarding me the PepsiCo Foundation Uplift Scholarship, you have lightened my financial burden which allows me to focus more on the most important aspect of school, learning. This scholarship allows me to work less hours and focus on my studies and additional educational opportunities. Thank you for your support of HCC students.

 

Wend-Yaoda Jean Edouard Tarpaga – Computer Programming

Wend-Yaoda TarpagaI am honored to be one of this year’s recipients of the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. Thanks to your donation, I will be able to continue my education at Houston Community College. I am currently a junior with a major in computer programming, applications development, and cloud computing specialization. I have two classes left and I will be graduating in spring 2022. My dedication and passion for computer programming has allowed me to achieve a GPA of 3.25, and I plan to work hard this semester to raise it higher.

In addition to my academic pursuits, I am currently working at Labcorp as an assistant on the overnight shift. I am also applying for internships in computer programming to acquire experience while I am still in school. My plan after graduation is to find employment and to continue my education at the University of Houston. My educational pursuits would be difficult financially this semester without the generous donation of the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. Thank you for enabling me to reach my fullest personal and professional potential.

 

David Love – Automotive Technology

David LoveIt is said that when others believe and invest in you, it motivates you to believe and to continue to invest more in yourself. I just want to give my sincere thanks for the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. This gives me more strength and more conviction to keep striving. I’m 46 years old and was born in Galveston. I was raised in a single-parent home and grew up in two different places – the Texas Gulf Coast and the West Coast in South Central Los Angeles. I come from an upbringing where opportunities were few due to the crime and economic disadvantages.

I have had my share of the good and bad since I decided to get my GED and acquire a few vocational certificates. It has given me rebirth and a new outlook about myself and my own potential. There were good people on this journey that helped me get to the next level. They looked beyond my race, my economic and social status, and whatever I’ve done wrong in my lifetime to impart to me their wisdom with love.

The faculty and staff at Houston Community College are among those who looked beyond everything to take me in, and they have continued to help me in building a better life. My long-term goal is to start my own automotive business, specializing in automotive electronics. I want to go beyond just attaining my associate degree and to make my family proud of me. This has encouraged some of my other family members (nephews) to get on the good foot.

 

Christian Gariet – Automotive Technology

Christian GarietThank you for awarding me the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I am a former student at Houston Community College attending the automotive program. I really enjoy cars, both driving and doing maintenance on them. My educational passions are learning more about vehicles and how each mechanism works. My short-term goal in my career as an auto technician is to master the basics of this program and doing things the correct way. My long-term goal is to become a master auto technician at a well-known dealership.

This scholarship will help me achieve my goals by providing financial assistance for tools that can get pricey in this industry, but thanks to the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship I have all that covered. I am very grateful that this foundation was so generous to pick me of all people to help me pursue my goals; without them I don’t think I would be as motivated as I am now. My family can’t thank you enough for providing this amazing opportunity most people don’t get. They see this as a gift from God from all the hard work that I have done to get in the position I am in today. This scholarship means so much to me and I will not take this opportunity for granted.

 

Nathan Casas – Automotive Technology

Nathan CasasI would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your kindness in awarding me the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. I am very honored to be the recipient of this award. I am currently enrolled at HCC taking classes as a full-time student in the automotive program. My short-term goal is getting my certificate as an automotive technician. My long-term goal is to become a general manager or Audi master tech.

Receiving this scholarship motivates me to give 110 percent in class and complete my certification. It also helps me go a step forward to reaching my goal of purchasing tools that will be needed throughout the course and my career path. My family and I are really thankful for your generosity. It means so much because we are struggling financially, and this scholarship just takes some relief off our backs. I thank you for your willingness and kindness to help me achieve my goals.

 

Chukwuemeka Eleweke – Database Administration

Chukwuemeka ElewekeMy short-term goal is to be a database administrator, and leaning towards data and cybersecurity in the future. This scholarship program will help me reach my goals financially and I appreciate your generosity. The unique PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship opportunity means a lot to me and my family. Thank you so much.

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PepsiCo Foundation Uplift Scholarship Program