LEAP Foundation DC is pleased to announce the award of its first-ever Eleanor Holmes Norton Scholarship to Gissell Botero, a neuroscience major on track for a pre-med degree at Bucknell University. The scholarship recognizes a student who, in the face of adversity, has continued on the path to higher education.
Botero is an alumni of the Latino Student Fund (LSF), a group that is devoted to addressing disparities in access to education for Hispanic students in Washington, D.C. Since its founding in 1994, LSF has served more than 4,000 youth across its programs, with the goal of increasing levels of educational attainment in the community.
The opportunity to pursue a higher education only became a possibility for Botero about 10 years ago, when she immigrated with her mother to the United States from Colombia. Not only was Botero faced with the difficulties of adjusting to a new way of living, but she also was tasked with learning a new language at just 11 years old. The Latino Student Fund recognized her incredible dedication to education by presenting her with the Posse Foundation Scholarship, a full ride to the school of her choice.
“Gissell is someone who consistently pulls through, and does a great job with a smile and friendly face,” said Maria Fernanda Borja, president and CEO of the LSF. “Gissell’s commitment to her education and her dedication to improving the lives of others is evident. She has the academic qualifications, but, even more so, she has the maturity, motivation, and connectivity to be a student leader.”
As the son of Trinidadian immigrants, LEAP founder and CEO Dr. Clayton Lawrence is no stranger to the hardships of immigration. He also understands the exponential power and effect of education. He pursued a career in biology, later competing for and accepting an Army scholarship to attend the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor.
LEAP is well-aligned with the mission of the Latino Student Fund in its efforts to provide education and training opportunities to meet the aspirations of the underserved citizens of the District of Columbia.
“The Latino Student Fund has been a great partner to help us bridge the gap between hope and achievement in the D.C. area,” Lawrence said. “This particular student comes from a family of immigrants. We, at LEAP Foundation DC, are so impressed that Gissell has decided she wants to give back by helping other citizens have access to care, improving the health and well-being of the community, as a whole.”
LEAP Foundation DC will award the $1,000 scholarship in support of Botero’s plans to pursue her education by studying abroad in Copenhagen on December 19, 2017. The Foundation has committed to awarding the scholarship annually in the name of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, in recognition of her tireless efforts as a stateswoman and a longstanding supporter of LEAP Foundation DC. This is the first scholarship named in her honor.