Scholar Category: Education

Adriana Fierro Mena

Major: Entrepreneurship

Project: What I would like to pursue for my Puksta Project is equal educational opportunity for minorities. From elementary and forward, motivating and providing resources to students of color to attend higher education and advanced classes such as honors, AP and IB in order to promote and have more diversity in advanced education.

Inspiration: What inspired me to choose this project was my experience in the education system. I grew up taking honors, AP, and IB classes which were predominately white. I always felt out of place and my peers and teachers never helped me feel included or smart enough. I would like to encourage and motivate students of color to take these advanced classes because we are all worthy of a higher education.

Future Plans: What I hope to accomplish is making advanced classes more diverse. By making these classes more diverse more and more students of color will feel comfortable and worthy enough to take advanced classes which in the long run benefit their academic career.

Reina Ortiz

Major: Public Policy

Project: I plan to learn about how different districts determine the conditions of their local schools. Through research and testimonial information, I seek to identify which policy method would work best for bringing equitable opportunities to all schools. On a large scale, education requires more local and federal investment, so that all children have access and opportunity.


Inspiration: Growing up I went to school to a densely populated public elementary school and then obtained a scholarship to attend a private school. This experience allowed me to see the differences between these two institutions of education, and how some children, given their economic background, are granted a much greater opportunity within their education. This difference had much to do with funding but was also influenced by culture, pedagogies, and expectations, all of which seemed influenced by race, class, and socioeconomic status. My hope is that all kids, regardless of background, have the opportunity to a quality education.

Future Plans: My hope is to learn more information about how the educational system affects younger children and in what ways it could be improved so that every child reach their highest potential. Through Public Policy, I’d like to learn how we can create sustained change for K-12 public schools in Denver and also across the US.


Giovani Valladares

Major: undecided

Project: Currently I’m working in CCESL’s youth organizing program to help high school student produce change in their communities. In the future, I want to work more with students on tutoring/mentoring to push more students to make it to college.

Inspiration: I grew up in more underfunded areas of Denver where opportunities were not readily available. I wanted to change the way I grew up for those younger than me as the few opportunities I was given changed my life. I want to be that change that I received.

Future Plans: I want to push low-income students to pursue their education. I want to give them the tools to be able to get scholarships and get accepted.

Divya Bhattarai

Major: Accounting

Project: Spreading student loans and debt awareness in DPS High School.

Inspiration: The raising of student loans and debt in society inspired me to work with high school students regarding student loans. Student loans should not be normalized because it harms students after graduation.

Future Plans: With my project, I wish to get more students to apply for scholarships and find alternate ways to finance for college instead of getting loans. I want to make sure the students that I help graduate with high school knowing they don’t have student loans to worry about later.

Jacqueline Reyes

Major: Political Science

Project: I’m interested in youth education because, in many low-income communities, young people lack the opportunity to pursue higher education.

Inspiration: I chose this project because, in my personal experience, I had to commute 45 minutes every day from my community to access a quality education. Leaving my community was a daily challenge for me because I never had the opportunity to connect with fellow youth from my own community.

Future Plans: With my community engagement and social impact work, I hope to create opportunities for local youth, ensuring they don’t face the challenges I did in accessing education. My goal is to foster a supportive environment and empower them to thrive within their community.

Yoseline “Yosii” Rivera

Major: Sociology with a concentration in criminology and legal study

Project: For my Puksta Project I want to research campus safety on campus. I believe for a student to be successful they have to feel safe on campus, being in an environment that is uncomfortable can take a mental toll on students.

Inspiration: I was inspired to work on this social issue due to my not feeling safe on campus, I then started talking to other students and noticed this wasn’t only affecting me but so many other students. I want my project to not only shed light on my issues but on others as well, I want my voice to be the voice for others as well.

Future Goals: I want to create an app where students have easier access to asking for help with a press of a button. There are a few blue lights on campus but not many students are aware of them, also having it on your phone is easily more accessible. This app will also be able to use discreetly to prioritize the students’ safety without having to call anyone.

Miguel Hernandez

Major: Computer Science

Project: I am considering a way to give accessible and portable wifi, including computers, to students who don’t have access to these commodities. These will help students with school, work, and everyday use.

Inspiration: During high school, I didn’t have my laptop. However, I received a computer from a class program I was in called kidsTek. I did well in the class, even receiving Student of the Year, and for being a good student, they gifted me a laptop, which I still use to this day.

Future Goals: I hope that students will have easy access to technology, which will enhance their educational life- and their life in general. Especially in our modern time, low-income families who don’t have access to technology fall behind in many opportunities. I wish to give them those opportunities.

Pastor Niyogusengwa

Major: Business

Project: Researching and learning for personal epistemology.

Inspiration: I would say many kids grow up participating in many different communities and as you advance in grade school many grade school kids might only focus on one thing so I want them to have a place that can allow them to talk and participate in many different forms of learning.

Future Goals: I hope to be able to boost self-confidence in individuals. I also want to create a place one day students can meet.

Gerson Rojas Flores

Major: Journalism

Project: Make a documentary to showcase the struggles that first-generation and undocumented students are faced with when going to college

Inspiration: Family

Future Plans: I hope to increase the support CSU gives its first generations and undocumented students.

Jose Gutierrez

Major: Cinema Studies

Project: Practically what I stated over on the top, doing a documentary and using the power of storytelling to be able to bring a community together. With a sense of belonging as well as connecting to points to hopefully bring about possible solutions to said problems.

Inspiration: Well I love movies, and I hope to become a filmmaker one day. Doing this project not only connects my passion but also focuses on areas of mental health and communities that I know struggle and come from similar backgrounds as me.

Future Plans: I hope to make an impact with storytelling, allowing people to heal.