Scholar Category: Education

Jhovani Becerra

Project: My Puksta Project will focus on engaging high school students to advocate for better school discipline policies/practices to be implemented in Denver Public Schools. The goal is to ensure that students have access to a quality education without any barriers. Another thing for this year is that I want to help prepare new college students in any challenges in order for them keep on track with their academic plan and prevent any chance of them to fall behind.


Inspiration: As an undocumented immigrant, I have been exposed to the social inequities in our culture. There are forms of systematic oppression that linger in our communities. Observing the excessive exclusionary discipline practices in my middle school has sparked a passion in me to prevent the appalling consequences these practices have on a students education. I want all schools to have a supportive school environment, like I had in my High School.


Future Plans for Project: The bigger picture of my project is to abolish institutional barriers in education so all students can have an opportunity to succeed. Slowly making progress through advocacy to change the cultural traditions to discipline to more progressive and humane practices.

Eduardo Antonio Hernandez

Project: My Puksta project is an after school mentoring program to empower students in believing that education is for them.

Inspiration: I was lucky enough to have a mentor in my life that pushed me to continue higher education. But I believe the conversation can start in middle school instead of junior of high school.

Future Plans for Project: Impacting the students is my main goal. I want to be someone they can talk to and at the same time make them have hope.

Anarely Marquez-Gomez

Project: Raices is a community organization which provides legal services and presentations to immigrants in the Denver area and beyond. I have partnered with the AILA and various groups to provide legal workshops on various themes such as, “What to do if ICE is at your door,” “Roadways to Citizenship,” and individual connections with lawyers. The project has had tremendous success and has helped bring ease of mind to the community!

Inspiration: I am a Dreamer and I have always noticed the crippling fear that swept through the community due to a lack of knowledge about individual rights.

Future Plans for Project: I hope to bring knowledge to the community and allow them to extend their full potential by giving them the confidence necessary to navigate the legal system.

Bailey Cross

Project: My community engagement project is The (Blank) Monologues. Inspired by The Vagina Monologues, The (Blank) Monologues is a student written and performed production about social issues facing students on campus. These issues include by are not limited to sexual assault, domestic violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, and more. The target population served is the CSU community including students and staff, as well as our beneficiary, Crossroads Safe House.

Inspiration: I realized that there were so many issues that college students face, and all too often they are told that they should not discuss their experiences and they are swept under the rug. I firmly believe that we cannot solve these issues unless they are talked about in the open and put front and center.

Future Plans for Project: I hope to provide a platform for survivors to share their stories and let others know that if they have similar experiences, they are not alone. I want to ensure that these issues cannot be ignored.

David Purcella

Project: Teaching and mentoring young disabled students in literacy, and other areas of interest while making them more confident entering their classroom. In addition to teaching and mentoring, I hope to inspire those to further their education and getting a degree.

Inspiration: I am inspired by my history, and how I have previously struggled to learn how to read, write, and speak without facing issues of my own.

Future Plans for Project: I hope that I impact the young students I help, and that they see a positive change in their way of reading, writing, and speaking.

Edwin Mendoza Olea

Project: My Puksta Project for the upcoming year is to unite all Colorado campuses and student groups that work with DACA and undocumented students and continue advocating for DACA students.

Inspiration: I myself am a DACA recipient so I have first hand experience on what it feels like to grow up being undocumented and some of the struggles that come with it and i want to facilitate some of those struggles for others.

Future Plans for Project: What I plan to accomplish is to be an advocate for DACA students and unite people in making a change and push acts like Dream Act, Bridge Act, and American Hope Act.

Emma Piller

Project: I plan on working alongside laborers and building labor rights trainings for service industry and construction workers in my local communities. This will include working alongside labor rights organizations and lawyers. I also want to organize more translators to work alongside legal councilors.

Inspiration: I work with several undocumented americans who feel cheated by our boss and don’t feel they can properly advocate for themselves because of language barriers, fear of consequences, and lack of education.

Future Plans for Projects: I hope to improve the working conditions and accountability within my own workplace as well as on Pearl Street in Boulder. I want employees to feel confident and satisfied in their jobs and employers to feel a responsibility for their workers.