No barrier is too large for 2004 Most Valuable Student Scholarship recipient Alma Moedano of Yuma, Arizona, to overcome. As the first in her family to graduate from high school, Alma knew early on that no obstacle was insurmountable. Her stamina paid off when she received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, also becoming the first in her family to graduate from college. She states, “I am thankful to the Elks National Foundation for its contribution during the four years of my undergraduate study, which allowed me to focus on academics.”
Alma’s ENF scholarship helped her to make the most of her college experience by taking on leadership roles in many service organizations to assist others in overcoming their own obstacles. She served as President of the Chicano Caucus, Co-Chair of the Pace Council for Civic Values, Breaktrip Coordinator for the Student Volunteers Council and an elementary school mentor. She left her legacy on campus as the founding member of the Latino Coalition of Princeton, through which she established a mentoring program and a Latino Studies Program.
Her drive to serve others was not limited to Princeton’s campus. Throughout college, she spent her summers interning at educational programs for public school students in urban communities. In the summer of 2006, she traveled to Rio de Janeiro where she participated in a Harvard sponsored language immersion program and completed an internship at an education-based non-governmental organization.
Today, Alma works as a Research Assistant in K-12 education at MDRC, an organization dedicated to improving social and education policies for low-income people. Following this two year commitment, Alma hopes to pursue a masters or law degree that will allow her to work on public policy issues.
Alma is grateful for having the opportunity to use her own education as a tool for helping others. Moedano explains, “Five years ago, I didn’t think I would be given an opportunity to study at one of the best universities in the country.” Today she is helping others fulfill their dreams.