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IME-BECAS Program recognizes 26 students at Metropolitan State

Posted September 27, 2019


Twenty-six Metropolitan State University students were awarded scholarships from the Mexican Consulate’s Institute of Mexicans Abroad [IME] Fellowship Program.

The students were named at an award event Sept. 26 at Metropolitan State. Head Consul Gerardo Guerrero Gomez of the Consulate of Mexico in Saint Paul visited Metropolitan State University to confer the award.

Latinos are one of the fastest growing segments of the US population. This is illustrated by the fact that today the United States is the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world after Mexico. Over the course of the last two decades, the Latino population in the state of Minnesota has also experienced unprecedented growth, with a significant portion coming from an influx of new immigrants from Mexico. This growth is even mirrored by the Latino student enrollment at Metropolitan State University.

To help students of Mexican origin/ancestry who often face crucial challenges, Metropolitan State and the Mexican Consulate entered into a formal partnership with the university’s participation in the Institute of Mexicans Abroad Scholarship Program. The program is a collaborative scholarship program which has been instrumental in advancing a shared vision of strengthening a supportive network that paves the way for students to thrive.

This is the fifth consecutive year, Metropolitan State University has been selected to participate in the IME-BECAS (Scholarship) Program sponsored by the Mexican Consulate’s Institute of Mexicans Abroad (IME) Fellowship Program (learn more here). Metropolitan State University is the only Minnesota institution to be chosen as a partner for the award program.

The IME-BECAS Program is another important opportunity to serve Latino students of Mexican origin and ancestry who attend Metropolitan State University. In partnership with the Mexican Consulate, IME-BECAS is a scholarship program instrumental in alleviating some of the financial strains that impede students from accessing and pursuing their postsecondary education.

This year's awardees are:

  • Carien Amezcua Arellano
  • Chrischelle Bjerke
  • Erika Calderon
  • Yazmin Carrillo Vazquez
  • Lauro Gilberto Clara-Flores
  • Graciela Duran Salazar
  • Berlynn Fleury
  • Amanda Flores
  • Jesus Eduardo Flores 
  • Nelcy Flores
  • Jasmine Gonzalez-Vidal
  • Maria Hernandez-Becerra
  • Jose Roberto Labastida
  • Giselle Lemus-Diaz
  • Evelin Luna Vazquez
  • Leonel Mejia-Toribio
  • Maria Mendez Enriquez
  • Yareli Montes-Cenciceros
  • Citlali Morales Aria 
  • Monica Munoz Tapi 
  • Antavia Paredes-Beaulieu 
  • Sergio Quiroz
  • Maria Rebollar Vallego 
  • Estrellita Sanchez Rivera 
  • Brenda Tirado
  • Erika Wakefield-Zubiate


During the program, students shared their stories and challenges.

My Story

“I only need 7 credits to graduate. This fall semester I will take 4 upper division credits at Metropolitan State University, and 3 credit on elementary statistics math at NHCC. After the semester ends, I will get my associates in liberal arts. My career does not stop there. I have applied to get into the Social Work program, as a part time student at Metro State University…

I know that there may be a lot of other students applying for this scholarship, I think that we all deserve it because we all have our problems that we may be going through. I personally would love to win the scholarship, because I really struggle each semester trying to pay for my classes, and text books. I work hard to pass my classes each semester, because I know that I pay out of pocket, and I wouldn’t like to fail, and be a waste of money. If I get this scholarship, I will work even harder, because I know that someone is counting on me to pass my classes, and I would not want to disappoint anyone. I would demonstrate IME-BECAS that giving me this scholarship won’t be a disappointment.”


My Story

“Even though my mother has been in the U.S for almost nineteen years, she never learned to speak English and she never learned to drive but all these obstacles never stopped her from achieving her goals. As I grow older, I continue to learn the value of my culture and my unique upbringing. Growing up Mexican I learned to work hard for what I wanted even if the odds were against me. When I graduate, I will be the first person in my family to have any college education and a degree. I want to set a good example for my siblings and to other young kids in my family and community. My biggest wish is to influence other Mexican students to pursue their career aspirations. I want to be a role model because when I was growing up I didn’t have one. I didn’t know anyone close to me that had gone to college and I think that had an impact on my views of college. Throughout high school I didn’t really think about going to college; it wasn’t until I started seeing other students getting accepted to college that I started to seriously think about what I was going to do after I graduated high school. Before this I thought that after high school I would just start working like my mom, but as I matured I wanted to do more. Although my mother was a great role model, I never want any Mexican child to think that because they are a minority they cannot strive for better opportunities. I want to influence my community to break the cycle of low education and poverty…

Despite the financial struggle and difficulties my family has faced, it has only fueled my ambition to pursue higher education. My mom has made huge sacrifices for me and I want to show her that they were all worth it. In the future I hope to find a job in my field that gives back to the Mexican community. I hope to have a positive impact in people’s lives and change the negative stereotypes others may have about Mexican people. Being Mexican isn’t just about where your family comes from, it is a way of life that I hope to pass on to other generations. I will never forget my family’s ancestry or struggles. There is no doubt that IME-BECAS Scholarship would aid me in finally finishing my last remaining classes and allow me to achieve my dream.”


My Story

My academic goals at the moment is to complete my undergrad next year. After that, I will work for my current company for a couple of years before attempting to get my Master’s, either by paying for it myself for finding a company willing to pay for it for me. Not only do I want to be the first person in my family to get their bachelor’s degree, I want to be the first to go beyond that and get my Master’s in Computer Science, specifically machine learning. With this scholarship, I would have less on my mind about how I am going to afford to school and be more focused on my schoolwork and future plans. This will help my mental health, as it is one less thing to worry about. 

I also want to spend more time helping other people of color to become more proficient with computers, so they can also have an opportunity to discover something great in technology that I did. I want to be a leader for the community I love. I want to connect to kids that loved the same snacks I did growing up, the same shows, the same games, and the same language. With this scholarship, I will not have to focus as much on work and will be able to focus on helping others and improving myself.

I should receive this award since I am driven to prove myself. I want to prove myself to my parents, to show them that I was able to do something great in my life. I want to prove to myself that I am able to accomplish this, even with all the obstacles I have had in my life before. I know I am the right candidate for this scholarship and will put it to great use.”


My Story

“… I came to the United States at 6 months of age because my parents wanted a better life for me and my siblings. Although my time in Mexico was short-lived it is still a huge part of me. I carry my homeland in every situation I encounter… I am Mexican before I am anything else and I know that a lot of what I do is because of where I am from. “Echale ganas hija! (keep going daughter of mine) are the words I heard growing up in my home. Short but powerful, they have been enough to get me to where I am today. My parents play a huge part in my academic journey, and all that I have achieved thus far has to do with their simple yet powerful words of motivation. This year will be the first year in history for my family to celebrate a college graduate. I just need to finish my student teaching. Yes, I want to become an elementary teacher! Besides my roots and my family, my teachers are also to be thanked in my educational journey. My favorite teacher always reassured me with positive reinforcements that I was doing well. He never made me feel like I didn’t belong in his class… 

I want to be able to have a positive impact on students, especially students of color who may doubt their abilities like I did as a child. This semester is my last semester at Metropolitan State which consists of me completing the last core area of the Urban Teaching Program, student teaching…

I am grateful that I am a Latina working with many kids who look like me. The principle of the school that I am student teaching at (who is a Latina as well ) was excited for me. She gave me the sincerest congratulations after I told her that In December I will earn a bachelor's degree in Education…We have been advised to not work because it may interfere with our performance. For this reason, I have no financial income for the next three months. I received some financial aid, but there is still a balance…Receiving the IME-BECAS scholarship will help with my performance in student teaching. 

Thank you for taking the time to read about my educational journey!”


My Story

“I am very appreciative that this collaboration has been created to support the Hispanic-Latino community, it shows a great deal of inclusion and awareness. I grew up with two brothers, two sisters, and both my parents. I have seen the struggles my parents have endured during my whole existence and I, like many others, want to give my parents what they gave to me and my siblings. They have raised me to have good morals and ethics in life and how to value myself and how to respect others, for that I will forever be grateful for my parents…

I enjoy working and helping people get connected with local domestic violence, sexual violence, or human trafficking resources and provide the support these men, women, and children are looking for… My goal is to contribute as much as I can to my Hispanic-Latino community as well as all other minorities in America no matter who they are.

This scholarship will help me tremendously in the following months. Being a college student can be exhausting if you are working full time and are also planning to go to school full time. I have been paying out of pocket every year since I started college and it has been difficult to finish on schedule…The overall impact this scholarship has on my life is extreme. I will not have to worry about making large payments toward tuition nor will I be stressed about helping my family with groceries or paying bills and rent on time. I will have time and serenity knowing I will not have to worry about money. I plan to graduate soon and I hope that this scholarship will help me meet this goal with no more setbacks.

Thank you for your consideration and taking the time to read this letter. Again, I would like to thank you very much for creating this scholarship for students like me. I will continue to strive for greatness and do my best to provide support to those around me. Setbacks can be unpredictable, but I am not the type of person to surrender. Thank you all very much for listening.”