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© 2019 by Yonkers Partners in Education

“YPIE gave me a sense of family.  They have given me resources to get into college, emotional support, help with the little or big things in life.  A place to go, a place where I can be myself. As old as I get, I will never forget the amazing people in YPIE. They believed in me every step of the way.”

  • YPIE Scholar, Yonkers High School, 2015-2019

  • YPIE Regeneron STEM Scholar, 2016-2019

  • College Student, Trinity College

  • Intended Major:  Environmental Science

How did you get involved in YPIE?

 

Citlalli’s mom heard about YPIE through a call to all families in the Yonkers Public School district.  Since Citlalli would be the first in her family to go through the college process, her mom strongly encouraged her to apply.  After a phone interview and online application, Citlalli learned she was accepted into YPIE and her journey to college began.

 

Citlalli one of the first cohort of students to come after school to a new learning space, the YPIE College Zone.  At the College Zone, Citlalli received extra tutoring in math and science, and participated in a new program in coding and game design.  

“When I first started studying geometry at the College Zone, I was so scared to use a protractor.  But, my YPIE mentor was so encouraging and patient. He really helped me and appreciated my curiosity to always learn more. It was a resource I didn’t have at my school.”

 

How did you get involved in the YPIE Regeneron STEM Institute?

 

In the spring of 10th grade, Citlalli was introduced to the YPIE Regeneron STEM Institute, an in-depth science research program through which students research, collect data, and present findings on a topic of their choice.  

 

When thinking about her research topic, Citlalli was encouraged to consider ideas that tie most closely to her interests.  She was volunteering at the Bezack Center in Yonkers, an organization focused on the health of the Hudson River. When Citlalli learned that there was an issue with decreasing population of eels in the Hudson River, this piqued her curiosity.

“When I learned that there was an issue with decreasing population of eels in the Hudson River, I did some research and found it very interesting.  I was curious about what factors could be influencing that.”

 

At the end of Junior year, Citlalli presented her research at the Westlake Science Fair.  While she was nervous as the judging took place, Citlalli was elated to hear as the awards were presented for her Environmental Science category: “This is the first time that anyone from Yonkers has ever competed in an event like this one, and get an award for their research. From Yonkers, in 3rd place, Citlalli Rojas!”

 

As she walked to the stage, Citlalli was thinking “I did this for Yonkers, I did this for myself.  This one moment will change everything.”

How to you prepare for the college application process?

 

During Junior year, Citlalli started SAT prep, creating a list of possible colleges, and working on her college essay. Her essay highlighted her experiences with YPIE and most important, how Citlalli had grown through YPIE.  

 

As a Senior, Citlalli worked with her YPIE College Advisor to apply for financial aid and visited several schools.  When she visited Trinity College, she really liked the campus and the supportive community. She did a fly-in where she had the chance to stay overnight – and fell in love with the school.  Once she applied, she anxiously waited to hear.

“I spent lots of time editing my essay and that really paid off.  When I opened my acceptance letter, I was so happy and filled with tears.  It was a moment I’ll never forget. I called so many of the YPIE staff who had been with me every step of the way.”

How has this impacted your family?

“My parents sacrificed a lot to get us here.  They came to this country to provide opportunities for me and my siblings – something they didn’t have when they were younger.  It made me work harder.”

 

“I am the first in my family to go to college.  I told myself as a freshman that I would go to college.  I worked as hard as I could to minimize the number of loans I would need.  First, I found out that I was accepted to Trinity. Then, I found out I got a very generous financial aid package.  I wanted my siblings to know that this is possible. If I can do it, so can they.”

What will you bring to college as a result of YPIE?

“YPIE taught me to be myself, to feel more confident, and be more comfortable meeting new people.  I’ve learned how to advocate for myself. I feel much more prepared. If you stand confidently and speak confidently, people will believe you.”  

What will you always remember about YPIE?

“YPIE gave me a sense of family.  They have given me resources to get into college, emotional support, help with the little or big things in life.  A place to go, a place where I can be myself. As old as I get, I will never forget the amazing people in YPIE. They believed in me every step of the way.”

 

“YPIE has helped us so much.  It was really inspiring to see YPIE help kids that have less and they want to give us more.  So many more kids in Yonkers are going to go to great colleges and will do great things in the future because of YPIE”