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“YPIE is definitely by far the best decision of my life. The skills that I learned in YPIE, the whole journey, taught me a lot about myself as a person and what I am capable of doing.”

  • YPIE Scholar, Saunders Technical and Trades High School (Magnet: BioChem)

  • YPIE Ambassador

  • Incoming College Freshman

How did you first get involved with YPIE?

Jesed and her family immigrated from Mexico when she was four years old. Always a very hard working student, Jesed was especially interested in science. When she was applying to different high schools in Yonkers, Saunders was her first choice. “I knew right away that I wanted to study BioChem and at Saunders, I could focus on science all through high school and learn even more.”

After a friend told her about YPIE, she applied. “I wanted to be involved in lots of programs during high school and take advantage of any opportunity that came my way. YPIE was the first thing I ever got accepted into. I was so excited to tell my parents.”

Jesed remembers her first few days at the YPIE College Zone, making towers out of newspaper with other students and learning more about being part of YPIE. “I liked hearing about how they would help with everything for college and be there for us for all four years. My parents don’t know a lot about the college process and was so glad that if I had questions about the future, I could ask YPIE.”

How did being involved in YPIE help as you entered high school?

“Since I started in Freshman year, I got to meet so many students through YPIE, even those I didn’t know at Saunders. We became friends and are still friends to this day.”

Jesed recalls that YPIE helped her to adapt to a different way of teaching than she was used to in middle school. She focused on preparing for the Regents in Earth Science and Algebra.

“Most classes are just 45 minutes and teachers have 30 students at a time. I wasn’t getting enough learning at school and was so scared to take the Regents. At the College Zone, I learned so many tricks. I even taught my friends how to prepare for the Algebra Regents. YPIE provided help in so many subjects. If I had a test coming up, the doors were always open at YPIE whenever I needed. They were always there to help me.”

How did you continue to be involved with YPIE during the summer?

Jesed participated in the summer programs offered by YPIE, which involved working in teams to design solutions to address issues in the community. “I felt really productive. I knew that opportunities and new connections would come as a result of this.”

Because Jesed was studying BioChem, one of her YPIE advisors invited her to participate in a Summer Program after her Junior year at the New York Medical College. Jesed worked with one of her YPIE friends and a mentor on research involving Pannexin 1, a protein that regulates the energy that comes in and out of cells and can increase the severity of seizures.

This summer experience was also very meaningful for her father. “My father earned his degree in Biology when he was growing up in Mexico. When he came to this country, he was denied a position in science, although that was always what he wanted to do. He was extremely proud when he picked me up every day at the New York Medical College. It was something that he wanted to do, but didn’t get to. It was a passion for him that I am living out because of YPIE.”

How has YPIE helped during your college process?

Jesed met with her YPIE College Advisors throughout Junior year, which included meetings with her parents. While Jesed knew she would like to study science in college, they spoke about the type of school she might like, proximity to home, and financial aid options.

Jesed visited several colleges with YPIE and worked closely with her advisors and mentor on her college essay. “Rewrite, rewrite, it was a long process. We wanted the college essay to translate who I am as a person and how I have become a better person because of the challenges I faced.”

“The college process has been challenging but I never felt alone. My advisors were always checking up on me and always there for me. If I had done this alone, it would have been so overwhelming, especially with all the school work on top of this. There is a lot that no one tells you about -- everything is complicated. Financial aid is very complicated. YPIE made it much easier to navigate and much more manageable.”

Jesed’s older sister attends a local community college. “For my parents, my experience applying to college has been very different. My sister did not have the chance to apply to many colleges. They have seen all the ways that YPIE has been there for me.”

What from YPIE will you bring to college?

“The skills that I learned in YPIE, the whole journey, taught me a lot about myself as a person and what I am capable of doing. The opportunities and challenges helped me to enhance skills I didn’t even know I have.”

“YPIE gives you a lot of motivation that I will never forget and will bring with me to college.To be a better person. YPIE taught me over the 4 years to be determined, to be independent and to strive for success. I learned things that others not in YPIE didn’t get the opportunity to learn. Little things about school, life lessons, and great advice that I wouldn’t have known if it weren’t for YPIE. They have taught me never to be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is nothing to feel ashamed of and that is what I will bring with me to college. I know that YPIE will still be there for me when I’m in college and I am excited to start a new chapter in my life”

What are your thoughts about the future?

Jesed is planning to continue her passion in science, majoring in biology, biochemistry, or environmental science in college.

“My ambitious goal is to become a pediatrician. It was always my number one goal as I grew up. I know it is very rigorous and competitive, but my sister always tells me if it is something I love, it will never seem to be too much.”

Overall, what will you remember about YPIE?

“YPIE is definitely by far the best decision of my life. I am here because of what I’ve done, but also because of what YPIE has done for me. YPIE has put a lot of opportunities in my path that I wouldn’t have known if not for YPIE. Everything they do for each student is to help them succeed in life. All I learned. All the help that I wouldn't have if it weren’t for YPIE. YPIE is my family.”

Posted June 2020

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