El Paso ISD Students are Finalists for QuestBridge Scholarship

Six EPISD seniors are in the running to earn a full ride to a top college thanks to the QuestBridge National College Match.

The non-profit organization focuses on helping high-achieving, low-income students who may not have the opportunity to attend a top-tier college by matching them with the nation’s most selective colleges and covering the cost of tuition, room and board.

The EPISD students are among the 5,338 finalists selected from more than 1,400 applicants. They are: Hanaa Al-Dasouqi, Luis Clague and Sofia del Toro from Coronado; Juan Avila and Andres Najera from Franklin; and Andrew Pavon from Transmountain Early College High School (TMECHS).

TMECHS senior Andrew Pavon hopes to be selected so he can fulfill his dreams of attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and pursue a career in aerospace engineering.

“The application process was daunting at first, but my mom was very encouraging,” Pavon said. “When I got the email notifying me I was a finalist I couldn’t believe it. I called my mom right away. I think she was even more excited than I was.”

Pavon attended a weeklong science and engineering program at MIT over the summer, which cemented his decision to apply.

“I was always interested in MIT, but when I went to the E2 program over the summer I really fell in love with the campus. That was it for me,” Pavon said.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must submit an application detailing their academic and extracurricular accomplishments, their financial background, two essays and two short answer questions. Students also must turn in two letters of recommendation from teachers, a secondary school report from the counselor, transcripts and any relevant test scores.

For Burges senior Jaymee Saldivar the application process was just one of the many things she is busy with these days. She is currently No. 1 in her class, president of the National Honor Society, a member of the tennis team and competes on the speech and debate team.

“I take my studies very seriously. I try to be involved in as much as possible,” Saldivar said. “I am the first one in my family who will be going to college so I am very excited to make my mark.”

Her number one pick for a university is Stanford, where she plans to study psychology.

“I really want to invest my energy in reforming the perspective people have on mental illness,” Saldivar said. “I want to major in psychology and then go to medical school to become a psychiatrist.”

Finalists will be notified in December of their College Match results. If they do not match with a college, they will continue with QuesBridge Regular Decision, which allows them to apply to any of the program’s college partners without paying an application fee.