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FoGP scholarship 2022 recipients; fostering the next generation of environment stewards

CATEGORY: Current Events · In the News |
On Jan 14, 2023

Over the summer, Friends of Griffith Park announced the recipients of our annual scholarship program which supports students of color who attend the North Hollywood High School Zoo Magnet Center, (known as the Zoo Magnet) located inside Griffith Park. At the school’s end of school award ceremony, FoGP board members Miguel Ordanana and Anna Josenhans shook hands with our 2022 scholarship recipients: Jennifer Aliaga, Madison Carranza and Emily Reyna.

The scholarship was established in 2021 and is awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellent and a desire to become environmental stewards. The money can be used to pay for various higher education financial expenses.

Aliaga and Carranza are currently enrolled at Cal Poly Pomona while Reyna is at UCLA.

Reyna recently shared her current professional goals as well as her passion for protecting and preserving the natural diversity.

Pursuing a degree in biology with maybe a minor in Education, Reyna is a first-generation Latina college student who grew up in a low-income household with her single mom and grandmother in North Hollywood.

In middle school, Reyna recalls wanting to be a veterinarian. Once in high school, she took advantage of opportunities to interact with animals at the nearly L.A. Zoo in addition to leadership programs through Upward Bound and the zoo.

“I was a part of the Los Angeles Zoo Student Volunteer program during my sophomore year,” she says. “This program helped me further develop my interest in biology and education because I was able to tell zoo patrons about the wonderful wildlife in Griffith Park and the many conservation projects the zoo is a part of.”

While she was engaged in schoolwork and with extra-curricular activities like interacting with wallabies at the zoo, Reyna tutored kids in the Latino neighborhood, a self-directed community service she had been doing for years. “Education is my passion,” explains Reyna about helping local kids with their English and understanding their homework assignments. She still has dreams of attending veterinarian school and sees biology as “a good foundation.”

Reyna has fond memories of being in Griffith Park as a kid, going to the pony rides and meeting cousins at playgrounds. “I’ve always enjoyed being in nature and for me, Griffith Park was a safe place,” she says. “It’s familiar and every time I go, I see new things – wildlife, coyotes, deer and more.”

The FoGP Scholarship application process will be open the first week in January; deadline to apply will be the first week in May. All applicants will be given honorary membership to FoGP. Attached application is available for download.

~Brenda Rees, FoGP Board member

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