Foothill College and Deanza College
Scholarships for veterans
Jose Cruz 2012
Foothill-De Anza College's Scholarships for Veterans is a not for profit, non-partisan, non-political organization dedicated to making scholarships available to recent veterans. SFV hopes to motivate individuals and businesses to assist in providing scholarships for returning veterans. Money donated goes directly into the designated college's scholarship fund and is collected and awarded by the college foundation. SFV provides funding which helps cover tuition and fees. Scholarships are available to any qualified recent veteran of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard. Scholarships are administered by the local college foundations. No administration fees are taken by Scholarships for Veterans.
There is one defining experience that shaped my thinking and led me to realize how truly important an education is. This experience was my deployment with the Marine Corps to Safaar, a remote town in southern Afghanistan. The involvement of the United States in Afghanistan is a complicated issue, and I want to stress that this essay is not an endorsement or a condemnation of that effort. It is merely to demonstrate the direct correlation between an education and quality of life. When I arrived at the Safaar village in October 2010, my first impression of the area was how destitute it was. The people were living in filth and poverty, and much of that was due directly to the complete lack of any sort of school or educational program. The villagers had absolutely no knowledge of sanitation methods. They knew nothing about properly storing and cooking meat to prevent contamination. They obtained water from the same part of a local stream that they used for a latrine. As a result, dysentery was very common. There was no one in the area with even basic medical knowledge. This led to an extremely high infant mortality rate and low life expectancy. In addition to this, they had no understanding of modern farming practices to help them grow enough food. Each familyâ€™s ability to support itself depended entirely on eating the crops that they grew, so an unusually bad harvest could potentially bring starvation to entire families. Shortly after we arrived to Safar, we were able to establish a school to help educate the populace and teach them occupational skills. Because this was such a novel concept for the villagers, it took a while for them to become comfortable with attending. But gradually over time, the people were able to benefit from the skills that they had been taught. When I left in May of 2011, the various educational programs installed had already begun to improve conditions in the area. Some simple hygiene and sanitation courses for the villagers helped lower the number of preventable illnesses in the area. By working with an agricultural expert, they were able to learn how to greatly increase the amount of crops grown on their land. With guidance from a business advisor, they were able to develop a town market to expand the selling of their agricultural products to new customers, instead of depending purely on subsistence farming. After a few months, the town had made enough money to afford to pay a doctor from Kabul to set up a medical practice in Safaar. This firsthand experience of the importance of learning had a great effect on me. I left Afghanistan with a determination to get a quality education when I finished my time in the military and returned to the civilian world. I resolved that once I obtained that education, I would apply it towards a career where I could be both successful and positively contribute to the world. The first phase of my academic plan is attending De Anza for two years. While at De Anza, I will take the required lower level courses for my major in Economics, in addition to the general education requirements. Following my two years at De Anza, I intend to transfer to UC Berkeley and graduate with a degree in Economics. After this, I aim to earn a law degree from Harvard Law School. My career goal is to initially become an economic advisor for the Peace Corps. During this two year volunteer period, I will give guidance to communities and businesses in developing nations. I then plan on transitioning to an economic position within the State Department, where I will further serve the business interests of the United States in foreign countries.
Jose Alberto Cruz I am a first generation college bound Mexican-American from a socio-economic disadvantaged background. I arrived to this country at the age of eight and started school in the third grade. I was placed in ESL classes since Spanish was my native language and I did not know a lick of English. Three months later, I was integrated into a regular classroom as a product of my English proficiency. I witnessed the constant struggle my parents went through to provide for our family and as the eldest of three, took initiative to help lighten their load. My first job was at the age of 11 and consisted of sweeping and maintaining the apartment complex in which we lived. I was paid 100 dollars monthly via personal check and I can still remember the pride I felt every time I walked to the store across the street from where I lived to cash my paycheck. It gave me both a sense of independence and joy in my ability to lighten my parents' load. There was constant gang activity present in the neighborhood and some of my friends were unfortunately attracted to it. I knew that was not an option for me. My mother ingrained in me the significance of a college education so that I could have a better future. She had dreams of me becoming a doctor and I fancied the possibility. I continued to work throughout high school. I managed 20 hours a week, while active in football and badminton for three years?earning the coaches award and MVP twice, and baby-sitting my siblings when both of my parents worked. I managed to graduate with a cumulative 2.9 academic GPA and the honor of being homecoming king. The summer before my senior year, I was accepted into the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program, a 5-week college experience that solidified my desire for a career in the medical field. My dreams were placed on hold after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. I felt compelled to serve the country that had provided the opportunity for a better life and so I joined the Marine infantry. Four combat deployments later, enduring many personal losses, and a wealth of experience?a heavily decorated Staff Sergeant is on the march towards his dream again. My goal is to be a nurse anesthetist. I plan on transferring to the University of San Francisco, which has a great nursing program. I am currently not working because I want to focus all of my attention towards school and I am blessed that the GI Bill allows for me to do this. However, private institutions do not come cheap and the GI bill will not cover even half of the tuition. I am exploring all means possible to finance my dream.