POCATELLO — Joselynn Castillo wasn’t even going to apply for the Maná Scholarship because she thought there was no way she could win a national scholarship. However, with the encouragement of her mother, she applied and was one of 15 students selected out of a pool of 1,200 to receive a $10,000 scholarship.
The Maná Scholarship Program, in collaboration with the Univision Foundation and the Selva Negra Foundation, was started to assist students who identify as Latino. The scholarship, which was awarded for the 2020-21 school year, will help Castillo and others like her accomplish their educational goals.
“I’m the oldest in my family,” Castillo, a sophomore at ISU, said. “I’ve always been so grateful for everything my family does for me. I strive to make them proud in everything that I do.”
Because Castillo is a first-generation student, she works hard to make her parents, who only have a seventh-grade education, proud.
“My parents have always pushed us to continue studying,” Castillo said. “They’ve taught me lessons that a degree will never be able to. All of my accomplishments are theirs.”
Castillo, who has lived in Pingree for the last 16 years, is majoring in Spanish for health professions and biology. Throughout her education, she’s had to overcome various different obstacles, including learning English.
“Spanish has always been the language spoken at home, so having to learn English in school was a struggle,” Castillo said.
Other struggles that Castillo has faced include being from a low-income family. However, despite these struggles, Castillo chooses to focus on all the good things, most importantly the people she has been “blessed” with.
It is because of her various experiences that Castillo hopes to attend dental school after she obtains her bachelor’s degrees. This has been a goal of hers since she was 13.
“I strive to represent the Hispanic community in a field that desperately needs it — dentistry,” Castillo said. “I want to focus on serving low-income communities and minority groups.”
The Maná Scholarship Program, which was started by the popular Mexican band Maná, has helped alleviate some of the financial stress that Castillo and the other recipients face when it comes to paying for an education.
“Because I come from a low-income family, this scholarship will make a huge difference as I continue to progress through my university journey,” Castillo said.
All 15 of the scholarship recipients will be flown to Los Angeles to see Maná’s final concert and meet the band.
For more information on the Maná Scholarship Program, visit learnmore.scholarsapply.org/mana.