Karla Villanueva

Associate in Arts

As a freshman at Sunnyside High School, Karla Villanueva participated in YVC’s Upward Bound (UB). UB prepares high school students for college through a summer academic program, tutoring services, and learning skills workshops. In addition to participating in the program, Villanueva has been able to work as a tutor, helping other students succeed in their math coursework and prepare for college.

When she reached her junior year she decided to enroll full-time in YVC’s Running Start Program. “I first became interested in YVC’s Running Start program as a middle school student,” stated Villanueva. “I knew that I wanted to get a head-start on college and be involved with the college environment. At YVC I was treated with respect and the experience allowed me to mature much more than I would have in the high school setting. I was also able to take different courses that were not offered at my high school and was able to determine what interested me,” she continued.

In June she graduated with her associate in arts degree from YVC and her high school diploma. Succeeding at both, she graduated from YVC with high honors and was honored as valedictorian of her high school class.

In the fall she will transfer to Stanford University and pursue a degree in mathematics with minors in feminist and gender studies, and Chicano/a studies. Villanueva recently learned that she was accepted into the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) program. Funded by grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation the GMS program promotes academic excellence and provides an opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant financial need to reach their highest potential. With this support and some additional need based financial aid, Villanueva will receive over $65,000 a year to pursue her degree. Once completed, she hopes to continue to work with the Upward Bound and TRiO programs and find a career where she can give back and help other students like herself pursue their dreams.