Dr. Antonia Pantoja Fellowship, Inc.

Developing Leaders of Integrity

UPDATES from Leaders!

Below you can read updates from some of our award recipients!

Gizelle Aguilar, Leader 2011

Gizelle Aguilar

CW Post-Long Island University, Spanish Education-Adolescence, 2015

Since I arrived at LIU I got very involved. I attended many extra curriculum activities on campus. Currently I am the President of Latin American Women Society, treasurer of Association for Campus Programming, and was an Orientation Leader for incoming freshmen for two years. Recently I got the privilege to study abroad in Spain, Sevilla. This was an amazing experience since I want to teach in Spanish. Once I graduate I would love to teach abroad, either in Costa Rica, Columbia, Spain, or Argentina. I love giving back to communities and when I have to time I help tutor children. Attending LIU has open many doors. Last year I received an award at the Student Leadership Banquet, which I received the Green Key Award. I continue to be involved on campus and help students with any questions.

Magnolia Almonte, Leader 2012

SUNY Oswego, School of Education - TESOL Major, 2016

I completed my first year of college strong with a 3.9 average.

Throughout my first year of college, there have been abundant strengths that I have possessed that have helped me achieve the opportunities of being a Residence Assistant this year, an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) peer leader this summer 2013, and a TESOL internship at my high school. In fact, thanks to all the experiences I have had as a freshman this past year, I  have been able to gain sufficient skills that enable me to inform students regarding Residence Life, campus activities, campus services, and academic services provided for them.

In addition,I have gained communication and listening skills through my participation in the SUNY Oswego Mentor-Scholars program, which I will continue this year with the same mentee and follow her to the 8th grade. As a result of this program, I have been able to become a leader in my community by creating a foundation for children at risk. As a leader, I have made the decision to involve myself in the community of Oswego by mentoring a young girl from Oswego Middle School. Through activities and sharing my own experiences, I have aided my mentee to make wise decisions and improve her learning habits.

Moreover, before having to come back to Oswego for the EOP peer leader training and summer, I had six weeks back home that I spent interning at WHEELS.  As a Teaching English as a Second Language major, This internship provided me the opportunity to gain the experience, discover the skills, and apply the skills I had gained in the classroom as an E.S.L intern.

Finally, I have become engaged in supporting my fellow peers in their college journey through navigating and assisting students while in the Compass, combating stigma and raising mental health awareness alongside the Active Mind organization, and precipitating as a Peer Leader in the EOP that bridges the gap between economically disadvantaged and advantaged students. Most importantly, by going to college to become an educator, I want to aid others to make a difference in their community through education and the empowerment derived from their personal identities. I believe a leader is someone who opens opportunities for others and moves to new challenges. 

Brian Gonzalez, Leader 2010

Lehman College, Music, 2015

Since receiving the DAPF award I have participated in a number of environmental and transportation justice campaign such as working to bring back the B37 bus line that runs throughout Brooklyn and organizing two city wide conferences to raise awareness about climate change.In 2012, I received Richie Perez scholarship as well certificates of recognition from Congress woman Nydia Velazquez and Senator Velmanette Montgomery. I continue to serve as a representative for UPROSE, helping to educate people of the importance of environmental and social justice.

Darling Gutierrez, Leader 2013

Cornell University, Pre-Law, 2017

I am currently in the International and Labor Relations (ILR) School. My plan is to major in Political Science and  Pre-Law and minor in International Relations or Latino Studies.

Since receiving the Dr. Antonia Pantoja Fellowship Scholarship Award I have received my International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma and graduated high school with an Advanced Regents Diploma. I received a Circulo de La Hispanidad Scholarship and had an article written about me on a Latino newspaper talking about my achievements. I have been adapting to the college life and getting used to being independent and far away from my home. I really love Cornell University and I cannot imagine myself anywhere else. While at Cornell I have met many different people and joined CAUSA, a Central-American club, to help me better understand my culture and to teach other Cornell-students about the Latino presence on campus. I plant to be very involved at Cornell so that I can make an impact on the school and the community. The DAPF Scholarship helped me pay for some of my college expenses, like my books, so I am very thankful to the DAPF for helping me through this journey. 

Tavita Persaud, Leader 2013

Nassau Community College, Criminal Justice, 2017

I am currently attending Nassau Community College and I am majoring in Criminal Justice. I aspire in becoming a lawyer and some courses I'm taking related to that are Foundations of the Justice System and Understanding Criminal Behavior. I am planning to transfer out of NCC to CUNY John Jay in two years. So far I am really enjoying the college experience and everything it has to offer. It's a new stepping stone in my life I am excited to face. Since receiving the Dr. Antonia Pantoja scholarship I have been working at a general store that is near my house (to save up money for college tuition) and strongly focusing on my education. I am still in contact with the ASPIRA club from Long Beach High School and went to support their event of selling food during the annual homecoming. ASPIRA has been a huge part of my life, I feel I will always be there to support it and I also want to help other students want to reach their goals in life by teaching them leadership skills. I feel blessed to have been a part of it for 4 years during high school, it has really opened my mind to many problems in society and want to make change. During the summer I also received another scholarship from Circulo de la Hispanidad for involvement in the Latino Community, I was honored to have been chosen. With hard work and determination I am sure I can reach my goals in life and make my mother proud being a Latina professional in the community, who despite hardships and the circumstances was able to make it far in life.

Merlin Valdez, Leader 2011

Syracuse University, Communications, 2014

I am specifically working on focusing my career on a path towards representative diplomacy of the Dominican Republic in Asia, more specifically in Japan. Throughout my stay at Syracuse I have studied abroad in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Malaysia as well as held a job as a Group Travel Leader in Northern Japan. My areas of specific interest are Dominican and International Politics, Operational Democratic Development, and Education system infrastructure and practices. I hope to one day make a difference in my country as well as here in the United States through my future endeavors. 

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Dr. Pantoja's Memoirs

You can purchase Dr. Pantoja's memoirs, entitled Memoir of a Visionary: Antonia Pantoja, at DAPF events. Proceeds from the book's sale support DAPF's mission. For more information, please email us at info@drantoniapantojafellowship.org.