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Meet our Scholars

Class of 2022

Matias Aranguiz Matias Aranguiz
Florida
Miami Beach Senior High School
Mechanical Engineering
Society of Latinx Engineers and Scientists (SOLES), Tufts Robotics Club

For Matias, his first year at Tufts started off as a process of adaptation. At first, everything seemed very different when compared to where he grew up, but the transition was much smoother after completing the BEST summer program. Besides making friends in his engineering classes, BEST gave Matias "a small family to rely on," and that community has made Tufts feel like a home away from home.
Jessica Echeverria  Jessica Echeverria
Illinois
Bradley-Bourbonnais High School
Computer Science
Engineering Student Council (ESC), JumboSec, Society of Latinx Engineers and Scientists (SOLES), Tufts Encendido

Jessica chose Tufts because she knew that her experience would be more personalized than at other universities. Jessica thinks that the School of Engineering is "a place full of opportunity for those who seek it," and coming from a hometown where opportunities were limited, taking advantage of Tufts pre-professional organizations, the Career Center, and relationships with professors have allowed her to picture a future for herself "beyond what I could have imagined even a year ago."
Lwam Gidey  Lwam Gidey
Massachusetts
Brighton High School
Computer Engineering
National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Tufts Robotics Club

The most salient part of Lwam's experience with BEST so far has been the opportunity to connect with faculty members about research and internship opportunities outside of the classroom. The BEST program also made it possible for Lwam to find tutoring resources for many of her first year classes, and she feels that the community has "played a huge role in my academic accomplishments."
Kamar Godoy  Kamar Godoy
California
California Academy of Mathematics and Science
Mechanical Engineering
Tufts S-Factor

Being at Tufts has helped Kamar evolve his sense of self-reliance, both inside and outside of the classroom, and his first year experience has also guided him in finding comfortable, inclusive places on campus, like the Africana Center and the FIRST Resource Center. The BEST program has "provided me with a clear view of all of my resources on campus, and has given me a space to cultivate successful academic strategies during my transition into higher education."
Charvady Hak  Charvady Hak
Massachusetts
Lawrence High School
Mechanical Engineering
Chinese Students Association (CSA)

When Charvady visited Tufts for the first time, she could tell that the community was very welcoming and supportive of first-generation college students. After learning so much about what it was like to be a student here, Charvady realized that "Tufts was where I needed to be." Although Charvady is still pinpointing her academic passion, she is very interested in design and tailoring projects for user practicality.
Grace Kayode  Grace Kayode
Rhode Island
Charles E. Shea Senior High School
Computer Science
Tufts Boxing Club, Tufts Robotics Club

The BEST program has helped Grace's transition from high school to college in "unimaginable ways" and made her realize that no matter what background she comes from, she can succeed at a challenging school like Tufts. From the "unconditional love, support, and valuable advice I get from the program, to all the wonderful laughs and memories I have obtained since the summer, I am very proud to say I am a BEST scholar, and that I have gained a second family."
Selvin Lendos  Selvin Lendos
North Carolina
Gaston Early College High School
Civil Engineering
First Generation Council (FGC), Society of Latinx Engineers and Scientists (SOLES), Student-Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program (STOMP), Tufts Students for Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS)

Through the BEST program, Selvin found a family that helped make Tufts a second home, and permanent friends that he can always rely on for support. Coming from a community that lacked exposure for engineering, Selvin was able to mold his summer experience to peer at the world through the lens of an engineering degree for the first time. According to him, it was a "very intentional summer that prepared me for life at Tufts, and taught me the worth of my potential."
Abraham Oleta  Abraham Oleta
California
Oakland Charter High School
Civil Engineering
Association of Latin American Students (ALAS), Society of Latinx Engineers and Scientists (SOLES)

The highlight of Abraham's first year at Tufts has been meeting new people, learning fresh material in his classes, and being able to experience all that New England seasons have to offer. In doing so, the BEST program has been "an integral part of my transition, by introducing us to past cohorts so that we can build networks, and familiarizing us with all of the resources available to us at Tufts." The community created through the BEST program has helped Abraham form friendships that will last throughout his four years (and beyond).
Jesus Rodriguez  Jesus Rodriguez
Illinois
ITW David Speer Academy
Mechanical Engineering
Association of Latin American Students (ALAS), Society of Latinx Engineers and Scientists (SOLES)

For Jesus, learning how to become independent and manage his time has been one of the greatest lessons that the BEST program has taught him. By providing him with a "great support system," Jesus has been able to explore extracurricular activities that connect him back to his cultural heritage and personal interests. The faculty and staff involved with BEST have "done nothing but encourage me to pursue my passion for mechanical engineering."
Victor Soto Castro  Victor Soto Castro
North Carolina
Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School
Mechanical Engineering
Astrophysics Laboratory, Society of Latinx Engineers and Scientists (SOLES), Tufts Make, Tufts Electric Racing, Tufts Robotics Club, Tufts Students for Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS)

Through BEST, Victor has had the opportunity to explore multiple academic and extracurricular interests, including robotics, rocketry, extragalactic space, and Latinx dancing. At the end of the day, "I can always count on the friends I have made in the BEST program to be there for me," whenever he has reached outside of his comfort zone or needs to be reminded of the community he has built at Tufts.
Eduardo Vargas Gutierrez  Eduardo Vargas Gutierrez
New Jersey
Bound Brook High School
Environmental Engineering
Eco-Reps, Society of Latinx Engineers and Scientists (SOLES), Tufts Club Soccer, Tufts Students for Environmental Awareness (SEA)

At Tufts, Eduardo knew that he would not be just a number. Eduardo is extremely passionate about water resources, renewable energy, and electric vehicles, and he hopes to use his academic interests to see what "engineering can create to help ameliorate the damage we have caused to our planet." Eduardo is also fascinated by the ways in which we can understand how the world functions through mathematics, and outside of the classroom, he is a dedicated athlete and personal trainer.
Chastidy Vasconez  Chastidy Vasconez
California
Camino Nuevo High School
Human Factors Engineering
Association of Multiracial Students at Tufts (AMPT), Society of Latinx Engineers and Scientist (SOLES), 1+4 Bridge Year Program

As a first-generation college student, Chastidy was nervous about attending college, but being part of the BEST program gave her the courage she needed to excel in a rigorous academic setting. At Tufts, "I have been able to find an amazing community of people I can relate to and feel supported by." Chastidy hopes to eventually use her degree to support people in underrepresented communities by using engineering and design to make the world more easily accessible for everyone.
Tia Watts  Tia Watts
Florida
Pike County High School
Mechanical Engineering
Africana Center Student Intern

Tufts became Tia's first choice for college after she was able to attend the Voices Program and observed an atmosphere where students and faculty acted as a cohesive community. Tia was also very fond of the idea that Tufts intentionally created "places designed to help students of color feel more at home, while being far from it." Tia is passionate about learning how to build-up a better world through innovation and design using technical and problem-solving skills.
Jada Worthy  Jada Worthy
Connecticut
Information Technology and Software Engineering High School
Computer Science
Fellows in Christ, JumboSec

When Jada first heard about the BEST program, she did not realize how much of a blessing it was going to be for her. The "guidance and advantages I have gotten through BEST have placed me in a position where I can explore what interests me and maintain academic flexibility." BEST has also given Jada security, the knowledge of how to be her own self-advocate, and the drive to always "appreciate and embrace where I come from."