For DonorsFor Applicants

Golden State First Gen Scholarship

2 winners, $500 each
Application Deadline
Nov 28, 2023
Winners Announced
Dec 28, 2023
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Undergraduate student
First-generation college student

Creating equality and proper representation in all areas of the workforce requires supporting first-generation and BIPOC students in their pursuit of education.

For underserved students, getting an education can open unlimited doors to the future, which can make a permanent difference in their lives and the lives of their families. Accessing these opportunities can be difficult, as many BIPOC and first-generation students have limited financial resources and mentors. 

This scholarship aims to support first-generation BIPOC students so they can access higher education and pave the path to their futures.

Any BIPOC, first-generation undergraduate student in California may apply for this scholarship opportunity.

To apply, tell us what inspired you to pursue higher education and how your background has impacted your goals.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Impact
Published August 28, 2023
Essay Topic

What inspired you to become the first in your family to pursue higher education? How has your background shaped your career goals?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Denise Corrales
University of California-Santa BarbaraLos Banos, CA
Before the sun could rise and paint the sky in hues of orange, a five-year-old boy harvested vegetables in Mexico. A middle child of seven, he worked tirelessly to feed his family. He was never to receive an education higher than third grade and only his scars served as evidence of his difficult life. He had no father, so his mother relied on only him and his brothers for income. As a teen, he voyaged to America seeking to take his family out of poverty while pursuing a better life. This story is not about him. That young boy is my father, Ruben De Los Santos. From him, I learned to value family. From him, I learned to chase my dreams despite the challenges I may face. In the States, a baby girl’s slumber was interrupted by hardship. Her indigenous immigrant mother worked long hours in a cannery making a dismal salary to sustain her four children. She too had no father. Once she grew, she had to work to provide income for her family. She became a gang member; a black sheep. She was a runaway, but then something changed within her. She grew to surpass her traumas, became a firefighter, and now works in the alternative school system. This story is not about her. That girl is my mother, Blanca Corrales. From her, I learned perseverance. From her, I learned to never lose faith. Then there is me, Denise Corrales; the eldest of three and a first-generation college-bound student. Despite having several cultural influences, I lacked a sense of identity. Often feeling not Mexican or American enough, I looked for the acceptance of my peers which disappointingly never came. Although I live in a predominantly Hispanic community, the colorism that exists within and outside my culture haunted me. My indigenous features that defied Eurocentric beauty standards were targets of my oppressors. I grew embarrassed of my predominant nose. I felt less than because of my rich brown skin color. I hid from the sun in an attempt to keep my complexion as light as possible. It took me years to see the beauty of my family history and heritage. I today am a brown Chicana proud of her humped nose and high cheekbones. I today am an Aztec and Tarascan descendant eager to further explore my grandmother’s indigenous language, Purepécha. I no longer hide in the shadows. Instead, I bask under Huitzilopochtli—the Aztec sun god. My differences and identity contribute to the cultural mosaic that is the United States, not the labels I am given. When I act, I seek to impact. I use the experiences in which I suffered discrimination as inspiration to stand up for my communities at board meetings. I use my communication skills to encourage donations for causes significant to me. Most of all, I attempt to be the best role model for my two younger siblings. I make sure to stress the beauty of our skin and heritage so that they too can grow proud of who they are. Hailing from a low-resource home, I'm determined to rise above economic disparities and pursue a brighter future. I will continue to write the story of my life. Knowing my activism is far from over, I seek to fill my life chapters with meaningful experiences. I intend my table of contents to include the following titles: Uplifting Marginalized Communities, Battling Injustices, Solving Global Issues, and The Continuous Service.
Poya Moussavi
University of San FranciscoSan Francisco, CA


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Nov 28, 2023. Winners will be announced on Dec 28, 2023.

This scholarship has been awarded, but we have hundreds more!
Find a perfect scholarship now