Local CultureNeighborhood News

Keystone names Oneida Scholarship recipient

Keystone Community Services announced Melissa Garcia as the recipient of the 2021 Oneida Scholarship Award last month. She is a senior at the College of St. Benedict studying psychology and Hispanic studies. 
Melissa grew up in the West 7th neighborhood of St. Paul and attended summer programming at the West 7th Community Center with her sister throughout her childhood. When a close friend from Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES) sent her the information about the Oneida Scholarship, she was excited to apply.
“College is pretty expensive, and I’m so grateful to have this scholarship to help with my tuition,” Melissa says.
Although she is currently a senior, Melissa has a few years of school yet to come, as she plans to go to graduate school to become a child psychologist. She says she loves working with children and became confident in her decision to pursue this career path while interning at the Boys and Girls Club.
“I worked with both teens and little kids, and I created nice bonds and relationships with them,” she explains.
In addition to her interest in psychology, Melissa is passionate about her Hispanic heritage. She is a strong advocate for her community and says that she is always eager to speak up and help peers learn about race and culture. She is excited to keep her culture close to her throughout her career.
“I really want to use my bilingual skills to help minorities who don’t speak English. I know there’s a lot of need in the community for mental health resources, I and want to use my skills to help those people. I’m very close with my culture,” Melissa says.
After completing her master’s degree, Melissa plans to remain in the Twin Cities to give back to the community she loves.
She says, “I’m really happy I got this scholarship, and I’m grateful that I get to further my education and hopefully make a difference in the future.”

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