Catching Up With Our Dream Award Alumni
By Matt Konrad
Over the last eight years, the Scholarship America Dream Award has provided life-changing scholarship assistance to 130 students, each of whom overcame incredible obstacles to get to college—and who faced challenges paying for tuition beyond their freshman year.
This spring, as we were meeting the 2022 Scholars, we also caught up with several alumni from past years to find out where they’ve gone since earning their Dream Awards. And we started with not one, but three students at the University of Northern Kentucky who’ve done so.
Our Dream Award connection with NKU started with Luis Loza—a member of the first class of Dream Award Scholars in 2014. A DACA student, engineering major and founder of NKU’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, Luis graduated in 2017 and is now working as an electrical engineer with Honeywell Intelligrated.
Before graduating, Luis let his friend Yessenia Cantero Hernandez know about the Dream Award; she became a Dream Award Scholar in 2017. “Luis has become my mentor and close friend,” she said. “Without his help and the Dream Award I might not have been able to pursue academic goals as I have always hoped.”
Today, Yessenia is a graduate of NKU with a degree in nursing, and she works as a pediatric cardiac intensive care nurse at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Hospital.
And Yessenia paid forward Luis’s mentoring and her Dream Award experience: her sister Wendi Cantero Hernandez became a Dream Award Scholar in 2021, and is currently in her senior year at NKU pursuing her bachelor’s degree in accounting and management.
In Their Own Words
In addition to our three NKU Scholars, we heard from a number of other amazing Dream Award recipients. Here are their updates, in their own words.