I still vividly remember the scene of learning that I had been selected as the 2012 JF Maddox Distinguished Scholar: in late July, I sat with my family in the living room, somewhere in-between excitement and anxiety. My now-seemingly-archaic iPhone 4 rang, and within a few minutes, a quaint family gathering on the couch was transformed into a loud, emotional celebration. At the time, and for the next year while I applied to college and completed my senior year at Hobbs High School, the scholarship primarily represented recognition. The award seemed to stand for acknowledgment of state- and national-level achievements on standardized exams and extracurricular activities in the sciences and musical arts.

Now, almost six years later, I have graduated with a B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley and have nearly completed my first year at Harvard Medical School; to me now, the JF Maddox Distinguished Scholarship stands for community investment. The scholarship afforded me confidence while transitioning a very large and competitive; across all four of my years, the support I received from the JF Maddox Foundation encouraged and quite literally allowed for me to continue pursuing success to the highest degree possible. The scholarship supported my ambitions in coursework, research, education, and musicianship while at Berkeley, and allowed for me to thrive in these spheres; I am confident that the Foundation’s investment in me was not only to support these pursuits but moreso to let these successes stand as examples of what graduates from Lea County high schools are capable of when supported by their communities.

Today, I continue to acknowledge my incredible privilege in receiving the 2012 JF Maddox Distinguished Scholarship, which allowed me to attend a prestigious out-of-state university and continue pursuing my passions, both in and out of the classroom. As a Cal graduate and budding Harvard physician, I hope that the successes I have enjoyed thanks to the Foundation’s support reach back to my communities in New Mexico, Lea County, and Hobbs, empowering future Maddox classes and New Mexico youth to push their goals higher, pursue the highest possible excellence in higher education, and too become role models to nurture and lift up the futures of our communities.