CSU Trustees Award CSULA's Antezana with Scholarship
Political science major overcomes challenges, becomes advocate for AB540 students
A few years ago, Luis Antezana discovered that he was an undocumented student and that his dream of going to college after high school might not be attainable.
Published on LatinoLA: October 8, 2013
But this high-achieving student did not drop out of school, and instead became more determined to turn things around. Now, a political science major and an Honors College student at California State University, Los Angeles, Antezana plans to complete his undergraduate degree, apply to law school, become an immigration lawyer, and then pursue a career in public service.
"I learned that if I need something that is important, then I need to put a lot into the effort," said Antezana.
In recognition of his perseverance and fortitude, Antezana was honored by the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees with its 2013 CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at the Glenn S. Dumke Auditorium in Long Beach. He was one of 23 students from throughout the CSU system to be recognized for demonstrating superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service and financial need.
As a CSU trustees' scholar, he was awarded a $6,000 TELACU Scholarship, which is presented to a first-generation student who achieves academic success and shows professional promise.
Originally from Cochabamba, Bolivia, Antezana migrated to the United States with his family when he was seven. Moving to Highland Park, his parents worked hard to support the family and encouraged Antezana to do well in school.
Antezana, who was ready to go to college after high school, remembers the sorrow after learning that he had no means to pay for college. "I was told 'no social security card, no aid'," he noted, adding that his parents couldn't afford to pay for his college.
However, he applied for the Erika Glazer Family Scholarship and was fortunate to be selected. With renewed vigor, he also ran and was elected for a seat on the Highland Park Neighborhood Council to gain valuable experience about government while still a high school senior.
This fall, Antezana will be a senior at CSULA and has been elected as Vice President for Academic Governance for CSULA's Associated Students, Inc. (A.S.I.) student government. He previously served as an Undergraduate Academic Senator for A.S.I.
"I've been working with the Student Financial Aid office at CSULA with the hope of helping improve the process for undocumented or AB540 students to receive financial aid," he said. "I am also addressing ways to make more classes available for students."
As an active member of Students United to Reach Goals in Education (SURGE), Antezana also helps organize educational and empowering events regarding undocumented students and social justice. He is also part of the UCLA Law Fellows Program, a prestigious program preparing disadvantaged students for law school. He was involved with the Student Educational Equity Advisory Committee and the One Campus, One Book Committee on the CSULA campus.
"Mr. Antezana has maturity and wisdom far beyond his years," said CSULA Professor Jennifer Hicks, in a nomination letter. "I knew that when I recommended him to the One Campus, One Book Committee as a student representative, and he has proven his worth. He arranged an event on his own--the immigration panel with Angelica Salas (president of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles) this past winter."
"Mr. Antezana, who is bright, motivated and willing to work for political change, is an asset to our campus and the community," said CSULA Professor Choi Chatterjee.
CSU trustees' scholars are nominated by their campus president. Each campus selects one scholar. A committee formed by the CSU Foundation reviews the nominations and awards students additional honors through named scholarships.
The award program began nearly three decades ago with scholarships endowed by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. In 1999, the generosity of current and emeritus CSU trustees allowed the program to expand. Past honorees have gone on to attend prestigious graduate programs and even to serve on the CSU Board of Trustees.
Antezana has a passion for helping low-income students seek higher education and to better their lives and their communities. "One day, I will run for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council--and who knows--possibly the mayor's office. I believe as the mayor I could have the most impact in helping the residents of Los Angeles and beyond," he said.