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PCC Student Awarded Back-to-Back Scholarships; Now Bound for UC Berkeley

Published on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 | 1:10 pm
Pasadena City College student Selina Pacheco, right, with mother Celia Pacheco at the 2019 College Women’s Club Scholarship Award Luncheon in Pasadena. (Credit: College Women’s Club of Pasadena/Pasadena Community Foundation)

The “unyielding spirit” of a Pasadena City College student now on her way to UC Berkeley impressed the scholarship committee of the College Women’s Club of Pasadena to award her a scholarship two years in a row, the organization said Wednesday.

Selina Pacheco often spent two hours each way on public transit to get to her classes from her South Los Angeles home, the Pasadena Community Foundation said in a written statement.

“Despite these and other obstacles — being raised by a single mother who came from Mexico, her father passing away, and helping to care for her oldest brother who has a cognitive disability — Pacheco was determined to be the first one in her family to tackle the world of higher education.”

She graduated from PCC this year and is planning to attend UC Berkeley to study molecular cell biology, according to the PCF. She intends to earn a Ph.D. and work in the field of cancer research.

“These scholarships are life-changing and allowed me to remain a full-time student,” Pacheco said. “Their generosity allowed me to concentrate on what I was passionate about — my studies.”

Lately, Pacheco has been tutoring students in grades 4 through 8 at the Adelante Youth Alliance in Pasadena, according to the PCF.

“I want them to know opportunities are out there because I didn’t when I was their age,” she said. “It’s my duty to help these students just like others have helped me.”

Pacheco’s “unyielding spirit” in her pursuit of education made her a standout for the honor, not once, but twice, according to the organization.

“Selina was worthy of back-to-back scholarships based on her strong application and her tenacity in pursuing a difficult academic goal,” said CWCP Scholarship Foundation Chair Sandra Rhoten. “We were impressed with her dedication to her family, community, and her academic journey.”

The CWCP generally awards 10 to 12 scholarships per academic year, the PCF said. In its 99-year history, the CWCP has distributed more than $1 million in scholarships to nearly 600 women.

The endowment fund, which currently stands at about $1.6 million, in 2016 was transferred to the PCF, which now manages it.

Eligible students include full-time female scholars at ArtCenter College of Design, Caltech, Cal State L.A. (College of Education), East Los Angeles College, Fuller Theological Seminary (Schools of Psychology and Sociology), Glendale Community College, Occidental College, Pacific Oaks College, and PCC, according to the PCF.

More information about the CWCP Scholarship Foundation is available online at

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