Pepsico Foundation Uplift Testimonials
Anthony J. Chicaiza – COMP TIA A+ 1001 and 1002 Certification candidate
Education is important to me for three reasons; to Achieve Knowledge, Improve Personality and Develop as a person. Today, everyone wants to fulfill their dreams and become successful. It is only education that enables anyone to reach their goals. This award will change my life because it will give me the opportunity to challenge myself to extreme limits, step out of my comfort zone and meet new people who have the same goals and aspirations to become successful in the IT field. In the future, after completing this program, I see myself gaining relevant experience and obtaining a career in cyber security.
Once again, thank you PepsiCo Foundation for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to prove to myself that I belong here. With the past year that showed so much uncertainty, you have given me the light at the end of the tunnel that is a bright future. Thank You.
Julian Guy – IBM Data Science Certification candidate
Thank you for investing in my journey as I pursue the IBM Skills Academy Data Science Practitioner Certification. From a young age, my parents encouraged me to pursue an education. They believed education could open the doors to a stable (and hopefully fulfilling) career. They were right. Education has indeed opened doors for me, but I’ve also come to realize that those doors don’t stay open unless you keep learning.
I am grateful for institutions like WCC that create environments for people to pursue lifelong learning. WCC has always been one of my go-to places for learning something new. Growing up just five minutes from the main campus, I’ve had many opportunities over the years to develop skills and explore new passions at WCC. I have particularly fond memories of summertime courses in the basement of the Westchester County Center, practicing still life drawing with talented local artists.
One of our primary goals is deriving meaningful insights from massive amounts of data. Suddenly the skills I learned in college, now over five years ago, have become a lot more relevant.
I’m excited by the opportunity to pursue the IBM Skills Academy Data Science Practitioner Certification because I’d like to brush up on visualizing, modeling, and deriving insights from real-world datasets. I hope to bring these skills back to my company so I can make a greater impact at my workplace. Moreover, I hope the skills I learn in this course can set the foundation for transitioning into a career in Data Science.
Ivan Woodard – Python Certification Candidate
I am honored to be the recipient of the PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship. Words cannot express how much I admire this company’s actions in promoting diversity in tech.
As a black transgender person, I have experienced many of the societal barriers that prevent many people of color from entering technology fields. I grew up in Fayetteville, NC and had a very scarce education in science and math, mostly due to the trials of growing up with a single parent and struggling with a variety of economic stressors. But with my mom being my biggest supporter, she packed my bag for me and sent me to New York for college, where I went on to get my first degree in art history with a focus in digital art and design.
While studying art history, I began to see how art and design effects every aspect of our lives. From the eye-catching colors of an app, to accessible minimalistic websites, beauty is constantly at our fingertips. I see tools like programming languages similarly to the paintbrushes and pencils I have worked with as a traditional artist. Inspired by these parallels, I began my journey into web development and UX/UI at WCC while working part-time at my local museum as a Collections Assistant. My goal is to gain the skills to be a web developer and combine my training in art and technology to create accessible websites for businesses and creatives in need of a web presence. I thank PepsiCo again for this opportunity. I am grateful for this scholarship and your support of lifelong learners like me.
Kevin Arthur Andrade, Advanced Applications Engineer – Red Hat Linux Certification Candidate
My name is Kevin Andrade, a recent Westchester Community College and Binghamton University Alumni. I recently graduated with an associate and bachelor’s degree in computer science. Westchester Community College opened my eyes to the IT world, it was a medium for me to pursue what I love doing the most. Education is the foundation of all learning. Earning the PepsiCo award will pave the way for many opportunities.
I have always enjoyed playing with technology from a young age; whether that was building computers for fun, setting up custom home networks or modifying the code contents of an open source game, I was always having fun throughout the process. I had the wonderful opportunity to pursue college. I am a successful first-generation Ecuadorian/Latino college graduate. I graduated with multiple honor degrees, was in the computer science honors society and received multiple scholarships enabling me to not have to take out any loans. Education was the avenue I chose to upskill myself.
Naturally through college I picked up many additional technical skills; I leveraged upon these skills to obtain successful software development internships.
My family comes from a very poor but noble upbringing; I wanted to change the past and help and lead them into the future. Education opened many doors for me. I learned the skills to become “wanted” in the STEM field along with experience and hope. Having graduated in the middle of a pandemic brought upon many difficulties, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Currently, I am working as a software developer at a tech consulting company, but unfortunately it is not as tech involved as I had hoped for. I decided to pursue the Red Hat – System Administration Course I at WCC. By receiving this award and completing the course it will enable me to become more “desirable” and help me jump into the next phase in life. Taking this course will help me immensely with my software development career, whether that is trouble shooting networks, installing software components, or managing users and data, I know that it will be an important skill that I would use every day.
I see myself as a successful full stack developer specialist who leads others onto the same path. Thank you, PepsiCo, the award that you have granted me will fuel the fire within my heart. I will be forever thankful for giving me this wonderful opportunity to advance.
Kevin Ponder – Red Hat Linux Certification Candidate
I will be using this scholarship to partake in the Red Hat System Administration I class, which will greatly help in advancing my IT career forward.
I am currently a Field Service Engineer for Dell who plans to advance my career further within the field of IT, and with the help of this scholarship, and subsequent class, I will be able to pursue a future position as a System Administrator. I come from a family of four, while currently only living with my Mother, and younger brother. My parents had separated when I was 16, and that circumstance in my life has only motivated me into becoming the best man that I can be. So, this class will be particularly important to me as I continue to not only support myself, but to also help support my mother and brother.
Thank you so much again for this opportunity. I am honored and grateful and will most certainly be using this incredible gift to advance my career.
Rafael-David Sanchez Jr. – Red Hat Linux Certification Candidate
I am writing this letter to express my gratitude for your extremely generous Uplift scholarship. I am delighted and deeply appreciative to know that I am a recipient of this award.
Education is more than just taking notes and exams. In my opinion, knowledge is what prepares you for the real world. I am a Computer Engineering major at the City College of New York with plans of pursuing a master’s degree in Cybersecurity. After I graduate in spring 2022, coursework aside, this education that I have received has taught me how to work with a team, solve problems, and think critically, all of which are important skills to have.
As a student with interest in Cybersecurity, I believe that it is a necessity to know the ins and outs of the systems that I would be working with. With that being said, I will be participating in the Red Hat Linux System Administration program. Thanks to you, I will not only be able to develop, enhance, and expand my skills and abilities, but also advance my career in Linux.
This scholarship is absolutely life changing. As a student that does not have the finances to pay for this program, I would not have been able to participate. This means that I would have missed out on a big opportunity to improve my skills and further my career. Thank you so much for your generosity and support. I promise that I will work my hardest.
Debra E. Williams – COMP TIA A+ 1001 and 1002 Certification candidate
My name is Debra E. Williams. I was born and raised in Yonkers, NY. While attending High School I became a teen mom. So I didn’t get the opportunity to go away to college. I did however attended business schools in the late eighties and nineties to sharpen my office skills. I am currently underemployed as a customer service representative at a small medical manufacture. I am glad to be employed but there is no employment growth here.
I am very pleased and honored to be one of this year’s recipients of the PepsiCo Foundation Uplift Scholarship. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your generosity in funding the PepsiCo Foundation Uplift Scholarship.
Receiving the PepsiCo Foundation Uplift scholarship will allow me to further my eductional pursuits, and update my professional profile. Which would not have been possible without your generous donation. I can truly see myself in a new career with endless growth oppourtunities. I hope to one day pay it forward to help other students who are like myself with their goals in higher education by assisting them in the same way you are helping me. Thank you again for your generous donation and enabling me to reach my fullest personal and professional potential.
Naome Mathieu – Red Hat Linux Certification Candidate
I want to sincerely thank PepsiCo for awarding me with this wondrous opportunity. I come from a very well-educated family. While mostly college educated, a lot of them have been blessed with worldly opportunities that have inspired great triumphs. The doors that have opened and closed in my encounters will be innumerable. I feel that this door will lead me down a desired path of financial security and happiness in my career. Education is so important because it can’t be stripped from you. Your knowledge is the most tactical and proficient weapon in a world of disorder and inequality.
The program I decided to go with is the Red Hat System Administration. I am thrilled to have been chosen to learn in depth of Linux commands and architecture. I am truly appreciative and eager to learn! This award has shined a light on my perspective of self-confidence and serves as ammunition to continually moving forward and ‘pop’ off my success!
Shadashja Slater – COMP TIA A+ 1001 and 1002 Certification candidate
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your generosity in the funding of the 2021 CompTIA A+ class. I am very honored to be the recipient of this award.
My name is Shadashja Slater I’m a 32 yr. old mom of 2 amazing daughters. I’m from Mount Vernon NY, a very small town in Westchester County. In 2016 I started working for Target Mobile located inside of Target in Mount Vernon. While working for TM my interest in technology grew tremendously. Helping people fix setup or activate their electronics is something that kept me going every day.
Education is essential to learn, thrive, and excel in the real world I must first learn how to do them. Education gives me the option to choose to do what I like rather than being forced to do something else. I believe the CompTIA A+ class will help me become more educated in the IT field and also to get a good job so that I can become financially stable in life.
In the future I want to be able to find opportunities to apply the skill set I develop here in a way that gives back to the community. Once again thank you for your generous gift. Your support will go a long way in achieving my educational and career goals.
Tracy Elliott – Python Certification Candidate
I am honored to be a recipient of the PepsiCo Foundation Uplift Workforce Scholarship. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your continued support to students like myself who needs it the most.
I am a first generation college graduate. I grew up in a loving but financially challenged home supported by only one parent. The lack of financial resources helped me to realize the importance of a college education. Although growing up less privileged was difficult it made me very innovative, at 8 years old I taught myself how to sew doll dresses from old clothing, and at 10 years old I started my own business designing (Glitter) on roller-skates for all the girls in the neighborhood.
My goal is to participate in the Python Programming summer session at the WCC Workforce Program. This opportunity is a perfect gateway for learning Intermediate level programming that will help to guide my career towards prosperity as an IT Business professional by gaining the skill needed in exploratory data analysis and visualization utilizing information technology solutions.
Again, I cannot express my gratitude enough, and I want you to know that your generous support helps me to achieve my dreams of become involved with local schools in my community by helping teachers better use technology in the classroom as well as building healthy relationships with seniors eager for guidance in the use of technology.
Ademar Cruz Cabrera – IBM Data Science Certification candidate
It is important to me to be able to take the “Data Science Practitioner IBM skills Academy” course because I am sure that this knowledge is going to give me a boost in my career as an unemployed computer system engineer.
I truly believe that at the end of this course, my resume is going to look more professional. Therefore, I will have several opportunities while looking for a job.
We are truly thankful to Pepsico Foundation, who is supporting professionals and being a key point for their careers.
Eduardo Rondon – Red Hat Linux Certification Candidate
No words can express how grateful I am to be chosen for this scholarship. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I wanted to say thank you for allowing me to be a part of it.
Although I was born in New York, my family comes from the Dominican Republic. My stepfather is a flight attendant for American Airlines and my mother stays at home to take care of my little brother due to him having type 1 diabetes, especially in these pandemic times. By the time I graduated from high school, I already knew what kind of career I wanted to pursue and that is cyber security. I have always been interested in this field because aside from the fact that we sometimes hear of companies being breached and their data being stolen, not many people know just how much happens behind the scenes. Right now, as I write this letter, countries are currently engaged with one another in cyber warfare and criminal entities are trying to break into secure networks with the hope of stealing information for some type of gain. I wish to help those that I can be aware that such threats never cease to exist, even if we go months without hearing anything in the news about the subject, and to safeguard them from such threats.
I chose to be part of the Red Hat System Administration 1 course because it is a certification that I was already looking to pursue before I was made aware of this opportunity. I strongly believe that having this certification under my belt will help me in my development as a future cyber security analyst and beyond. Having an opportunity like this is very helpful because it allows me to take part in something I normally would not be able to afford and receiving the kind of education that I will be getting from this course will be invaluable for my future. As the old saying goes, “knowledge is power” and I wholeheartedly believe that to be true. I take my education very seriously because to get good at my chosen craft, I must put in the hours and practice all that I am taught. Especially in the kind of field that I am pursuing, I want to be as knowledgeable as I can be so that I can help others to protect themselves online and through that, shift the power away from the criminals and put it the hands of the people I will be protecting.
Thank you again for choosing me to be a PepsiCo Foundation Uplift Scholar. Because of your generosity, I will take one step further in my journey in cyber security.
Nathaly D Uruchima – Red Hat Linux Certification Candidate
My name is Nathaly Uruchima, a Westchester Community College alumni and current SUNY Binghamton University student. During my time at Westchester Community College, I discovered the area of information technology. After taking a Cisco Certified Network Associate course at Westchester Community College I became enamored with the IT world. Thank you for selecting me as a recipient of the Pepsi Co award; this is an amazing occasion to continue expanding my skillset and broadening the opportunities I will be able to take.
Being first generation Latin-American, I understand how important education is. My parents immigrated from Ecuador to the United States for a better future. Being able to continue my education is important as it will aid me in creating a successful future. Being the first in my family to purse a technical STEM major, was a huge accomplishment.
I have learned several skills to make myself ‘wanted’ in the field. I took the initiative to pursue the Red Hat System Administration I course at Westchester Community College to further develop my skills and to make myself more appealable to employers. By taking this course I will learn many fundamental and important skills such as, trouble shooting networks, firewall restrictions and package management, and many other things.
In the future, I see myself as a successful full stack web developer who can lead others on the same path. A strong knowledge of back end and front end is needed for me to reach this goal along with a good understanding in Linux administration. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to help me advance in my career. Thank you, PepsiCo, for this award and for giving me this opportunity to advance and expand my skills.
Jostan Tejeda – Python and R Programming for Data Science and Machine Learning Certification Candidate
I am extremely grateful for this opportunity that has been given to me. My name is Jostan, born and raised in the south Bronx. I have 2 little sisters, I come from two immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic. My parents came to this country in hope of a better life; not only for themselves but for their children and many generations to come!
I will be part of the Introduction to Python and R Programming for Data Science and Machine Learning workforce. I’m really looking forward to taking this course in hopes of gaining a new skill and expanding my options in the IT industry.
Education is extremely important for me because I’m on pace to be a first-generation college graduate! I also believe education will open many doors for me in the IT field. This course will be such an important part of my career because it’s going to teach me a new skill set that can possibly be my pathway to success.
I see myself starting my career in the IT field but along the way opening an IT company and hopefully become the best company in the world!
One again a huge thank you to the PepsiCo Foundation its truly an honor to be part of this program!
Jose Escalante – COMP TIA A+ 1001 and 1002 Certification candidate
I am 28 years old and currently working as a sales associate. I went to Saunders Trade and Technology High School and that is where my interest in computer software grew. After high school, I wanted to continue my education but I did not have the finances to do so and I had to dedicate my time to work. This year, I decided to set some goals and time for myself. One of my goals is to advance my education by going back to school or enrolling into a computer software program.
By furthering my education, that would give me the opportunity to grow professional work experience. I decided to do some research on community colleges and that is how I came across the Entry-level IT Help Desk Technician Program at Westchester Community College.
By awarding me the PepsiCo Foundation Uplift Scholarship, I am able to participate in the training program and advance my education in computer software. Thank you again for providing me with this opportunity and I hope that one day I will be able to give back to my community just like you did for me.
Dominick George – Python and R Programming for Data Science and Machine Learning Certification Candidate
I have an interest in computer science and have been branching out into whatever I can because of my long-time interest in computers and the almost limitless possibilities of making them do whatever you want, as long as you knew how to tell them. This time last year I participated in a summer intensive provided by All Star Code for web development skills, I’ve taken both computer science classes offered by my school, and not too long ago I happened to stumble upon another branch of computer science for me to dip my feet into. I had found free Machine Learning curriculum provided by Microsoft on GitHub and I decided to take a crack at it. To my dismay I quickly realized it required a basic understanding of python and that I did not retain enough from the computer science class on python I took 2 years ago that was also watered down due to the pandemic. I prepared myself to relearn what little Python I did know and learn the rest of the basics when not even one day later my godfather mentions a summer class named Introduction to Python and R Programming for Data Science and Machine Learning and asks me if I’d be interested.
I hope that I was able to show my passion for gaining as much information at least a little, because my philosophy on education goes something like “I never know when I could need to know this, so why not learn it?” This award could lead to me getting hooked on what I learn in this class and go on to choosing a career in data science, but even if it doesn’t, I still know this knowledge could help me in so many ways I can’t even comprehend them all no matter what field I go into. Whether I become one of the most versatile workers in my field with expertise in almost everything I could possibly need or just use it for fun in the future, I still am happy knowing that one day a situation could come up that requires one of the random things I learned just because I could!
So, for allowing this first-generation college student raised by a single mother to pursue my passion for computer science, all I can do is thank you from the bottom of my heart and ask that you watch me (hopefully) go on to do bigger and better things in the future
Marc Paillant – COMP TIA A+ 1001 and 1002 Certification candidate
I am humbled, honored and as well excited to be rewarded a Scholar of this magnanimous program helping minorities around the world succeed in their professional livelihoods. I am a descendant of two Haitian Born Immigrant parents who came to America to achieve the American Dream; the dream of freedom, professionalism, and success. I cannot thank PepsiCo Foundation enough for allowing me to receive full tuition coverage of $2,500 and as well the benefits of receiving a personal navigator to assist me in pursuing the development of my education. I would like to state that with this Scholarship from PepsiCo Foundation it will be of a great help for me and especially my Mother who cannot afford to help me pursue my education financially but is here in spirit and concern. The PepsiCo Foundation has lifted a burden off not only my shoulders but as well as my family, our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the program, organizers, and chairmen.
I am the eldest of two siblings. Coming from a Carribean home has taught me certain principles and morals that were taught by my parents which instilled a certain character in my siblings and I. This very character today has helped me establish a love for IT. I dream of owning my own CyberSecurity Firm where we practice protecting individuals who would potentially be at high risk of privacy related concerns and as well as data leaks. I know this is a very big goal but with the help of PepsiCo Foundation the first step has already been completed.
I would like to express once again my sincere gratitude and appreciation for this most wonderful reward. With this honor being bestowed I would like to thank the PepsiCo Foundation, Westchester Community College, and my Personal Navigator who has truly been of great assistance in preparing me for this educational process. This has been a generous and serviceable aid to the families rewarded by this program. A welcoming and true excitement brews not only in my heart but I am sure as well as other members who have participated and have been awarded in this program. A deep concern of admiration and respect and thank you once again to the Organizers at PepsiCo Foundation and as well as those at Westchester Community College who made this possible for all people of backgrounds, gender, and ethnicity. To really make a difference in this world is to invest in the development of others, something PepsiCo Foundation has and is doing. For that many others and I are forever indebted for this sincere and courteous gesture in investing in the success of others. Thank You PepsiCo Foundation.
Michael James – Python Certification Candidate
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Looking back on my life, I don’t understand why I never pursued a career in technology. During the Spring of 2021, I began researching different career options on the internet. The thought of getting a second degree crossed my mind along with obtaining certifications from various technological fields but I was never able to find the right path that suited me.
I see either IBM Practitioner courses as the finish line for my particular race. Let us not forget that no race begins without a start. That start, which is my foundation, will begin with Introduction to Programming with Python followed by Intermediate Programming with Python. Once I complete both courses, I will choose which IBM course will follow
I believe education is important because as human beings, we are constantly learning and evolving. Having an education demonstrates the ability for one to focus on and complete a particular subject. It shows discipline. Having an education opens doors and creates more opportunities. No great civilization is built with a stagnant, uneducated people leading the way.
Receiving a scholarship from the PepsiCo Foundation is very humbling. I am very thankful for receiving it and will no doubt, focus on the opportunity to learn something entirely new. It serves as the preface of “volume two” to my life. When I say volume two, I am referring to my re-creation. Receiving this creates new opportunities in my life to provide for my family and be a productive citizen within the new age.
As stated earlier, new possibilities will be created in my life after completing the Python courses. In no way am I stopping there. I intend to proceed from there with either the IBM Artificial Intelligence or the Data Science Practitioner courses. From there, I will have the options of either working for a private company or working for myself. It is difficult to say at this moment since I’ve yet to take a Python course. I would like to add that I’ve been reading about blockchain technology, and I must say that I am completely fascinated by what I am reading. Maybe, this can one day be added to the Westchester Community College catalog?
Nii Laryea – Python Certification Candidate
I am a son of West African immigrants from Ghana. The one solid rule my parents preached to me in this life, as they pursued their own American Dreams, is that education comes first. Whoever I want to be, wherever I want to go, whatever I wanted to do in this country and in life, would be based off of my education. That being said I first pursued a career in medicine, going to school, while working as an EMT and doing plenty of volunteer hours. Day in and day out, I quickly knew this wasn’t for me as the work didn’t move me as I thought it would have. Searching for a new career path, I found myself at home in the IT industry through the guidance of mentors I have known throughout the different stages in my life. Upon seeing, how IT can transform the everyday lives of the employees and the clients, which in turn transforms huge corporations, was something I instantly fell in love with. Information Technology focuses on improving everyone in every field and this was something I felt I can contribute to. This award will allow me to further my education in IT with the introduction to programming with Python & intermediate Programming with Python, all while maintaining my work balance. This will further my skills & knowledge in IT and be able to apply it in my future as I work towards becoming an DevOps Engineer. I would like to say thank you all at the PepsiCo Foundation for awarding me this huge opportunity and a chance to better myself.
Chavay Johnson – IBM Data Science Certification candidate
I am honored and grateful for this generous award. This great gift is enabling me to attend the Data Science Practitioner Certification program this fall at Westchester Community College. I have dreamed about becoming a Data Scientist, but it was clearly impossible due to limited resources. Last year, I was laid off due to Covid-19 Pandemic and have struggled to find new employment. As an unemployed African American woman with a family to support, this has made me feel defeated and lost. My background is Project Management, but I lack technical skills. To make myself more marketable in the current job market, I wanted to upskill and learn a technical skill. Thus why I chose Data Science which is in high demand and there are a lot of jobs available. The PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship is changing my life by supporting me and enabling me to attend the certification program to achieve my goal. Five years from now, I will be a Data Science Practitioner at an organization that utilizes data to make decisions and solve complex problems.