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Three Students Receive MANA del Norte Scholarships

Photo of three scholarship winners.

Highlands University students Jennifer Hooper, left, Jessica Benavidez, and Ashley Grant received MANA del Norte scholarships. Courtesy Photo

October 22, 2019

Las Vegas, N.M. –  Three New Mexico Highlands University students each received $1,ooo scholarships, thanks to a MANA del Norte program. The del Norte chapter of MANA, a nonprofit organization formerly known as the Mexican American Women’s National Association, provides scholarships that help Latinas from Northern New Mexico complete postsecondary education.

Jessica Benavidez was born and raised in Las Vegas, New Mexico and is a single mother of three. One daughter, Josilyn, has graduated from Highlands and another, Jaiden, is a senior. Jessica Benavidez completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Highlands in 2017 and is on track to complete her master’s degree in social work from Highlands in May 2020.

“My goal is to earn my license as a clinical social worker and eventually establish a private practice offering therapy for families and couples,” Benavidez said.

Ashley Grant of Taos, New Mexico lives in Albuquerque and is pursuing her master’s degree in school counseling at the Highlands Rio Rancho Center. She is scheduled to graduate in December 2019. Grant is the first in her family to graduate from college.

“My goal is to become a school counselor and return to my hometown of Taos and guide students in securing resources to continue their education,” Grant said.

Jennifer Hooper has lived in Las Vegas since 1989 and is a single mother of two teenagers. She is employed in the Career Services Office at Highlands. Hooper is slated to earn her bachelor’s degree in business administration in management in December 2019 through the university’s tuition waiver program. Hooper also owns and manages a successful home-based bakery business.

“My goal is to continue my education and pursue my MBA in accounting because I want to be a CPA someday and eventually own my own business,” Hooper said.

“These women all work full time while attending school and exemplify dedication in achieving their educational goals,” said Roxanne Gonzales, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Highlands. “They serve as role models to other Hispanic women of all ages. Highlands congratulates them on their achievements.”