college graduates who change the world

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“Growing up as an undocumented student I always heard phrases such as “You won’t make it in life.” During these low points in my life, 10,000 Degrees provided the love and support that no one else did. 10,000 Degrees provided me with the opportunity of creating lifetime friendships, connections, and relationships. In addition, 10,000 Degrees taught me to believe in myself, my hard work, and my capabilities. Today, I am proud to say that I am a college graduate who holds a B.S. degree with a concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology. I dedicate this achievement to 10,000 Degrees for their encouragement that lead me to pursue my dream of higher education. Without 10,000 Degrees, this dream would not have been possible. With this degree I hope to inspire other undocumented students of the program who have and continue to face challenges and obstacles in education.”

Johanna Perez Gallardo
Terra Linda High School, 2016
San Francisco State University, 2021
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“I’ve always thought of the staff and board of 10,000 Degrees as dream-weavers—encouraging, facilitating, and nurturing the aspirations of young people to reach for the stars. It’s been one of the great privileges of my career to have been a supporter of this amazing enterprise. You’ve planted dream after dream, and the lives that you’ve altered as a result of that dream-weaving are making a difference in the Bay Area, in California, and across the country.”

Dr. Tom Peters
Former President & CEO
Marin Community Foundation
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“Thinking back to how my parents left everything behind in Mexico to give us a better life in America, I knew that college was my only way out of being lower-income. I worked so hard to get A’s; but it wasn’t until I got my college acceptance letters yet rejected for scholarships that I knew what it meant to be undocumented. 10,000 Degrees helped me with scholarships and provided a mentor who believed in me. I used to think that my dream to open a business and provide scholarships to undocumented students was so far-fetched. But the day I figured out I could, I was crying. Just to know that with every meal or drink my customers buy, they are supporting students - there’s no question that‘s what I want to do, especially with organizations like 10,000 Degrees that have helped me so much.”

Cinthya Cisneros
10,000 Degrees Alumna
Sonoma State University, 2012
Owner of La Cheve Bakery & Brews, Napa
Founder of the La Cheve American
Dream Scholarship for 10,000 Degrees students
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“None of us can do this alone. College of Marin is stronger and is fortified in our support for our students because of 10,000 Degrees. If a student has a question about academic resources, financial aid, or just needs a friendly face–certainly we’re there for them, but so is 10,000 Degrees. The 10,000 Degrees model of support is so comprehensive. It’s not just about giving students a scholarship check. It’s how they mentor and teach students the ingredients for college success. I’ve seen first-hand how hundreds and hundreds of students have benefited.”

Anna L. Pilloton
College of Marin
Director of School & Community Partnerships
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“10KD has been really helpful during my transition back to campus after the pandemic. They provided me with the right resources, and supported me emotionally by offering check in sessions, which made my transition back to campus easy and smooth. I am truly thankful for their staff and all their hard work to support everyone.”

Ryan Young
10,000 Degrees Student
San Jose State University, 2023

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