"Try not to become a man of success but a man of value." -Albert Einstein
Well, there really isn’t much that I can discuss, but I will go ahead and throw a bit about myself. My name is Ernesto Villasenor, Jr., and I am a first-generation college student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Class of 2014), majoring in Sustainability Studies/Pre-Law. My concentrations are focused on the following: environmental and sustainable education; public health within inner city communities (most of my research is focused on Compton, Los Angeles, and Troy, NY); social and environmental justice; and environmental policy.
I grew up in Compton, California, attending Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School (Class of 2003), Frank L. Walton Middle School (Class of 2006), and Compton Senior High School (Class of 2010). I graduated from Compton High School in 2010 with more than 80 awards, recognitions, and medals ranging in multiple disciplines: engineering, community service, education, and political activism, to name a few. A lot of my accomplishments made it to the local newspapers as well as the LA Times, which I am proud of.
I was the former Student Board Member for the Compton Unified School District Board of Trustees for the 2009-2010 academic school year, serving as a liaison between the secondary school student body and the Board of Trustees. During my service as a student board member, I was exposed to a lot of socio-educational and socio-political issues that correlated with our school district, learning about public education from a student perspective, a community resident, and as an advisor to the CUSD. I still engage myself with the Compton Unified School District and the City Council, which I plan to run for a position once I graduate from RPI.
I am also a recipient of the Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholarship, which is a fully-funded scholarship for the rest of my college career. What I mean by fully-funded scholarship for the rest of my college career, I mean that I will have my undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees fully funded. Of course, with such prestigious scholarship comes great responsibilities: I have assisted hundreds of students throughout the nation with the scholarship application process(I created a Facebook group that apparently gained momentum through college forums). I also serve as an Ambassador to the scholarship, which I visit my alma matter and other secondary schools, promoting the prestigious scholarship and providing assistance to the students who are interested in the scholarship.
Tengo raices Mexicanas en las que estoy muy orgulloso de representar. I have Mexican roots in which I proudly represent. Both of my parents emigrated from Atacheo (which is a small town located in the Zamora jurisdiction, a city in Michoacan, Mexico) in pursuit of a better life, the American Dream. I am proud to say that I am that American Dream that they strived to pursue, as I proudly represent them and where they both come from.