Veronica Hernandez graduated from Heritage in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Combined Science, Chemistry and Biology. The following year she earned her Clinical Laboratory Science certification, making her the first Heritage graduate to complete her undergraduate degree and CLS certificate at the university. She was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow at Heritage and served as Associated Student Body Vice President and Treasurer. While at Heritage, she interned at a number of institutions, including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, and with the University of Washington School of Public Health, where she worked on a water-quality study researching the safety of private wells in the lower Yakima Valley. Currently, Veronica is a medical technologist at the Yakama Indian Health Clinic, where she performs lab tests to help doctors diagnose and treat patients. She and her husband, Cesar, who also attended Heritage, are expecting their first child in July.
Junior, Business Administration
Alex chose Heritage University because he wanted to be near family while going to college. He is heavily involved with several clubs on campus, including Enactus, TRiO and the Student Government Association. Alex wants to one day own a successful clothing boutique so he can be a scholarship donor for Heritage. His hobbies include running marathons, music production and being a food connoisseur.
M.I.T., Elementary Education
Artemio graduated this year with a Master in Teaching in Elementary Education. He was drawn to Heritage after hearing about the HU105 teacher preparation program. Through this program, he was placed at Kirkwood Elementary School in Toppenish. Artemio still had a semester left to go in his studies when the school district asked him to join their educational team permanently. He started teaching first grade at Kirkwood in the fall, and remains in this position today. His goal is to eventually return to college to earn a Ph.D. and become a professor.
Sophomore, Social Work
Arturo decided to attend college so he could build a better, more secure future. His compassion for his community and the people who live there led him to major in social work. He is an active fixture on the campus through clubs and the Student Government Association, where he helps coordinate activities that encourage students to stay engaged with their studies. He is a founding member of the Men of Vision fraternity, leading the organization as president, and is a member of Enactus. He represents Heritage University in the community at events such as Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an effort to stop violence against women. After graduation he plans on continuing his studies and would like to one day work as a high school counselor with Child Protective Services.
Senior, Environmental Science
Daylen is a scholar with the first Act Six cadre to come to Heritage. He is a scientist interested in environmental preservation. Last summer he started a research project that looks at the use of biochar, the burned remains from hardwoods, as a mechanism to filter nitrates and other pollutants from agricultural fields. His work was selected for a presentation at the 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting, where he won an honorable mention award in his category. When not in the lab, Daylen is a musician, a member of the Science Club and the Rodeo Club, and is a mentor for budding middle-school scientists in EnvironMentors.
Senior, Environmental Science
Eva, an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation, decided to return to school to earn her degree as a way to both improve her career opportunities and become a better asset for her community. Her research has allowed her to tie together her culture and her passion for environmental science. Last summer she participated in research on the impact of spawning lamprey on the health of inland streams. This winter she worked with the students at the Yakama Tribal School, presenting research on the impact of wild horses on the closed shrub steppe portions of the Yakama Nation. She is active in the Native American Club, HUNAC, the Science Club and TRiO. Her goal is to work for the Yakama Nation Department of Natural Resources after graduating.
Junior, Elementary Education
Jayla is a scholar in the first Act Six cadre. She came to Heritage focused on a career in teaching and quickly became interested in the HU105 program. She is completing her first year teaching fifth graders with a core teacher in the Kirkwood Elementary School in Toppenish School District. She will complete the program and graduate next year. After graduation she plans on exploring opportunities to teach overseas and ultimately would like to earn a master's degree in either educational administration or special education. Besides being active with the Act Six Leadership group, she volunteers with Enactus and the Science Club.
Jessica's decision to become a nurse was made in high school when her class took a tour of a local hospital. After graduating, she enrolled in a nursing program at a community college before transferring to Heritage, where she felt she could get more one-on-one support from her professors. She is a full-time student while working as a home healthcare provider for Alzheimer's patients. Her goal is to work in obstetrics or as a midwife.
Freshman, Business Administration
Luis came to Heritage University from Eisenhower High School as part of the third cadre of Act Six. He is an avid photographer who is using his skills to help launch the university's first student-run newspaper. Earlier this year, he was one of several students to organize Flip the Script, an intercultural dialogue workshop led by students for Heritage faculty that used the arts as a way to share their experiences. In addition to his volunteer work through Act Six, he is a volunteer with the Student Government Association.
Junior, Environmental Studies
Patrick is a Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (AMP) Scholar and a member of the Klahoose First Nations tribe from British Columbia, Canada. Last summer he spent 10 weeks researching the Pacific lamprey at the Oregon Health and Science University Center for Coastal Margin Observation, including several weeks aboard the National Science Foundation's research vessel Oceanus. He presented this research at the Gathering of Scholars, where he took second place, and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society conference last fall. This summer he is participating in a water quality study in the Yakima Valley. Patrick is a member of the Native American Club, the Science Club and TRiO.
Junior, Business Administration
Sagrario is taking full advantage of all the opportunities for student leadership that a Heritage education provides. She is very active in Heritage Enactus. He is an officer and this year's incoming co-president as well as a member of the nationally award-winning presentation team that recently took third place. Sagrario has worked on some of Enactus's most prominent signature projects, including traveling to Belize to help low-income families establish self-sustaining businesses, teaching financial literacy to school children through Moon Jar and a summer camp for middle-school kids, and helping local aspiring entrepreneurs build their business plans and secure financing through ADENTRO. She wants to be a role model for single mothers who want to go back to school to earn their college degrees.
Sandra came to Heritage as part of the first cadre of Act Six scholars. When not studying for her nursing degree, Sandra can be found in the Advancement Office, where she is a work-study student. She is co-chair of the student ambassadors for the Scholarship Dinner and helps to coordinate all-campus student letter-writing campaigns to thank donors for their support. During the summers, she works for Zinkle Fruit. Her ultimate goal is to work in public health and she would love to provide healthcare to residents living in small, rural communities where access to healthcare is limited.