News Briefs

News Briefs

Science student selected for Neurotechnology research at the University of Washington

Miguel Mendoza

Heritage University student and McNair Program scholar Miguel Mendoza will spend this summer on a research project with the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle. Mendoza will participate in the 2022 Center for Neurotechnology Research Experience for Undergraduates Program and will work in the “GRIDlab” at UW.

“I believe this opportunity with Drs. Raj Rao, Jeff Ojemann, Jeffrey Herron at GRIDlab will help me grow as an individual and will allow me to dive into the field of neurosurgery, which is a great fit for me as I continue my journey towards becoming a doctor,” said Mendoza.

The McNair program prepares first-generation, minority and low-income students to enter into doctoral studies after graduating from Heritage. Students participate in specialized research, mentoring and other scholarly activities.

Student traveling to Johns Hopkins University for humanities research this summer

Melissa “Millie” Land


Heritage University student Melissa “Millie” Land will spend part of this summer at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, after being selected for a Leadership Alliance Summer Research-Early Identification Program (SR-EIP). Land’s internship conducting research in humanities will run from May 30 to August 5, 2022, and she will receive a $5,700 fellowship payment plus travel and housing expenses.

Along with conducting research, Land will participate in social and professional development activities with other students. The SR-EIP provides training and mentoring and prepares them to pursue competitive applications to PhD or MD- PhD programs.


Law school partnership program brings legal career prep to Heritage students

A new partnership program at Heritage is helping students and alumni explore careers in the legal field. The Law School Admission Council Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program is an innovative partnership among Washington’s three law schools – Seattle University School of Law, University of Washington School of Law, and Gonzaga University School of Law – and Heritage University.

It seeks to make a law degree more accessible to diverse students, especially Latino, Latina, Latinx and Indigenous students.

This three-week, summer program helps students realize that getting admitted to law school and launching a legal career are achievable goals. By the end of the program, they will have a better understanding of what it takes to apply to and become accepted by a law school, how to thrive as a law student, and what it is like to work as a lawyer. In the process, students will make valuable connections with diverse attorneys and judges in their community who are invested in their future success.

More information is available at https://law. inclusion/lsac-plus-program/


Angela Guerrero

Student selected for fellowship program

The Latino Center for Health has named Heritage social work major Angela Guerrero as one of the recipients of its third annual Student Scholars Fellowship Program. Guerrero is one of eleven students selected from health sciences programs in universities across Washington state for this crucial financial and community support opportunity.

The fellowship program helps meet the demand for Latinx and Spanish-speaking healthcare workers in WA state by providing financial and community support to students in the health sciences.


Heritage breaks ground for new Early Learning Center opening next year

New ELC groundbreaking

Heritage University broke ground on a new state-of- the-art Early Learning Center on December 3. The new $3.2 million facility will contain five classrooms, and will serve children between the ages of 12 months and kindergarten.

Construction is expected to take eight months, with the center scheduled to open in December 2022. The new ELC will allow Heritage to increase the number of children served from 75 to 90.

The new facility is made possible by a generous contribution from an anonymous donor. See the construction progress by visiting


Five Heritage alums selected among top young leaders to watch in Yakima County

Since 2018, the Yakima Herald- Republic recognizes 39 men and women under 39 years old as up and coming community leaders to watch. This year, five Heritage grads were among those honored. They are: Andrea Flores, Amy Hamilton, Courtney Hernandez, Cindy Lemus and Corbin Schuster.

Flores was recognized for her work in public service. She graduated from Heritage in 2016 with a degree in accounting. She completed her degree in just three years while working full-time. After graduating, she worked in the accounting departments at both Yakima Regional Medical Center and Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital before joining the city of Yakima, where she works as a level two accountant.

Hamilton was recognized for her work in health and medicine. She earned her degree in criminal justice from Heritage in 2018. She was working as a care provider at Total Care Home Health, which is now Avenna Healthcare, while going to school. After graduating, she stayed with the company and worked her way through the ranks. Today, she is the area operations director for Central and Eastern Washington.

Hernandez was recognized for her work in nonprofits and advocacy. She is an English teacher at Davis High School and a community organizer who helped create the Selah Alliance for Equality. Her work, along with others in the grass-roots organization, led the city to agree to changes to improved diversity and conversations around equity and First Amendment rights. Hernandez graduated from Heritage in 2018 with a Master in Teaching.

Lemus was recognized in the category of education. She is an artist and teacher in the Toppenish School District. She teaches art to grade school children from kindergarten through fifth grade and is involved in several community art projects. He earned her degree in art education in 2018.

Schuster was also recognized in the education category. He graduated from Heritage with a degree in biomedical science in 2018 and went to Oregon State University, where he earned a Ph.D. in microbiology. Today, he is a researcher for the Zebrafish International Resource Center at the University of Oregon and an adjunct professor at Heritage.

Heritage University community mourns the loss of a leader and good friend

Long-time supporter and former member of the Heritage University Board of Directors, William “Bill” Rich, passed away on February 25, 2022. He was 87.

William Rich

Rich served on the board for ten years until 2014. During that time, he was part of the Advancement Committee and was Vice-Chair of the Executive and Tribal Relations committees. Through his leadership, Rich helped raise funding to construct the Arts and Sciences Center; hired the university’s second president, Dr. John Bassett; and helped the university rebuild its campus following the 2012 fire that destroyed Petrie Hall.

In addition to his service to Heritage, Rich was an active Rotarian who was part of the Yakima Downtown Rotary since 1984. He spent 30 years working at Jack Frost Fruit Company and Marley Orchards before retiring as the general manager in 1996.

Rich was an avid outdoorsman who loved fishing and hunting. He was also a talented woodcarver who took inspiration from nature, carving wildlife and Native American-style masks.

Rich is survived by his wife of 64 years, Sue; his children Doug and Kitty; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.