A Pasco High School senior was awarded a Gates Millennium Scholarship, becoming the fifth Pasco student to earn the full-ride award since 2009.
Daphne Gallegos learned of the award after recently returning home from visiting colleges, a release said. She is one of 1,000 students nationwide to win the scholarship. About 52,000 applied.
“I am literally seeing my accomplishments pay off,” Gallegos said in the news release.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program was established in 1999 with a $1 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
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It aims to help minority students study computer science, education, engineering, library science, math, public health and science and is renewable through graduate school.
The application process involves eight 10-page essays, several letters of recommendation and students must talk about their community service, internships and obstacles they’ve faced in life.
Gallegos, who is one of three Pasco School Board student representatives, currently has a 4.0 GPA and is one of five valedictorians in her senior class.
She’s long had the drive to study medicine. Her interest stems from her efforts to find out what disease ailed her mother and baffled the family’s doctors since Gallegos was 12. Two years of her own research led to her mother being diagnosed with relapsing polychondritis, an autoimmune disease.
Gallegos also hopes to be part of Doctors Without Borders, a group that sends doctors to troubled areas around the world, saying it would provide an opportunity to use her Spanish fluency and maybe the French that she intends to study along with molecular and cellular biology.
She is considering attending one of several private schools in the Pacific Northwest before applying to the University of Washington School of Medicine to pursue her doctorate degree.