SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The National AIDS Memorial, through its Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship Program, has awarded ten outstanding undergraduate students $50,000 in financial scholarships to further pursue their educational goals and commitment to active roles of public service and leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Named in honor of AIDS educator, activist and reality television pioneer Pedro Zamora, who passed away on November 11, 1994 from an AIDS-related illness, the scholarship program has helped support the education of young people who today are engaged in a wide variety of HIV-related work both in school as well as within the chosen academic field.
"Pedro knew that the key to changing social misconceptions about HIV/AIDS lay in the hands of the youth of America," said Pedro's Real World roommates Pam Ling, M.D. and Judd Winick, author/illustrator of the award-winning graphic memoir Pedro and Me. "With the support of the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship, these ten young students will continue making a positive difference in their communities. We're very proud of these recipients and the work National AIDS Memorial is doing continuing his legacy."
The scholarships recipients announced today will each receive a $5,000 scholarship and include Caitlyn Anderson, sophomore, University of Nevada Las Vegas; Tsion Afman, freshman, University of Washington; Albert Appouh, junior, Rutgers University; Benjamin Di'Costa, freshman, Truman College; Patrick Sabillon, freshman, Florida State University; Ruben Molina, junior, University of Florida; Abdon Orrostieta, a second year scholarship recipient, senior, University of Central Florida; Hannah Piecuch, freshman, Agnes Scott College; Nestor Rogel, junior, Cal State University Dominguez Hills; and Manuel Venegas, a second-year scholarship recipient, senior, University of Washington.
"I made a promise to myself and to my mom after she died that I would work to empower and support youth living with HIV/AIDS," said Rogel. "This scholarship from the National AIDS Memorial will help me continue my education and serve as a positive role model helping break the stereotypes about HIV/AIDS."
The National AIDS Memorial started the scholarship program in 2009 and has since expanded its reach to high school seniors and college students from across the country through the support of corporate and individual donors, including major support this year from Gilead and Wells Fargo.
"The grants provided by Wells Fargo and Gilead Sciences are supporting the education of these truly amazing students who are making a difference in their communities and on campus," said John Cunningham, executive director of the National AIDS Memorial. "Without the leadership and commitment from Wells Fargo and Gilead Sciences, this program wouldn't have the tremendous impact it is having, not just on these students' lives, but in helping develop the next generation of leaders to help end HIV/AIDS."
The Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship is open to all current high school seniors, and college freshman, sophomores and juniors (ages 27 and younger) who demonstrate an active commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS and taking on roles of public service and leadership. To learn more about the scholarship program and the National AIDS Memorial, visit www.aidsmemorial.org or call (415) 765-0497.
About the National AIDS Memorial: The National AIDS Memorial, known as "the Grove", is a dedicated space in the national landscape which honors lives touched by AIDS, and articulates the epidemic's enormous societal impact and the community's magnificent response. The Grove was created twenty-five years ago at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as a place where those impacted by AIDS could both grieve and begin the process of healing. In 1996, the Grove was elevated as a National Memorial through legislation sponsored by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Today, nearly 25,000 individuals from around the world have contributed over 150,000 volunteer hours to support the National AIDS Memorial Grove and its mission to provide, in perpetuity, a place of remembrance so that the lives of people who died from AIDS are not forgotten and the story is known by future generations.
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SOURCE National AIDS Memorial Grove