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Scholar Spotlight: Dayanna Martinez-Soto

Senior at University of Iowa

This schol­ar­ship has giv­en me the oppor­tu­ni­ty to be the first gen­er­a­tion in my fam­i­ly to attend col­lege. Thanks to the Bright Foun­da­tion, I will be able to grad­u­ate on time with two majors, with­out hav­ing the finan­cial bur­den of stu­dent loan debt.

What oppor­tu­ni­ties or expe­ri­ences have you been able to take part in that you might not have been able to with­out the scholarship?

With­out this schol­ar­ship, I would not have had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet stu­dents and pro­fes­sors who share my inter­est in serv­ing as a social work­er for low-income com­mu­ni­ties and immi­grants. I have been able to work with chil­dren from dif­fer­ent back­grounds who come from com­mu­ni­ties that lack resources. This expe­ri­ence inspired me to serve as an intern at the Cen­ter for Work­er Jus­tice of East­ern Iowa.

I have also had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to devel­op many pro­fes­sion­al con­nec­tions that have sup­port­ed my suc­cess in school. These con­nec­tions helped me find intern­ships with non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions and inspired me to pur­sue a degree in social work.

What advice would you give to some­one who is con­sid­er­ing apply­ing for the Bright Scholarship/​Lois Dale Scholarship?

I would advise any­one to take the chance and apply! I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t tak­en that same chance. It was the best deci­sion I’ve ever made. This schol­ar­ship has giv­en me so oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn, and it has guid­ed my suc­cess at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Iowa.

What has been your biggest chal­lenge since start­ing col­lege?

My best advice is to pri­or­i­tize home­work and study­ing. It’s real­ly easy to fall behind on school work if you don’t keep up with it all, and you may not know you’ve fall­en behind until you real­ize you don’t know what’s going on in a lec­ture.

What is your ide­al study environment?  

I like study­ing in cof­fee shops. Iowa City has a vari­ety of cof­fee shops, and they’re all good, but my two favorites are Prairie Lights and High Ground.

What’s the best food on cam­pus?

There’s so much good food! I love the food truck that dri­ves around cam­pus. Meza has a vari­ety of piz­za to calm those late-night crav­ings. I also enjoy Sumo, Masala and Nodo.

Thanks for get­ting to know our won­der­ful schol­ars! Stayed tuned for more spot­lights to come on our News & Events page, as well as oth­er updates!