Interview with Jessica Vallejo
Romero Scholarship Recipient-2013
Jessica Vallejo, Arts & Sciences '14
Director of External Affairs, Organization of Latin American Affairs (OLAA)
1. What motivated you to apply for the Romero Scholarship?
What originally motivated me to apply for the Romero Scholarship was my deep commitment to social justice, service to the Latino community and to the ideals of Archbishop Oscar Romero. Perhaps more however, were the personal connections I have with past recipients of the scholarship. They are a great source of inspiration, motivation, and comfort, as they allow me to see that I am not alone in my work and aspirations.
2. What was the most memorable question from the interview and how did you respond?
The most memorable question from the interview was: If I were given a couple of thousand dollars to bring any three people to campus, who would I bring? This was a fun and unexpected question, and I responded with three Latinos from the Massachusetts area who inspire me daily—Carmen Ortiz, Juan Concepcion and Arivee Vargas. All three have deep connections to the city of Boston, to Boston College, to empowering the Latino community, and to achieving a just legal system.
3. How did you feel when you heard your name called as the award winner?
It was surreal; I am pretty sure I went into shock! At first I didn’t even move, I cried—cried a lot--then I hugged my friends and mentor, and finally with a little push I went to the podium. I could not help but wish my parents were there with me and think that this honor was all for them.
4. What do you feel is your biggest responsibility as the Romero Scholarship recipient of 2013?
As the Romero Scholarship Recipient of 2013, I feel that my biggest responsibility is to continue working to achieve my goals, while both empowering and furthering the interests of underprivileged communities. Archbishop Romero never stopped—voicing his opinions, advocating for those without a voice, fighting for what he knew to be right; if I am to live out his legacy, I cannot stop either.
5. What would you say to students who are thinking of applying next year?
I would absolutely encourage students committed to service, to the Latino community, and to the ideals of Archbishop Romero to apply. You lose nothing by applying, and it is such a rewarding process—one where you truly get to learn about yourself by reflecting on your values, what you’ve done, and what you want to do in the future to continue seeking justice. If only for that, I would do it all over again.