Melanie Paredes

Melanie Paredes

1. What motivated you to apply for the Romero Scholarship?

During my freshman year of college, I was introduced to the Oscar Romero scholarship through the Options Through Education program. They encouraged us to do our own research on Saint Oscar Romero and his beliefs. I was motivated to apply this year to represent not only students of Dominican backgrounds but also because no student from the Dominican Association at Boston College had been a finalist for this prestigious scholarship. I wanted to reflect on my contribution to the Latino community and be a role model for any other students in my association that wanted to apply in the future.

2. What was the most memorable question from the interview, and how did you respond?

“How can Boston College become a more inclusive environment?” This question made me pause and think about my experience here and the experience of my Afro-Latino peers. I stressed the importance of creating a more inclusive environment for all Latino students to not just fall on culture clubs. I proposed funding for a retreat dedicated to Latino experience and more programming that brings in Latinx professionals to speak to undergraduate students in all fields. Additionally, I spoke about the need for Latinx clubs to do a better job at representing Black and Indigenous Latino/a’s. The Dominican Association here was the first to start an Afro-Latinx week dedicated to highlighting our Black Latino students on campus and I am proud to be a part of that. It is essential that we represent all Latino/a’s.

3. How did you feel when you heard your name called as the award winner?

I was in utter shock. My mom’s reaction made it real. At that moment all I could think about was how thankful I am for her sacrifices and how my amazing faculty and friends supported me along the way. When I came into the ceremony, I was very aware that service to the Latino community was something that all of us finalists were passionate about. I was honored to be a finalist alongside my amazing peers Jacob Bojito and Karol Bedoya that I have had the pleasure to meet through the Latin culture clubs on campus. It is a day I will never forget.

4. What do you feel is your biggest responsibility as the Romero Scholarship recipient of 2024?

As the Romero Scholarship recipient of 2024, my biggest responsibility is to honor the legacy of the scholarship and to embody the values it represents during my time here and post-graduation. This means not only excelling academically but also using the resources and platform afforded by the scholarship to make a positive impact in my community and beyond. My future career in changing and improving real estate laws is one that I must embark on so that I can continue giving back. Additionally, I see it as my duty to pay it forward by mentoring and supporting other students who are interested in the Saint Oscar Romero Scholarship.

5. What would you say to students who are thinking of applying next year?

Firstly, do not be afraid to reach out to the finalists from the previous year! We are all more than happy to speak to you about our experience applying and hear your thoughts about why you want to apply. One of my biggest hesitations was that I did not know the previous year's finalists but when I reached out, I was met with kindness and advice for my application. Secondly, this is a transformative application that requires thoughtfulness and time. Make sure to look into the ideals of Saint Oscar Romero and think about how you have carried out his mission both on and off campus. Lastly, apply! You will never know what can happen unless you put your application in.