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Jessica Vallejo Awarded Boston College's Oscar Romero Scholarship

Chestnut Hill, Mass. (April 2013) -- Boston College student Jessica Vallejo '14 has been awarded the 2013 Archbishop Oscar A. Romero Scholarship from Boston College.

Vallejo was recognized in a recent ceremony at Yawkey Center hosted by the Romero Scholarship Committee. The Romero Scholarship, which covers 75 percent of senior year tuition, is awarded to a Boston College junior who demonstrates a commitment to the values and ideals reflected in the life of Archbishop of El Salvador Oscar Romero, an outspoken advocate for the poor and oppressed who was assassinated in 1980. 

Jessica Vallejo, 2013 Romero Scholar

Vallejo, who comes from Queens, NY, is a political science major with a double minor in international studies and women and gender studies. Since her freshman year she has been active in the student group Organization of Latin American Affairs (OLAA) and serves as editor of Sabor, its Latin America literary/art magazine. She also is involved in the AHANA Leadership Council and the Women of Color Caucus.

Vallejo cites her Arrupe International Immersion trip to Cuernavaca, Mexico, as “one of the most transformative experiences” of her BC career.

“In many of the young women I met in Cuernavaca, I saw myself. I could have easily been them had I been born--by sheer luck--in a different part of the world or had I not been provided with the support and opportunity to attend college,” she said.

Witnessing social, political and economic injustice, she continued, “allowed me to see that not only do I have a duty to, but that I could, through my education, do something to help achieve a more just system.”

Vallejo plans to attend law school. Last summer, she was a participant in the Lindsay Fellowship Program, an educational program for college students interested in careers in the law. As a Lindsay Fellow, Vallejo worked hands-on with both judges and law clerks, took an intensive legal research and writing course taught by a law school professor and interned at the U.S. Attorney’s office. At the conclusion, she participated in a moot court before a federal judge.

“Learning about the law’s power and significance was vital, as it helped me realize that through the law I can work to uplift the Latino community in a variety of areas and work on issues that affect our community,” said Vallejo.

In addition to support from friends, Vallejo credits her parents and mentor, Carroll School of Management part-time faculty member Arivee Vargas ’05, JD ’08 (BC’s 2004 Oscar Romero Scholar), for fueling her passion and work ethic.

“I owe everything I am today to [my parents’] hard work and dedication...they have given me more than I could ever ask for, in love, values and motivation. [Arivee’s] guidance, instruction, encouragement and example have given me the assurance that it is possible to succeed as a Latina, and to work to achieve social justice through the law. She has been an incredible support and a huge source of inspiration.”

Also honored at the ceremony was Alberto Vasallo III '89, who was named the 2013 Rev. John A. Dinneen, SJ, Hispanic Alumni Community Service Award winner.  Last year, Vasallo was named president and CEO of  El Mundo, New England’s premier Latino newspaper. Vasallo has worked at El Mundo, a family-run business, since 1981. From 1992-2001, he also co-produced and hosted “La Hora del Café,” a popular talk show on Spanish radio. He partnered with the Boston Red Sox on Latino Youth Recognition days at Fenway Park, which recognizes top Latino students from Boston-area middle schools during pre-game ceremonies with Latino players. He developed and hosted the El Mundo Hispanic Heritage Breakfast. He also produces and hosts “Revista Hispana” on WHDH-TV.

The other Romero Scholarship finalists were Andrea Lopez, a nursing major who is a member of the Voices of Imani gospel choir and president-elect of the Massachusetts Student Nurses Association; Andrea Roman, a political science major who serves as a mentor for the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, and Victoria Torres-Vega, an applied psychology and human development major who serves as site leader for the Lawrence Recreation Department and advocate for the Lawrence Juvenile Courthouse.

--Kathleen Sullivan, Office of News & Public Affairs,