DREAM Achieved

A dream to expand education access earns this entrepreneur entrance to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program.

Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca 24 had a vision for what her younger self never received: a space for undocumented students to access opportunities to pursue higher education. She created DREAMer’s Roadmap, a free mobile app where students could easily find and filter scholarships they qualify for. Now she’s not only an entrepreneur but one of the 2024 Knight-Hennessy scholars, the first Mexican from SCU to join this prestigious program.

Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca
Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca ’24 is a 2024 Knight-Hennessy Scholar. Photo courtesy Alma Covarrubias.

When the Santa Clara Office of Fellowships reached out about the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship, Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca 24 didn’t think much of it. After graduating high school 16 years ago, finishing her bachelor’s degree was the end goal. But after multiple mentors encouraged her to apply, she became the only SCU student selected to be part of this year’s Knight-Hennessy cohort. Salamanca will pursue a master’s degree in Policy Organization, and Leadership Studies (POLS) at Stanford University, joining a graduate fellowship that prepares a diverse community of future leaders to address global challenges.

A double major in ethnic studies and sociology, Salamanca has been questioning educational institutions for years. After discovering she was undocumented in her junior year of high school, a college counselor told her that “people like you don’t go to college.”

“It really shattered my confidence as an academic and as a scholar,” she says.

She found that while 95,000 undocumented students were graduating from high school every year, only 3% attended college and just 1% graduated. “We could be such an asset if we were allowed to continue our education,” she says.

Salamanca left community college in 2015 to chase this hope, developing a mobile app that contains a database of scholarships available to undocumented students. DREAMer’s Roadmap is celebrating its eighth year, preparing to launch their 2.0 version in the fall and partner with national organizations.

Determined to finish her bachelor’s, Salamanca came to SCU in 2022 for its emphasis on caring for the whole person, allowing her to balance many roles— student, entrepreneur, wife, mother.

“I need to remind myself that in order for me to change the world or create the world that I envision, I have to first educate myself and inform myself to be best equipped to have the tools to advocate for that change.”

Dreamer's Roadmap
DREAMer’s Roadmap. Photo courtesy Jess Alvarenga for Remezcla
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