Pushing Limits

Santa Clara’s LEAD Scholars Program launches first-generation college students on a path to individual success. “Without different perspectives, it limits what we can do,” says Xiomara Quinonez ’24.

When Santa Clara University’s LEAD Scholars Program launched 20 years ago, it offered about 30 first-generation college students a two-week crash course introducing them to college. Today LEAD provides a comprehensive four-year experience to over 450 students every year.

Students like Xiomara Quinonez ’24, whose seriously stacked resume most recently includes the Hackworth Fellowship for the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Majoring in computer science and engineering and minoring in entrepreneurship, Quinonez is especially excited to research as part of her fellowship the ethical implications of biometric facial recognition, particularly its impact on minorities.

“We have to make sure there’s diversity among coders, among those working in AI, in order to make technology more accessible and applicable to everyone,” says Quinonez, who founded the Girls Who Code club at her Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School—a major recipient of Santa Clara scholarships.

LEAD, according to Quinonez, not only makes it possible for first-gen students to feel comfortable at college and among their peers, it’s one of the most important players in the effort to make Santa Clara a more diverse, equitable place. “It injects different experiences and backgrounds onto campus… Without different perspectives, it limits what we can do.”

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Xiomara Quinonez ’24 is a computer science and engineering major with a minor in entrepreneurship. Photo by Jim Gensheimer.

Inspired to help expand the potential of students like Quinonez? Visit scu.edu/giving.

First-Time Grads

Overcoming all odds due to the pandemic, the Class of ’24 finally get to experience the graduation that they have long been waiting for.

Drumroll, Please!

Santa Clara University’s renovated jazz studio gives music majors and non-majors more space to find their sound.

A Plan For Tomorrow

Santa Clara President Julie Sullivan unveils a new strategic plan, Impact 2030, with a focus on increasing access and opportunity, and, of course, SCU’s Jesuit values and Silicon Valley location.