BY KARA SHOEMAKER | May 24, 2021
For Carpinteria High School student Lucia “Isa” Alarcon, and San Marcos High School student Itzel Segundo Solis, attending a university out-of-state has been a longtime dream, but the cost of travel made visiting campuses impossible. Fortunately, the Breitling College Visit Program is removing the barrier of cost for Isa, Itzel, and 12 other young women with big out-of-state dreams!
The Breitling College Visit Program, which is managed by the Santa Barbara Foundation, was created in 1994 by Jacqueline Breitling. Having learned the value of college visits from her own children, Jacqueline decided to establish a fund to cover the often considerable expense involved with out-of-state travel that many students cannot afford.
To date, the Breitling Scholarship has been awarded to more than 150 extraordinary young women from across Santa Barbara County, allowing them to visit their top schools and make an informed decision on their college choice.
Lucia “Isa” Alarcon, Carpinteria High School Senior
“I was taught at a young age to give back, especially by my tias, who would say ‘Isa, you have to be involved with your community.’ So I always find opportunities to volunteer,” said Isa.
Isa is not just involved in her school and community – she has proven herself to be a leader. In addition to being a tri-athlete, she is the Associated Student Body senior class president at Carpinteria High School, co-founder of the #DiversifyOurNarrative Carpinteria chapter, a board member for Youth Making Change, and is vice president of Celebrating Adversity, Diversity, and Education. As the daughter of a single father, Isa has also been deeply involved with Girls Inc., which has provided her with female mentorship and support since she began the program in the seventh grade.
“I have always wanted to go to college out-of-state, it was always a goal of mine, but money was always an issue to go visit colleges,” shared Isa. “I didn’t have any expectation when I applied for the scholarship, so when I found out I got it, I couldn’t believe it! I just recently did my trip to New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania. With that money I visited three different states and three different campuses, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.”
She has been accepted to fourteen universities and intends to pursue a degree in criminology and political science. Being able to visit the campuses in person has made a huge impact on her decision making process.
“This scholarship really helped me figure out where I wanted to go to college. I think if I didn’t go visit them I would have committed to New York University (NYU), without going or getting a feel of the scene over there. NYU is not a traditional campus – when they say the city is the campus, they really mean it! Ultimately, I decided that I wanted the traditional college experience, which is why I have chosen to commit to Chapman University,” explained Isa.
“That’s why I am so grateful for that opportunity. I had never been to New York before that experience, and to fully understand it, you need to go visit. This trip gave me clarity.”
Itzel Segundo Solis, San Marcos High School Junior
“It’s a huge honor to receive the scholarship. I never thought I would be able to accomplish something like this. When I was awarded the scholarship, it felt like if I can accomplish this then I can do accomplish anything I put my mind to,” shared Itzel.
Perseverance is one word that can be used to describe Itzel. As a first-generation college-bound Latinx scholar, she began her education as an English Language Learner and has since mastered fluency and gone on to excel in rigorous Honors, Advanced Placement, and Santa Barbara City College courses. Outside of the classroom, she participated in her school’s Cheer/Song program and Lacrosse team, and served as an ambassador for the Program for Effective Access to College and Advancement Via Individual Determination at San Marcos High School.
In addition, Itzel is a dedicated Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Volunteer, completing over 160 hours of community service prior to the pandemic. She also volunteers at the Notre Dame School, helping supervise 1st and 2nd grade students, and tutoring 5th grade students. Itzel also founded the Home for Us club at her school, which helps raise funds and basic supplies for people experiencing homelessness in Santa Barbara.
Remarkably, Itzel has accomplished all this while simultaneously battling a severe eating disorder. Unable to afford or access professional help, Itzel was able to persevere and make a recovery on her own.
“My dream is to be my own boss one day, and to start a nonprofit organization to help people who are struggling with eating disorders. I would like to be that person that they are able to relate to, I want them to be able to trust me and realize that life is going to get better eventually,” said Itzel.
Itzel hopes to study business and medicine, and looks forward to using her scholarship to visit NYU, Cornell University, and Columbia University.
For more information about the Breitling College Visit Program, please contact Deanna Vallejo, Community Grants Program Officer, at (805) 963- 1873 or DVallejo@SbFoundation.org.