Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


The Amigos Unidos Hispanics in Partnership employee resource group recently awarded eight high school students with scholarship awards totaling $2,750.

Due to employee support through fundraisers such as the bi-annual tamale sale, Amigos Unidos has been able to raise more than $100,000 for scholarships since its founding in 1985. Yahel De La Cruz, long-time member and leader of Amigos Unidos, has been coordinating the scholarship fundraising efforts since 2000.

Each year, Amigos Unidos sends the criteria, application and cover letter to high schools in Livermore, Pleasanton, Brentwood, Tracy, Stockton, Lodi, Modesto and Escalon. The scholarship committee, consisting of employees across the Lab, receives and reviews the applications and selects the recipients.

The scholarship committee currently consists of Adrianna Atienza, Maria Barba, Jessica Barraza, Octavio Cervantes, Yahel De La Cruz, Manuel Jiminez, Raul Viera Mercado and Jessica Osuna.

"All applicants were remarkable young adults -- strong candidates and future leaders," said De La Cruz. "All the applicants excel in the classroom, they give back to their communities and are excellent athletes. The applicant's stories, dreams and educational goals were so inspiring."


The scholarship recipients for 2016 are as follows:

$500 scholarship winners

  • Adela Lopez. Lopez is pursuing a degree in communications from Stanford University.
  • Daniel Barajas. Barajas is pursuing a degree in bioengineering from the University of California, Los Angeles.
  • David Arizca. Arizca is pursuing a degree in history from California State University, Sacramento.

$250 scholarship winners

  • Ricardo Pimentel. Pimentel is pursuing a degree in aeronautical engineering from San Jose State University.
  • Brenda Beltran. Beltran is pursuing a degree to become a clinical medical assistant from San Joaquin Valley College.
  • Daniel Cervantes. Cervantes is pursuing a degree in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
  • Allison Ruiz Watkins. Watkins is pursuing a degree in nutrition from Chico State University.
  • Christian Gonzaleaz. Gonzaleaz is pursuing a degree in graphics design from San Jose State University.

Amigos Unidos is now reviewing applications for scholarships to be distributed in 2017. If you would like to assist with this process, contact Yahel De La Cruz at 4-3507 for more information.

While most know the employee resource group simply as Amigos Unidos, the full name of the group has actually been the Amigos Unidos Hispanic Employees Association. The group recently met to reinvigorate the organization, and moved to change their official name to Amigos Unidos Hispanics in Partnership.

The mission of the Amigos Unidos Hispanics in Partnership is to:

  • Provide a leadership role that promotes the achievement of professional and personal excellence for all LLNL employees through career development, diversity, and community outreach.
  • Educate and mentor LLNL colleagues to meet challenges and to respond to opportunities at LLNL.
  • Develop a networking structure that optimizes the dissemination of information.
  • Encourage Hispanics to pursue careers in mathematics, science and engineering.
  • Promote continuous career, personal and interpersonal development; promoting awareness of Hispanic diversity and values.

"We hope that the new name will bring us closer in working together as partners where everyone will bring their abilities and knowledge and contribute to the success of the group," said De La Cruz.

Amigos Unidos membership dues are $10 per year and support the scholarship fund. If you are interested in getting involved, promoting Hispanic heritage and assisting with fundraising activities, see the membership form for details.

All are invited to attend the following upcoming Amigos Unidos sponsored events:

  • "Social Networking Over Chips and Salsa," will take place Wednesday, April 19 from 2:30-3:30 p.m. in the Bldg. 543 Atrium. Please RSVP by registering to attend. See the flier for details.
  • "Cinco de Mayo Celebration," will be held Thursday, May 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bosque area near the Central Cafeteria where you can pick up your pre-order of tamales or simply enjoy some noon-time music and comradery. The Latin inspired band, "Zebop-tribute to Carlos Santana," will provide music and Tequilas Taqueria will be selling four tacos for $10 with a drink or two tacos for $6 with a drink (choice of three meats for tacos). Bottled water will be available for $1. More information about tamale pre-orders to follow in Newsline.