Light Beyond Darkness: From College Prep Scholar to Group Leader

2015-06-27 09.35.54
Cesar Rufino leading students at the 2015 National College Admissions Conference at Yale.

It took me a while to realize how fortunate I am. I don’t say this because I never appreciated my parents’ hard work or because I complained about materialistic things I never obtained during my childhood; I have always been happy about my life, but I never understood the context.

I still remember the day I attended QuestBridge’s National College Admissions Conference at Northwestern University. I was wearing new dress shoes, new khakis, and a crisp picnic-like shirt that my mom had purchased with her Tupperware earnings. I was so excited to learn more about colleges and continue pursuing my long-term ambitions. Continue reading

It Takes a Community to Build a Home

Leslie Luqueno, QuestBridge Scholar, Haverford College ’20

A bit over a year ago, I was accepted through Early Decision to my top-choice school, Haverford College. But first-quarter-high-school-senior me would have never imagined myself attending a small liberal arts college across the country. I was set on attending well-known, large research universities, but after attending Haverford’s fly-in in October, I knew that it was the place that felt most like home. Abandoning my original dream institutions was not easy and there were many factors I had to take into account to see if it was worth going across the country, leaving my beloved golden state behind. Continue reading

Summer Service Grant | A Community-Based Approach to Breast Cancer Prevention

In summer 2016, Nathaniel Tran (Tufts ’17) explored his interest in public health by researching the barriers preventing women from receiving a basic screening mammogram, particularly in the Boston area. Through Nathaniel’s hard work and many collaborations, the project was able to bring mobile technology to patients, create a sense of community in healthcare, and empower women through health education.


I had just finished speaking with an appointment coordinator at one of the nearby medical centers. She was calling to let me know that a patient had missed her mammography screening appointment, making that the 4th patient to miss so far this week … and it was only Wednesday. What was causing so many women to “no-show” for their mammograms? I work in Boston, Massachusetts, which is home to three academic medical centers, and there is no shortage of medical providers.

ntran-ssg2
Attending and presenting at a health fair at a new potential partner site.

This summer, I made it my goal to better understand the nature of these missed appointments by conducting interviews with community health center patients. Through demographic data, I found that the center serves primarily low-income, underinsured women of color. From the interviews, common themes in our conversations suggested that a combination of a language barrier, poor public transportation, fear of cancer, and loss of potential income prevented these women from following through with their mammography screening appointments. Continue reading

Our Top 10 Tips for Saving Money in School

money-sign-iconCollege expenses can add up quickly, and it can be difficult to keep up with the costs with a busy schedule and a part-time job. Luckily, we have compiled 10 easy ways to save money throughout the school year:

1. Open a bank account. The first step to saving money is being able to monitor your expenses. Visit your local bank to learn about your options for opening a student bank account, if you haven’t done so already.
Continue reading

Summer Service Grant: Cultivating Tension and Conflict on the Irish Stage​

This summer Irina Gavrilova (Yale ’17) spent time in Dublin, Ireland, studying the role of Irish theatre in shaping the country’s conception of nationhood. With the #WakingTheFeminists movement for gender equality in Irish theatre as her case study, Irina spent a month in Dublin researching and interviewing students, artists, managers, and designers to learn more about this unique intersection between art and politics.


As a theatre director with a keen interest in politics, I am fascinated by the connection between the two, which I set out to investigate this summer. With a focus on the #WakingTheFeminists movement for gender equality in Irish theatre, the goal of my project was to make a case that knowledge and skills acquired through theatre can and do produce an impact on the political stage. The material I gathered during this project will serve as research for an original play I plan to present at Yale next spring.

2
The All Performing Arts Conference in Galway where many members of #WakingTheFeminists participated as panel speakers

Irish theatre and nationalism have gone hand in hand since before the country’s independence from Britain; the electrifying synergy between the theatre and its public inspired people to interrogate their national identity, initiating a struggle for independence. It has always been the place where, as scholar Martin Esslin puts it, the nation “thinks in front of itself”— a statement that rings especially true this year. Continue reading

National Quest Day: Celebrating QuestBridge Scholars!

National Quest Day was a huge success this year! We here at Quest HQ loved celebrating all of our QuestBridge Scholars — and we even had the opportunity to join the Stanford QSN Chapter’s celebration.

We want to send a big shout-out to all the QSN Chapters that submitted photos and videos for our annual Spirit Award. The votes were tallied, and this year’s winner is… Continue reading

Summer Service Grant | Teaching in West Bengal

As an aspiring physician with an interest in health disparities, Mariely Garcia (Bowdoin ’17) cares deeply about making quality healthcare services and knowledge available to all people. This summer, Mariely received a Summer Service Grant from QuestBridge to work with a grassroots organization in the small Indian town of Gorubathan to put her passions into practice.


mariely-garcia4When I said the final goodbye to my mother before heading to the airport, I will admit that I started to panic. It was the kind of panic that sent my heart into total pandemonium, made me exceptionally fidgety, and brought a million doubts to mind. Sitting in the taxi, watching the familiar New York City skyline zoom past in the distance brought me to the realization that the next time I was on land, I would be on the other side of the world. Continue reading

Summer Service Grant | Blue Notes Under Red Banners: A Summer of Soviet Jazz

In summer 2016, Ryan Gourley (Brown ’17) received a Summer Service Grant from QuestBridge to pursue his project: Jazz behind the Iron Curtain: Preserving the Legacy of a Forgotten Generation of Musicians. Through his research, including visits to jazz hubs in the former USSR and Eastern Bloc, Ryan aimed to preserve the jazz music culture from this era while exploring his own interest in the topic.


ryan-gourley-in-saint-petersburg-russia
Ryan Gourley (Brown ’17) in Saint Petersburg, Russia

The relationship between national identity, cultural identity, and musical practice pervaded my thoughts as I traversed my way through Western Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania this summer. My research had me in search of the remnants of a time when the production of jazz was a national issue; a time when an invisible iron curtain split the European continent between those who lived under red banners and those who did not. Continue reading

Universe of Possibilities: A Visit to NASA

In August 2016, 11 QuestBridge Scholars had the unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with officials at NASA and the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy in Washington, D.C. Vi Nguyen, a QuestBridge Scholar and Yale University alumna, reflected on the visit to NASA:


Six people.

“At this moment, there are only six people in space? In total?” I re-asked my question, mostly out of sheer wonder. Our guide nodded with a smile, “Yes. Six.”

The 11 QuestBridge Scholars—eight current undergraduates and three alumni—sat around the table in NASA’s Space Operations Center, taking in the experience, unsure whether six human beings were too few or many more than we expected to be living beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

img_0451
QuestBridge Scholars at NASA

Continue reading

Our Top 10 Tips for Academic Success

strategy-iconThe QSN theme for October is Academic Success — just in time for upcoming midterm exams for QuestBridge Scholars! Late nights and last-minute cram sessions may seem inevitable in college; but if you figure out the study techniques that work for you, then you can minimize these as much as possible.

We asked QuestBridge Staff and Quest Liaisons for their best study tips, and here are the top 10… Continue reading