Champion Spotlight: Bianca Angeles
As Bianca Angeles sat down completing an application to become a member of the first cohort of TGR Foundation’s Earl Woods Scholar Program in 2006 she couldn’t imagine the impact it would have on her life and career. Now 16 years later, she has graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and navigated the last ten years of her career supporting other students with familiar experiences to her own as a first-generation college graduate.
In between her responsibilities as the education and outreach coordinator at the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine, Bianca took time to reflect on her journey throughout college and beyond.
How has TGR Foundation impacted your success up to this point in your life and/or career?
Bianca Angeles: It’s been a lifelong support system that I have here with the foundation. I couldn’t imagine, over 15 years ago filling out that application, the impact it would have. The program is huge on building relationships with our peers and also with our mentors. They did a very good job at keeping us focused — thinking about what’s going to happen after you graduate, where you are going to intern during the summer, resume updates and interviewing skills. It was fun but also very practical. What really sets this program apart is that it’s very sustainable. Even now, years after graduating from college, I still talk to my mentors; I still talk to the staff. They are still there for me.
TGRF: At TGR Foundation we believe everyone can be a champion. What does that mean to you?
BA: To be a champion you have to learn how to advocate for yourself; you have to be confident in yourself. To me, that means not being afraid to take up space. One of the things that I’ve worked on since I was in high school and throughout my time as an Earl Woods Scholar was finding confidence in my voice, believing that I have a lot to contribute in any room that I walk into, maintaining that confidence and not being afraid to take up space because my perspective matters. I think encouraging youth to also think the same way to have confidence in their voice is something that a champion does.
TGRF: What does it mean to be a champion for youth?
BA: To be a champion for youth means to help them find their passions, to provide them the guidance that they need and to show them all of the different options that they have. It’s basically to open up the world to them, especially for students who are first-generation or low-income and don’t necessarily know what’s beyond the confines of where they come from or where they grew up. Opening up the world to them can change their lives. so I think that to me is what it means to be a champion for youth.
TGRF: Who have been champions on your college and career journey and how?
BA: I think a lot of my mentors in my life have been my champions, people who have opened up different pathways for me and reminded me of what I’m capable of and what I can contribute; those people have been champions for me.