The Puerto Rican Day Parade, traditionally held in New York City on the second Sunday in June, is a day of celebrating Puerto Rican history, culture, historical figures and moments, and important issues facing the community. Though this year’s parade is canceled because of the coronavirus, the governing board still issued its yearly scholarships to deserving Puerto Rican students.
Among the 100 high school seniors, college freshmen, sophomores, and juniors across the nation to receive a scholarship was TCNJ’s Jianna Nieves, who is now a two-time award recipient.
Nieves, a sophomore computer engineering major, saw the scholarship as a way to not only help lighten her financial obligation but to also celebrate her heritage.
“The National Puerto Rican Day Parade scholarship helps students of Puerto Rican heritage who have a proven record of academic excellence and community service leadership,” says Nieves. “Throughout my lifetime, I’ve strived to be a good student and help my community any way I can.”
Nieves was also able to take part in past festivities, like walking in the iconic parade up Fifth Avenue in Manhattan in 2019.
“It was very meaningful to me to see my grandmother, who is 86-years-old, dancing and shouting out my name while waving the Puerto Rican flag with pride for her granddaughter,” she says. “The National Puerto Rican Day Parade Scholarship is not only important to me for the monetary value, but it is also significant because I am representing my heritage.”
As a Latinx computer engineering major, Nieves hopes to inspire more female engineers to join her profession. After graduating, she wants to join a company that will create technological innovations in the utilities and energy field.
“I just finished my first year at TCNJ and I love it here,” Nieves says. “I find my courses very challenging and the professors knowledgeable. I hope I can be a mentor and encourage more girls and Hispanics to be engineers.”
— David Pavlak