How a research project and a scholarship changed one student’s life
Ana Darielle Nunez is one of 3,326 students who have received scholarships and resources from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, a nonprofit supporting Hispanic American students, with help from Wells Fargo.
Editor‘s note: This story was updated on Aug. 16, 2021.
Nota del editor: También está disponible una versión en español de esta historia.
When high school students work on a research project, they usually complete it and move on. But for Ana Darielle Nunez, a service learning project set the course for her passion and volunteerism. While conducting research as a high school senior in Nashville, Tennessee, several years ago, Nunez learned about the struggles some Hispanic people faced after moving to the U.S. from other countries, like her own family. As a result, she began to help families apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and started tutoring Hispanic children.
Today, Nunez is a senior at Vanderbilt University — and a Hispanic Scholarship Fund scholar. Nunez, who was born in Santiago, Chile, and whose parents were born and raised in Mexico, has received a scholarship award and support services from the nonprofit group, and she hopes to one day give back to the Hispanic community even more as a successful business owner.
“I believe that once I’m successful, that’s when I can give back the most to the Hispanic community,” Nunez said. “Running my own company is my dream. For now, I can only volunteer, but my goal is to be successful enough to really give back one day and make a large impact.”
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund provides scholarships and support services to Hispanic American students across the U.S. Nunez is one of 3,326 Wells Fargo scholars who have received scholarships and resources from the group thanks to Wells Fargo’s support of the organization.
“Wells Fargo is a proud long-term supporter of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, which provides students with valuable opportunities that might otherwise be out of reach,” said Walter Dolhare, board member for Hispanic Scholarship Fund. “Education is the great equalizer for students who come from diverse or low-income backgrounds and, through our work with Hispanic Scholarship Fund, countless students have received millions of dollars in scholarships and resources to achieve their careers. As an immigrant and member of the Hispanic community, I am pleased to support critical programs like this, helping to promote and improve greater diversity and inclusion in our communities and in our businesses.”
Since 2011, Wells Fargo has committed more than $24.7 million to the nonprofit group, supporting scholarships, programs, and events.
“We are honored to work with Wells Fargo,” said Fidel A. Vargas, president and CEO of Hispanic Scholarship Fund. “Wells Fargo has stood with us, side by side, contributing significant dollars as well as on-the-ground volunteers, to assist more students and parents than ever. They’ve helped us build and enhance our technology platform and supported us across the board in serving students, families, HSF scholars, alumni, and communities, from coast to coast. As we’ve expanded our mission to address students from all backgrounds who come from low-income households, Wells Fargo has been with us every step of the way. We are so fortunate that Wells Fargo shares our vision of a future where students can achieve their full potential and financial success, regardless of ethnic or socioeconomic background.”
‘Helping people communicate can open doors for people’
Nunez discovered Hispanic Scholarship Fund while researching scholarships and decided to apply. “I’ve always liked to take care of myself,” Nunez said. “My dad encourages me to do that. I’ve worked since I was a teenager, whether it’s been babysitting, coaching soccer, as a hostess, working as a teaching assistant, or at internships.”
Nunez said she was inspired by her father, who she said is not afraid to accept opportunities, despite how challenging they may seem. Both of her parents learned English and became more fluent as the family moved to Chile, Tokyo, and ultimately Nashville, for her father’s job. Nunez learned English while living in Japan and was fluent by the time she moved to Nashville.
“I’ve always been very proud and impressed of all that my dad has accomplished for my family,” Nunez said.
Her fluency in both English and Spanish is one of the reasons Nunez believes she can and should help the Hispanic community. “I feel it’s important that I help because I can connect to the Hispanic community,” Nunez said. “I can speak both languages and translate. Something as simple as helping people communicate can open doors for people.”
“HSF has changed my life. They opened up doors for me.” — Ana Darielle Nunez
She is also grateful for the support she has received through the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Nunez has used the scholarship money to pay for books and extracurricular activities. She is majoring in economics and human and organizational development, interning at Wells Fargo over the summer and in a human resources role this semester, to get experiences in both fields.
More than a scholarship
Nunez realized how much support the Hispanic Scholarship Fund provides beyond the scholarship after attending the nonprofit’s annual Finance Conference in October 2018. The conference allows invited scholars interested in finance-related careers to learn about various career paths and meet and network with professionals from those industries.
“I just thought it was a scholarship,” Nunez said. “But then I saw the incredible support HSF gives and the network they have. It was incredible to see the community they’ve created and the people who want to give back to help the scholars. I had learned about the conference on their portal, but it was a caring HSF employee who called me to say I was a good candidate for it. That shows how much they want to support you. The connections I made at the conference were invaluable. It was wonderful meeting such driven Hispanic students who’ve had great success, and it was very inspiring to hear the speakers and their stories.”
She was able to get an internship with Wells Fargo after attending the company’s Junior Leaders Conference, thanks to a connection made by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Nunez even became a finalist for Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s Scholar of the Year award.
After college, Nunez hopes to pursue a career in commercial real estate or human resources, while continuing to volunteer, and eventually own her own company. No matter what she does, Nunez is thankful for the support she has received to help her get there.
“HSF has changed my life,” Nunez said. “They opened up doors for me.”