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The power of education and mentorship

As Marcelo Rueda, ʼ27, embarked on his Stanford adventure, he was fueled by a desire for new horizons, a diverse student community, and enticing career opportunities.

One defining moment etched in my Stanford memory is Admit Weekend. Stepping onto the breathtaking campus, feeling the California sunshine, and witnessing students fountain hopping, biking, and immersing themselves in lectures—I was instantly captivated. The experience solidified my commitment to Stanford, transforming excitement into conviction.

Marcelo Rueda, '27

I was drawn to Stanford not only because of its academic prestige, but also its commitment to supporting first-generation college students like me. Resources like the First Generation and/or Low-Income Student Success Center (FLI center), El Centro Chicano y Latino, and the Leland Scholars Program (LSP) have provided a sense of community and belonging. LSP has also been a beacon, facilitating lasting friendships and providing me with the skills to face any academic challenges in my future. The program’s director, Betty Aynalem, has been my anchor and a guiding figure since my first quarter. Her unwavering support and positivity have shaped my Stanford experience thus far.

The university’s rich traditions have also been an important part of my experience, and The Walk before Big Game is one of my favorites. I have participated as a member of the Stanford Axe Committee and felt the vibrant energy and excitement leading up to the game. I will never forget those moments of school spirit and camaraderie shared with my fellow students.

The Leland Scholars Program (LSP) supports frosh who may be the first in their families to go to college, attended under-resourced high schools, or are from low-income backgrounds.

The program offers a four-week introduction to Stanford’s undergraduate curriculum prior to enrollment to help ensure students with differing levels of preparation can access all majors and fully contribute alongside their peers. LSP also provides seminars, advising sessions, and a sense of community throughout participants’ Stanford journeys.

My Stanford story, which already features impactful relationships, transformative programs, and ambitious dreams, is that of a student fully immersed in the undergraduate experience—and a testament to the power of education and mentorship. I am very thankful for the support I have received from Stanford and through The Stanford Fund. Without the dedicated individuals who make the community centers and programs possible, including the FLI center and LSP, I would not be the thriving student I am today.

Following graduation, my sights are set on medical school to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming an anesthesiologist, but my dream is not just about me.

My goal is to succeed and one day give back to ensure that future students have access to the support and resources they need to flourish at Stanford and beyond. As I continue my Stanford adventure, I am committed to making a meaningful impact on the world.