Inside Aera
Aera in the Community Jan 21, 2020

Aera scholarship helps Santa Maria student study petroleum engineering at UCLA

‘I want to make a change in my community,’ says Albino Guatemala

UCLA student Albino Guatemala will pursue a career in the petroleum industry.

A student from Santa Maria is moving closer to a petroleum engineering degree, thanks in part to an Aera-sponsored scholarship through the American GI Forum Education Foundation.

Albino Guatemala, a junior at UCLA, received $1,500 from Aera to help him continue his university education. He will minor in geological engineering.

“Attending an institution like UCLA is hard because of such high standards they expect from students,” said Guatemala, whose parents were farm and construction workers. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I’m not pursuing a petroleum engineering degree to just please my parents and myself, but because I want to make a change in my community.

“We’re going to need petroleum products in the decades ahead,” he added. “I look forward to working to make petroleum extraction safer and more environmentally friendly.”

Guatemala was one of 29 students from the Santa Maria area who received scholarships in 2019 from the American GI Forum Education Foundation and the League of United Latin American Citizens-Santa Maria Council #32532.

Over the last 40 years, the American GI Forum Education Foundation has awarded close to 500 scholarships and some $500,000 to deserving students of the Santa Maria Valley. The organization works to increase the financial resources available to needy and qualified students pursuing a higher education.

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