Dreaming Beyond Limits: How CCD Students Excel with Dream.US Scholarship

Community College of Denver (CCD) has been collaborating with Dream.US Scholarship since 2016 to offer affordable higher education to 112 immigrant students. As a Hispanic-serving institution, CCD values diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dream.US is a program designed to support undocumented students who lack the necessary resources to pursue a college degree. The partnership between CCD and Dream.US is a perfect fit for this cause. 

We could talk numbers all day, but numbers are less significant and far less impactful than the stories of student success like Jonathon’s, Avryl’s, or Stefany’s academic journeys. Moving to a new country is understandably scary; making your dreams come true can also be scary. The Dream.US scholarship has made this transition into the next chapter of students’ lives a bit less intimidating. 

Jonathon Ramos-Lara left his hometown of Aguascalientes, Mexico, for the United States when he was nine years old. His passion for engineering flourished when he enrolled at Community College of Denver. He is currently working on his associate degree in engineering with plans to transfer to CU Boulder or MSU Denver to receive his BS in aerospace engineering.

Man smiling while posing with a woman and a boy.

Avryl Diaz Hernandez is studying at CCD for her AA in psychology. She, too, originally moved to the U.S. from Mexico. Through Itzel Guiterrez-Ruiz, Scholarship Coordinator at Community College of Denver, Avryl learned about Dream.US. Without the scholarship, she admits she might have been unable to make her dreams a reality. “It helped me because I could never pay a tuition fee as expensive as that in my life, and it freed me emotionally and mentally from the constant anguish of "how am I going to pay? If I really want this." Avryl aspires to continue her education journey at a 4-year university to specialize in a subsector of psychology.

Stefany Carreon-Armendariz is a CCD alumna and Dream.US recipient and has a career as a dental hygienist. Born in Mexico, Stefany has lived in Denver for over 20 years. Community College of Denver offers a seamless transfer to our Bachelor of Applied Science Dental Hygiene degree. She graduated in 2021 with her AAS in dental hygiene and secured her BAS online from Community College of Denver in 2022.

Woman with black hair wearing a lab coat smiling.

Stefany Carreon-Armendariz was able to work during her bachelor’s degree studies and graduate debt-free. “The Dream.US scholarship was an absolute blessing to me. There are no words that can accurately express my gratitude for the opportunity of being a Dream.US recipient. I received about $34,500 for my pre-requisites up to my bachelor’s degree,” she expressed in an email.

There was a common theme among students when it came to how the Dream.US scholarship has contributed to each of their academic success: meeting the minimum requirements of maintaining a 3.5 GPA. Frankly, that is not an easy feat by any means. For Jonathon, it meant becoming not just dedicated to finishing his degree but finishing it with the utmost excellence. And for Avryl, it’s the price of maintaining her scholarship status that keeps her “in [a state of] constant academic development.”

CCD is proud of every student who walks through our doors, but it’s those who have struggled the hardest that tend to inspire others the most. With life’s struggles comes wisdom. Dream.US gives the aid and support that Hispanic students need.

For those thinking about college and figuring out a way to find a fulfilling career, CityHawk Dreamers have some advice to share. “…Do not let your status scare you away from pursuing a college degree. Do not think that just because you're undocumented, that you'll be unable to find a job in your field of study. You are not like any regular citizen here in the US; take advantage of it,” Jonathon Ramos-Lara insightfully offers. As for Avryl Diaz Hernandez, she wants students to know, “…There are hundreds of possibilities for you, and there is one out there that is perfect for you, but you have to find it because it will not come to you alone; you have to go for it.” CCD alumni Stefany Carreon-Armendariz is a walking success story with a direct correlation to the Dream.US scholarship.

Community College of Denver hopes to continue our partnership with Dream.US for many more decades to come. College is about shaping one’s future potential, and Dream.US is about lending a hand so that future potential is reached.