City College student Lucia Huerta is headed to university debt-free

Meet the inspiring Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholar who made it happen

Lucia Huerta, Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship recipient

Lucia Huerta enjoying the outdoors. Huerta courtesy photo

Kathryn Gray, Multimedia Journalist

City Times, Spring 2021This story appeared in the latest print edition of City Times.

With a slight quake in her voice, briefly pausing to apologize for her emotions, San Diego City College student Lucia Huerta recounts the moment she was awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.

Humble yet also self-assured, Huerta’s thoughts vacillated between disbelief and relief when she listened to the award letter from the JKC Foundation being read aloud by her counselor. Unable to hold back her tears Huerta cried along with her mother and sister who joined virtually from their homes in Mexico.

Huerta, an honors student studying sociology, was accepted to her top choice schools and is currently deciding between the University of California Los Angeles and the University of California Berkeley.

After being accepted, the financial reality of attending a four-year university weighed heavily on Huerta. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship award changed that.

“I don’t have to worry anymore about being homeless,” Huerta said. “I heard a lot of students don’t have a house because they can’t pay for it and they live in their cars, I thought I would have to consider that.”

Nervous to leave the Tijuana home she shares with her mother and the border culture she’s known her entire life, distance is a major factor influencing which alma mater Huerta will choose.

At university, Huerta will be on her own for the first time. A strong diverse transfer student community and access to resources for Mexican and Latinx students are also greatly influencing her decision.

In 2016, Huerta didn’t know what a community college was, and in 2021, she will transfer to one of the top four-year universities in the country to study sociology.

Keep asking questions, work hard and put yourself out there is Huerta’s advice to other students like her. She credits her mom for pushing her forward.

“She always says not everyone dares to try, so just try and you are already gaining something,” Huerta said.