For 40 years,
10,000 Degrees has told our students: You belong and we believe in you.

For 40 years,
YOU have helped 10,000 Degrees students achieve their educational dreams. In four decades, we’ve awarded over $80M in scholarships and helped over 20,000 students graduate from college.


And for 40 years,
our students have been proving what is possible. This is the story of 10,000 Degrees.

For the next few weeks, we invite you to meet our alumni, and discover how they are ONE DEGREE of change.

Meet alumna, Mora Wang, and discover how she is ONE DEGREE of change. Mora is a UC Berkeley graduate (2017) and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Counseling at San Francisco State (2021).

Meet alumna, Rocio Camacho, and see how she is ONE DEGREE of change! Rocio is a Chico State University graduate (2017) and is currently a Clinic Operations Manager helping the underserved and underinsured community. Her dream of being a nurse, which began when she served as a translator to her Spanish-speaking parents at their doctor appointments, is coming to fruition this May – Rocio will be pursuing an accelerated Bachelors in Science of Nursing at Xavier University (2023). Success to her means being able “to communicate with the Hispanic population in Spanish, and hopefully provide them a sense of comfort being able to communicate in their language.”

Meet alumna & 10,000 Degrees Fellow, Lupita Mercado, and see how she is ONE DEGREE of change! Lupita is a Sonoma State University graduate (2019) with a B.A. in Chicano & Latino Studies and a Minor in Spanish. She attributes 10,000 Degrees for giving her the confidence to reach for and accomplish her goals, and for helping her find her purpose and career – helping students realize their own goals.
Mia is a San Francisco State graduate (2019) with B.A. in Liberal Studies and a Minor in Education. Her dream is to teach English to elementary school students in Japan, and she believes that success is something different for everyone.

As a first-generation, undocumented, woman of color, 10,000 Degrees alumna Ariana Aparicio Aguilar says she didn’t let the fact that she lacked a social security number hold her back from accomplishing her dreams. “ If anything, it has motivated me to go further in life than I expected,” she says.

Ariana’s achievements are beyond impressive – she has diplomas from not one but three universities: Santa Rosa Junior College, Sonoma State University, and Harvard University! And in 2025, she’ll add a fourth, when she completes her Ph.D. from UC Riverside. 

Ariana has a message for our college students in the midst of the pandemic: “You are courageous in the fact that you’re in school right now … Don’t give up. Know that you have people in your corner, people like at 10,000 Degrees and other mentors … who want to see you succeed … I know you can do it.”

Ariana, who is now a research assistant at the Immigration Initiative at Harvard, dreams of being a president of a university one day. “I want to impact the majority of students and continue providing access, retention, and support for underrepresented students, not just undocumented students, but all students,” she says.

Meet 10,000 Degrees Alumna and Fellow, Brissa Teodoro, and learn how she is ONE DEGREE of change! Brissa is a Sonoma State graduate (2018) with Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Studies, with an emphasis on Education. She’s currently in her 3rd year working as a 10,000 Degrees Fellow, helping middle school students in Marin City transition to high school.

Brissa co-created a personalized program with her current manager and former advisor, Rondell Gibson – a full-circle moment – focusing on topics she learned and grew from herself, and wished she had known about while in middle and high school. To any student who is facing challenging times, Brissa says, “You have an entire community rooting for you … we are always here for you.”

Meet 10,000 Degrees Alumna and KRON4 News Producer, Cinthia Tafoya! Cinthia wishes to show her family and community that you can achieve all your goals through hard work and determination, no matter where you come from.

With a Bachelor’s in Atmospheric Science from UC Irvine, Cinthia dreams of one day joining KRON4’s weather team. Today, she’s a KRON4 News Producer for San Francisco’s 3:00 p.m. broadcast and occasional anchor for their News App. Cinthia credits 10,000 Degrees support – from introducing her to the UC Irvine campus, to helping her graduate debt-free, to offering her a job right out of college.

Meet 10,000 Degrees Alumnus, Eugen Xie, and learn how he is ONE DEGREE of change! Eugen is a San Francisco native, recently graduated from UC, Irvine with a B.A. in Business Economics and Statistics and is working as a consultant at Oliver Wyman.

His parents were immigrants and instilled the importance of education in him: ” it’s a path for upward mobility, better opportunities, higher quality of life, everything they aspired for and wanted for him.

Being part of 10,000 Degrees allowed him to build life-long relationships with his mentors and advisors who inspired him to become a better version of himself. He is passionate about educational equity and social impact, and hopes to make an impact with organizations close to his heart like 10,000 Degrees.

Meet 10,000 Degrees Alumna, Carolina Garcia, and learn how she is ONE DEGREE of change! Carolina believes that there will always be a moment of self-doubt, and she advises to allow those moments to happen, but remember to get back up.

The financial aspect of college was extremely stressful for her, and she thanked 10,000 Degrees for helping her through it. She earned her B.A., M.S., and Teaching Credential from Dominican University of California and is in her sixth year of teaching, and while this past year had brought on many unexpected challenges, she couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Learn how Redwood Credit Union is ONE DEGREE of change! Hear from Andy Ramos, a son of immigrants and first-generation college graduate who is now the Senior Vice President of Member Engagement and Experience. Redwood Credit Union is a major sponsor of 10,000 Degrees’ 40th Anniversary Celebration and a long-time partner of our organization since 2015. Andy credits programs like 10,000 Degrees for supporting his college journey – not only for providing financial support and guidance, but for mentoring those who looked like him.
Meet 10,000 Degrees Alumna and Fellow, Ursula Lopez, and learn how she is ONE DEGREE of change! Ursula received her Bachelor’s in Native American Studies from UC Berkeley, and is currently a Fellow at 10,000 Degrees, supporting students at the UC level. She believes that the value of college is priceless and can only open more doors. Her dream is to continue supporting first generation students and helping them get through college and become college graduates.