Cal-State Fullerton Student Raises Money For #GiveBackScholarship For Music Students Of Color

For most people, birthdays mean celebrating ourselves and receiving gifts. This year, Jocelyne Ramirez prescribed her friends and family only one thing for her 24th birthday—to donate to her aspiring #GiveBackScholarship.

Jocelyne Ramirez founded the #GiveBackScholarship to give to music students of color. (Photo courtesy of Jocelyne Ramirez)
Jocelyne Ramirez founded the #GiveBackScholarship to give to music students of color. (Photo courtesy of Jocelyne Ramirez)

“So I thought, You know what? This is my birthday. This is like the one special day I have. And this birthday I want to start a scholarship…I’m going to raise this money.,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez is a senior majoring in music education at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), graduating in the spring. She wanted to create a scholarship for minority students entering music programs. The scholarship will be available to incoming freshmen and transfer students. What started as a $250 goal for the month has blossomed into a scholarship worth at least $1,400. Ramirez hopes to reach $2,000 by the end of the month. Ramirez said that money has come from many different aspects of her life, from a guy she met at her optometrist to old friends.

“I guess I was always so scared to raise and have a goal because I never thought it would go this far. It goes to show that people are really sure. If they believe in a cause, or they believe in you, they believe in what you’re going to get. And so I feel very grateful and honored that people would trust me to go ahead and give away this money for someone that wants and needs it.” Ramirez said.

Ramirez began her higher education journey at Chapman University but left the school after she didn’t receive enough financial aid. The #GiveBackScholarship was be created to help other students of color who need financial assistance affording college. The goal is to make education more accessible.

“I feel like I was definitely a person that slipped through the cracks, and that shouldn’t happen to anyone. This scholarship is going to someone of color that really needs it, and that feels like maybe they’ve been slipping through the cracks,” Ramirez said. “Education is for them and for everybody, no matter what way you pursue it.”

The scholarship goal has grown by almost 6x in less than a month. (Graphic by Jocelyne Ramirez)
The scholarship goal has grown by almost 6x in less than a month. (Graphic by Jocelyne Ramirez)

The #GiveBackScholarship name is an homage to Ramirez’s high school choir director who secretly paid out of pocket for her to receive vocal lessons, and her help applying to college music programs.

“I never knew what it would take to get into any school of music. So, my choir director, she brought me into her office, and she said, ‘I believe in you, and you have such a passion,’” Ramirez said. “She told me [later] she chose me for voice lessons because so many people had given to her that she wants to give back, which is why the scholarship is called #GiveBackScholarship [as] sort of like an ode to that moment. Someone believed in me enough to use their own money to go ahead and propel my music career.”

The goal for Ramirez is to have the scholarship to be offered through a club or other organization on campus. A recipient will be chosen through an application and interview process.

“I hope that [people will] feel like they can do it too. And it can be done by a lot of people or just you,” Ramirez said. “The premise of the scholarship is not only that you can give back because of what others have given to you, but because you can do it because you’re one person and your voice matters.”

To Donate to the #GiveBackScholarship, click here.

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