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Yesenia LaraIn many ways, Yesenia Lara represents that individual for whom for College was established. She is bright, demonstrates tremendous potential, exhibits leadership at the right time, is Catholic, would be unable to attend college if it were not for the support of Marygrove," said Dr. Glenda Price, former president, in her letter nominating Yesenia as 2006 Distinguished Alumna of Tomorrow. "It has been my pleasure to watch her grow from her first shy days at the College in my MG101 class to today when she is an active, contributing member of our community," added Dr. Price.

Entering her senior year, Yesenia is majoring in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and is in the Honors Program. She is vice president of the Science and Mathematics Club (Sigma Alpha Mu Chi). She was selected to be a Marygrove "Ambassador," attending many college-sponsored activities and events to greet guests, assist and represent the college. Yesenia is a busy young woman.

A Peer-Led Tutor in Organic Chemistry, Yesenia has been a laboratory assistant for both Dr. Sally Welch and Dr. Steve Scribner and worked on the Sister's Island research project in Monroe. She received the Emmet and Francis Tracey Scholar Award in 2005 and the Sister Suzanne Fleming Award in 2005 and 2006.

A graduate of Western International High School in southwest Detroit, the first to graduate in her family, Yesenia has very actively recruited several other Hispanic students for Marygrove including a younger sister.

According to Professor Donald Rizzo, "She is proud of her Mexican background and consistently brings wonderful ethic food to student and departmental activities without ever being asked. She not only works hard as a student, she earned a promotion at work and now manages a grocery store in southwest Detroit." She also cleans houses and baby-sits for college expense money. Yesenia maintains a near perfect 3.968 grade point average and is on the Dean's list, the National Dean's list and is named in Who's Who Among College Students.

Yesenia feels that the small classes and personal attention she has received at Marygrove have given her confidence in herself. She cites Dr. Rizzo as a major influence in choosing the sciences. "He encouraged and pushed me," she says. A love of learning drives her aspiration to eventually earn a Ph.D. in science. She urges other students to "...keep believing in yourself."

It is apparent that Yesenia believes in hard work but she is fun-loving as well. Formerly, she performed with the Mexican Folkloric Dance Company, Moyocoyani Izel. As often as her jam-packed schedule permits, she visits museums and takes in theater and dance performances. She loves the outdoors as well.

Yesenia says that she is very excited about receiving this new Distinguished Alumni of Tomorrow Award in recognition of her hard work, enthusiasm and expected success.