High School Student Spotlight: Tanya Vargas

Tanya Vargas : Peninsula Bridge High School Academy : Class of 2020
On track and in charge, Tanya currently attends Mercy Burlingame at the top of her class. She’s the embodiment of resilience and vows to raise her community with her as she shatters the mold of women in STEM.  Latin American, first generation, role model - when it comes to Ms. Vargas, no obstacle is insurmountable, no dream too big.

How long have you been a student in Peninsula Bridge?
“I’ve been a student in Peninsula Bridge since 6th grade so 3 years.”

How’s your experience in the program changed over the years? From middle school through high school.
“When I first started Peninsula Bridge in middle school, I didn’t really understand why I was going. I honestly thought I was dumb or something and had to go to summer school. However, I quickly learned that Peninsula Bridge is a great program that helps people like me achieve their goals of becoming successful. Now that I understand, my experience has completely changed and I’m track to go to college.”

What’s your most memorable experience in all your years in the Peninsula Bridge Program?
“In all my years in the Peninsula Bridge program, meeting new people has by far been the most memorable. Many of the individuals I met at program have turned out to be some of my closest friends. I am very grateful to have them. I also recall our summer teaching assistants. Most of whom were people I could trust and ask for help regarding my future because they had already been through the process.”

What drives you and how does Peninsula Bridge play into your life goals?
“My parents inspire me to reach my fullest potential more than anything else in the world. I will always admire and looked up to them for everything they’ve done and sacrificed for me and my little sister.  They started from the very bottom. Peninsula Bridge is a strong contributing factor to my life goals as well. Peninsula Bridge is made up of mentors who want to see their students succeed. They’re always there to help us, and so like my parents I want to repay them for everything they have done for me. Their community of mentors and volunteers make me feel supported and drive me to try even harder.”

What’s been one of your greatest challenges in the transition from middle school to high school?
“One of my greatest challenges in the transition of middle school to high school is going from a public school to a private school. [Mercy is an all-girl private school in San Mateo] I am very appreciative of going to a private school, but it’s been hard because I often feel different from all the girls there. I have gone to public schools my whole life and it’s been a great adventure, but now I’m ready to challenge myself even more, regardless of how difficult the transition has been.”

What’s your dream college? What do you want to be when you grow up?
“My dream college has always been Stanford. I grew up hearing about Stanford my whole life, about how it’s a great school and how all the smart kids go there. When I first visited the school, I noticed that there weren’t many Hispanic people like me already going there. It got to me a little because It made me think that I didn’t have a chance, but it also pushed me to work harder. I want to go to Stanford not only to prove what I’m capable of, but also to show all those who doubt me and my people or people different races what we can do. I want to be an architect and interior designer when I grow up. I want to be an architect because math is my favorite subject. It’s something I’m truly passionate about think I’d enjoy doing. My dad’s life experiences have also fueled my interests in architecture. He’s a general contractor and I’ve grown up watching him work hard every day of my life. When I was younger and went to work with him, I would always say that I wanted to be just like him. But now that I’m older I want to pay tribute to everything he’s taught me and all that he’s done for us.”