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For Regent’s Scholarship recipient Valeria Espinoza, a strong work ethic is second nature

Hard work is a value Valeria Espinoza holds high in her life. A first-year business analytics major from Antioch in Northern California, her extraordinary accomplishments during high school helped secure her an impressive Regent’s Scholarship to Pacific, changing her life and academic future forever.  

“University of the Pacific provided me with a big amount of scholarship money, which really helped in my decision to come here compared to other schools. Those other schools offered scholarships, but it was really nothing compared to what Pacific was offering,” Valeria said. 

By the holiday season of her senior year of high school, Valeria had heard back from all schools but University of the Pacific. Her nerves had kicked in––she knew she needed more scholarship support than the other schools had offered. Then, just after the holidays, she received an online letter from Pacific. 

“I was in the car with my grandma, and my heart was pumping…When I opened the letter and saw that I had received that academic scholarship, in addition to the athletic scholarship, I was in tears.” 

While prioritizing her studies throughout high school, Valeria also invested a significant amount of her time in extracurricular activities including orchestra, marching band and cross-country. She excelled in many classes but quickly grew to favor Spanish, slashing through every course with ease and performing impressively in her AP class. 

“I love Spanish. I spoke it some at home, but it wasn’t my first language, and I wanted to improve on that,” Valeria said. “I really put my focus on running and on AP Spanish, and I gave it my all.” 

Growing up, both of Valeria’s parents worked full-time, teaching her from an early age the importance of maintaining a healthy work ethic. “Watching them push through such long days and still be able to love us and teach us through every moment of the day, it taught us that life is no joke. You need to be on top of it.” 

When it came time to send out college applications, University of the Pacific was one of the schools at the top of Valeria’s list. 

“My high school cross-country coach, he went [to Pacific], and he talked fondly of the education they provided to him…Finding out what University of the Pacific was and what they provided, it really brought my attention here,” she said. 

The first time she stepped foot on Pacific’s campus, Valeria was struck by its timeless beauty and impressive history. “The school took me by surprise. When I entered, it was like its own community… It was really beautiful to me, the architecture they have and the scenery, it blew me away. My mom and I were shocked.” 

Since becoming a Pacific Tiger and joining the cross-country team, Valeria has felt right at home. Keeping up an impressive academic record while balancing sunrise practices and weekend meets is second nature. The lessons she learned and the resilience she built throughout her childhood and high school years prepared her well for success in higher education. 

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