Through the Stanford Youth Environmental Science Program (now called Quest Scholars, “a mentorship and leadership-training program for exceptionally bright, low income and underserved students with an interest in higher education, leadership, and professional careers”), Santiago received full financial aid to Stanford. Quest was founded by Ana Rowena and Dr. Michael McCullough (photographed below smiling in the stadium during graduation). Michael and Ana are also in the last photos below with His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, and Santiago.
Were you nervous going to Stanford?
Like many of the incoming students from all across the world I am almost certain they felt much like I did – I was excited. But, I also didn’t feel like I fit in and was in a constant state of anxiety and wasn’t aware at the time. I was always in the past or future. It wasn’t really until my junior year after I read the book, “The Power of NOW” by Eckhart Tolle and began meditating that I started to feel a shift. Meditation helped me find another space of power and safety within me. I woke up for the first time, regenerated, refocused, and felt more restored. I graduated with a 3.55 GPA with my best grades in my last two years. School is the way out, I urge every kid, no matter where you are with your studies or skill level, do not quit. Education is a form of freedom that no one will ever be able to take away from you. You can break through.
What Was Your Favorite Class And Why?
What was so different about Stanford?
Did you ever feel like quitting?
What Class Did You Really Not Like?
What was driving you to succeed — given everything you’ve been through?
How Were You Able To Overcome Such Tremendous Odds; To Qualify To Go To Stanford?
What Did Stanford Give You?
Gave me confidence and helped me value myself more. I learned that I am capable of applying my intense energy toward anything I put my mind to and can succeed. Everything is energy. Some of the kids with the most trauma and struggle have the most intense energy. If we can teach them how to channel and focus that in a positive direction, we would have a much safer and just world.