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Jessica Gonzales Purcell Scholarship for Leadership & Persistence

To offset the disparities in higher education that disproportionately affect students of color, our scholarship aims to support an emerging leader as they persist through their higher education studies. We will award two (2) womxn, enrolled at a 2- or 4-year institution in the Fall of 2022, a one-time $1,000 scholarship to assist with billable costs or indirect costs associated with going to college. The scholarship also includes the following benefits:


Yearly assistance with financial aid documents (FAFSA, TAP, CSS) & processes (appealing, etc.)


Yearly internship advising to help students secure aligned, high-quality opportunities


Lifetime personal mentorship by Caona Wellness founder, Destiny Saldivar

Image by Andre Hunter
Students in Cafeteria

Who are we looking for?


Caona Wellness is looking for two driven womxn of color who actively lean into the best version of themselves every day. This means they care for their holistic selves, and give back to the communities they are a part of. These empathetic leaders are adamant about making a difference in their life and others’ as well. 


We believe that by supporting the growth of our selected applicants, they will have the community, tools and support to foster the brilliant leaders within. Our mission is to cultivate leaders who lead by example and pay it forward.



Scholarship candidates must:


  • Be enrolled at a 2 or 4-year institution in the Fall of 2023 and have proof of enrollment (via registration or invoice). All college years eligible to apply (freshman-senior)


  • Attend college in the United States of America


  • Identify as a first-generation college student, meaning their biological parents did not graduate from a 2 or 4-year college.


  • Identify as a Black, Brown, Indigenous, and/or Womxn of Color


  • Identify as a womxn, regardless of gender identity 


  • Identify as low income as determined by the EOP guidelines, OR provide an extenuating circumstance statement to explain why, despite income, this scholarship would be helpful to you. Proof of income (1040, 1040A, IT201, and if applicable, SNAP benefits, SSI, Section 8) will be requested from students if selected for the scholarship to verify income disclosed on application.


  • Submit a resume with volunteer, extra-curricular and/or leadership positions


Answer the following questions in no more than 300 words each:

  • What does leadership mean to you? Tell us about a time when you were a leader and how it impacted others around you.

  • How do you believe this scholarship will support your college persistence? Be as specific as possible.

  • What are your post-graduate intentions? How will you pay this scholarship forward?

  • OPTIONAL: If applicable, please share any extenuating circumstances that may have affected your performance in college.


Please email any questions or concerns to


Applications close on August 7th, 2023 at 11:59 PM EST.

Graduation Ceremony

About Jessica 

Jessica is an exemplar for student persistence support. As an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) advisor she has supported over 300 students to persist through higher education. Trained to provide counseling and specializing in trauma and crisis, Jessica is committed to exploring each student’s unique path to the realization of their goals.  She is passionate about the value of education, not as a destination, but a life-long process of self-discovery.  


Programs like EOP provide access to higher education for traditionally underrepresented and first generation college students.  These students can find themselves struggling to untangle their own dreams from the weight of the dreams they bear for their families.  Jessica believes that empowering students to navigate the barriers of systemic racism and elitism on campuses gives students room to build on their strengths and the drive to succeed.  With this room to build, she sees students far surpass their own expectations and create lives after college that are intrinsically fulfilling while breaking the cycles which work to hinder progress.

This scholarship was created to honor Jessica's role in our founder, Destiny Moore Saldivar's life as a first generation college student.​

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