2022 Ariel Berryman scholarship winner, Sarah Portillo-Enriquez, hopes to one day pave the way for other women of color
Jim and Teresa Berryman launched the Ariel Berryman Memorial Scholarship Fund after the passing of their daughter, Ariel. Ariel’s passion for helping people reach their full potential inspired the creation of this scholarship, which helps eliminate barriers to higher education for young women graduating from DSST Public Schools by providing financial assistance to attend the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver).
Each year, the Ariel Berryman Memorial Scholarship Fund awards a female senior graduating from DSST Public Schools with a four-year scholarship to be matched dollar-for-dollar by CU Denver.
This year, the scholarship was awarded to DSST: Green Valley Ranch senior, Sarah Portillo-Enriquez.
Portillo-Enriquez comes from an immigrant family where she is the youngest of four. Like many people who have made the move to America, Portillo-Enriquez’s parents came to Colorado at a young age in hopes of starting a family and giving their kids the best chance to succeed.
“As a child of both immigrant parents and parents who were not able to pursue a higher education than high school, I feel I have the responsibility of taking advantage of the opportunities my parents have given me,” Portillo-Enriquez wrote in her essay. “... I want them to know that the risks paid off with my perseverance in school.”
And paid off it did! Portillo-Enriquez’s ambition and work ethic landed her on the Dean’s List for all four years of high school, and she has taken rigorous Advanced Placement courses including Spanish, Biology, Language, U.S. History, Environmental Science and Calculus AB.
Portillo-Enriquez said that her time at DSST has set her up for success in more ways than one.
“DSST has provided me with a high-level education along with a diverse community,” Portillo-Enriquez wrote. “There is a sense of reassurance that the work the DSST has put into place in order for POC at GVR to be successful in higher education has and will continue to be successful. All of these accomplishments have been possible due to the impulse that DSST has given us to continue pursuing an education and to the rigor that they have built within us, within me.”
Portillo-Enriquez has big goals for her future. She plans to study Architecture at the University of Colorado Denver with the overall plan of starting her own business within five years of graduating with her degree.
“I hope to eventually have my company expand to work in the area of interior design which will require me to attend an art institute and study interior design as well,” Portillo-Enriquez wrote. “Additionally, once I am running my business I would like to offer an internship program that would allow students who want to pursue either architecture or interior design to gain some experience in those careers and what it will be like.”
Through that internship program, Portillo-Enriquez hopes to give opportunities to other women of color like herself.
“I know that both architecture and interior design are very rare pathways. I had to deal with that same issue where I was not able to have any kind of experience related to the career I wanted to pursue, and I do not want that for other students,” Portillo-Enriquez wrote. “I hope that with this internship program, I will be able to demonstrate that achieving goals like being a POC woman pursuing such an overlooked career is possible, and it will inspire other POC women that have similar or even higher aspirations to continue pursuing their dreams.”
Congratulations to Portillo-Enriquez on her accomplishments. We cannot wait to see her future success!