Socoro Tamayo-Perez doesn’t come across as a young woman who has ever doubted herself. At 21, she is friendly, upfront and admits she loves to talk and win arguments — a possible lawyer in the making.
Yet Tamayo-Perez grew up fighting the sense that she didn’t fit some people’s idea of who should go to a four-year university. At her high school in affluent Walnut Creek, she often felt discounted as college material because her parents are immigrants from Mexico, who never finished high school and who always struggled to support their three children with low-wage jobs.
So receiving a scholarship from the Assistance League of the Diablo Valley to attend San Jose State University was a big boost to her self-esteem, Tamayo-Perez said. It validated her desire to seek a higher education and pursue work helping people like herself and her parents.