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Johansel Emanuel Hernandez Pena
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I’ve always drawn on my parents as inspiration, as they took the challenge to leave the Dominican Republic where I was born. Along with my siblings and parents, we left our family home to move to Madrid in Spain. Although my parents were both qualified lawyers back home, their qualifications and legal background were dismissed when we arrived and consequently, they had to work low-skilled jobs. This was one of many moments in my life where I felt different from everyone else, often facing discrimination due to my racial background and being a migrant. Despite the pain I felt, my parents encouraged me to work three times harder in everything I did and to always do my best.

In 2015, once I completed primary school education in Spain, my family and I moved to the UK. This transition in my life, I remember finding quite challenging, as no one in my family including myself could speak English and I had to wait 2-3 months to be assigned a place in secondary school. This meant that I was very behind compared to my counterparts in terms of my learning and progress. I was grateful to have a teacher coming from a Caribbean background who with empathy helped me with my English, Maths and Science skills. With perseverance came success and I eventually managed to catch up.

Today I am a Chemistry undergraduate at the University of Glasgow as well as a 2021 Amos Bursary Scholar. At the Amos Bursary we are offered a range of workshops and activities each term. These programmes are essential to help us with our personal development as well as acquire skills that are transferable for whatever path we choose to follow.

As AMOS students we are encouraged to engage in all four aspects of the bursary- Academic excellence and professional development; Motivation and Mindset; Opportunities and experiences; Support guidance and community spirit. The expectations set out may appear high, but it is because the AMOS team want the best for us and push us to want the best for ourselves. Scholars who apply these principles to their journey will get numerous opportunities and have lots of fun along the way.
The Amos Bursary is an opportunity for us to make lifelong connections and receive support throughout our journey.