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Engineering freshman receives Youth Ambassador Scholarship

November 09, 2015

Paulina Torres, a mechanical pre-engineering freshman, receives the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation’s (DHDC) General Motors Youth Ambassador Scholarship at the Dream Makers Gala on October 29.

Paulina TorresThe Dream Makers Gala and Silent Auction is the signature event of DHDC for fundraising and honoring scholarship recipients.

“I was surprised to learn that I was selected for the scholarship,” says Torres. 

As a freshman at UDM, Torres enters with an impressive community service record and work experience with General Motors.

DHDC through the General Motors Youth Ambassador Scholarship recognizes youth who participate in DHDC programing, demonstrate exceptional leadership and community service and are pursuing continued education.

Torres, a graduate of Detroit’s Cristo Rey High School, credits her community involvement in Southwest Detroit and work-study experience at General Motors for the award.

“I met so many people at GM who helped and mentored me,” says Torres.  “I am very thankful for the opportunity and valuable networking experience.”

Cristo Rey students participate in a work-study program to finance their education, gain real world experience and grow in self-confidence.

While working at GM, Torres facilitated meetings between suppliers and utility companies to minimize the impact of a power failure at GM facilities.  In another position, she translated documents for various teams.

Networking with companies when she was with GM, Torres seized an opportunity to gain summer employment with the Ideal Group, a local company in her neighborhood during 2014 and 2015.   

Torres is actively involved in her community.  Throughout her youth, she was involved with the DHDC’s after school and summer youth programs.

More recently, the Ideal Group provided an opportunity for Torres to assist organizing the Junction Street Clean Neighborhood Project.  Given her experience with GM, she could excel with this project.  She organized participation from 13 Detroit companies including Chass Center, General Motors, the Ideal Group, Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision just to name a few.   

The weeklong project known as GM Cares sees volunteers from GM and nearby companies clear vacant lots, remove graffiti and beautify the neighborhood.  This provides a safe, walk-able corridor for residence and students attending Cristo Rey.

Torres is proud of her accomplishments with this project.  The project cleaned 9.4 miles in the community, 23 vacant lots cleared, removal of 12 graffiti sites and nearly 1,200 trash bags filled.  Community partners donated 2 dumpsters and nearly 200 gallons of paint thanks to the collaboration of Detroit area companies and students interested in revitalizing their community.

Working with General Motors to mobilize companies in her neighborhood and witness the transformation of the Junction Street corridor provides Torres with confidence and leadership skills. 

“I am thankful for the experience I have from GM.  There are mentors I will stay in touch with for the rest of my life,” says Torres. 

Torres’ goal is to one day be employed by General Motors.

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