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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Rep. Waters Congratulates Students on Southwest Airlines ¡Lanzate!/Take Off Award

November 9, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON  – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) congratulated two constituents, Cinthya Benitez and Mayra Negrete, on winning the annual Southwest Airlines “¡Lánzate!/Take Off!” Travel Award for 2015.

All too often, students of color have fewer higher education opportunities due to the high cost of tuition and travel at out-of-state universities. But with Southwest’s “¡Lánzate!/Take Off!” prize, two deserving students will face one less barrier, with Southwest awarding them complimentary roundtrip tickets to their universities of choice.

“I’m so incredibly proud of both Cinthya and Mayra, not only for being awarded this scholarship, but also for the tremendous courage and initiative they’ve shown in pursuing their dreams,” said Rep. Waters. “I’m thankful Southwest has created this scholarship program to assist minority students, and look forward to more corporations following this example in making higher education more accessible to disadvantaged students.”

Cinthya Benitez, originally from Los Angeles, is a current senior at St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana. Having the “¡Lánzate!/Take Off!” prize not only makes it easier to stay connected to her home and family, but also helps her stay focused on her degrees in Biology and Chemistry as she pursues a career in medicine.

Mayra Negrete, a Gardena resident, is a junior psychology major at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The “¡Lánzate!/Take Off!” award has not only helped Mayra stay on top of her studies, but it has helped ease the burden on her family members who have sacrificed so much to help support her education.

Southwest’s generous annual program not only benefits praiseworthy students like Cinthya and Mayra, but also institutions of higher education all over the country that strive to recruit talented people of color who lack the opportunity to cross state lines—and sometimes even county lines—to attend colleges and universities of their choice.