2023 Milken Scholars

Photo 12 of 21 LA Julissa Mendoza

Julissa Mendoza

South Gate High School students have a spirited advocate in Julissa Mendoza. As president of South Gate's student government, Julissa managed the ASB (Associated Student Body) class, overseeing planning for the school's homecoming, Pi Day pie-eating contest and summer music festival. She led executive council meetings, coordinated ASB's financial collaboration with outside agencies and created a mentorship program, all with unprecedented levels of student participation. Julissa served as vice chair of South Gate's School Site Council, collaborating with administrators on school budgets and helping to oversee completion of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) education programs like the Integrated Safe School Plan and School Plan for Student Achievement. As student body representative for the School Based Management Council, Julissa voted on issues like staffing levels, wages, and resources for the library and parent center. 

Julissa is an AP Scholar with Distinction, Dell Scholar and National Hispanic Recognition Program honoree. She founded South Gate's F.A.I.T.H. club, a Christian volunteer organization, and was accepted to the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project and National Beloved Community Leaders Academy. The captain of South Gate's varsity tennis team, Julissa led practices, mentored teammates and advocated with LAUSD Board District 5 for the renovation of the school's tennis courts. She was one of 14 students chosen to serve as a College Peer Counselor and mentored more than 20 students per week through University of California and Cal State college applications, financial aid paperwork and scholarship opportunities. 

With an eye toward a future career in law and politics, Julissa worked as a voting clerk for Los Angeles County, helping people through the registration and voting process and translating materials for Spanish-speaking voters. She volunteers at a local law office, where she learns about worker's compensation and criminal law as she helps with client intake, translates for Spanish-speaking clients, and contacts medical offices for clients with injuries. 

Julissa will study political science at UCLA. 

All photos should be credited to "Milken Family Foundation" unless otherwise noted.

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