DSF Scholar and Alumna Build Friendship Through Mentorship Program

Perla and Keema smiling

Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) Scholar Keema Ebong credits much of her college success to her mentor, DSF Alumna Perla Bustillos. As a sophomore at University of Colorado (CU) Denver, she had to make a tough decision this year – switching from a biology major to business marketing. Looking back, Keema says that switching majors would have been so much harder if she didn’t have Perla and her DSF Campus Advisor helping her along the way.  

Keema Ebong holding her high school diploma at graduation

DSF Scholar Keema Ebong

While Keema was excited to begin her college journey, it was an overwhelming and stressful transition. The guidance she received from her DSF Campus Advisor Josue Loma her freshman year was invaluable, so when Jose recommended she join the DSF Mentorship Program, Keema jumped at the opportunity. What she wasn’t expecting was the start of such a powerful bond with her mentor.  

Perla Bustillos smiling at her college graduation

DSF Alumna Perla Bustillos

Perla’s path to becoming a DSF mentor started when she was a college student. She remembers wanting to grow and expand her educational and professional horizons, but as a first-generation Latina student, she didn’t know where to start. Luckily, Perla had DSF Campus Advisors at Metropolitan State University of Denver that helped guide her through her college journey. The experience made Perla realize that one day, she would give back to the community in the same way. When DSF introduced the Mentorship Program, Perla knew life had come full-circle.  

Reflecting on her relationship with her DSF Mentor, Keema says Perla helped her find the new college community she needed to thrive in all aspects of her life. “Perla has become like a big sister to me – someone I can call on when I am stressed with classes, someone to help me navigate adulthood,” Keema says. “Perla’s selfless example has inspired me, and I hope that someday I will be able to pay it forward as a DSF Mentor for another young student.”  

Perla and Keema smilingPerla says that from the very beginning, Keema and her have found a source of support and friendship in one another. “Through every phone call, every interaction, Keema re-energizes my soul and reminds me of my ‘why’. I want to continue dedicating my life to guiding others to their own successes, especially for women of color regardless of what their journey looks like,” says Perla.  

DSF’s Mentorship Program empowers DSF Scholars and Alumni to grow professionally, while inspiring them to contribute to the greater Denver community.  


Are you a DSF Alum or current DSF Scholar seeking a meaningful mentorship experience? Apply for the DSF Mentorship Program online!