Congratulations to the 2024 Jesus Salas Activist Scholar!

Yanci Almonte Vargas in a brown suit and tieThe CLS Program is delighted to announce that senior Yanci Almonte Vargas has won this year’s Jesús Salas Academic Activist Scholarship. A Latinx student of African ancestry, born and raised by a Black mother in the Dominican Republic, Yanci is majoring in Global Health with minors in Chican@ & Latin@ Studies and African Cultural Studies. He has been active in ChiLaCSA, the student government of the Chican@ & Latin@ Studies Program, as well as such student organizations as AHANA-MAPS (the African, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American Pre-Health Society), the Blk Pwr Coalition, and others. As an activist at the UW-Madison, Yanci has sought to lift as he climbs, working on community events such as the annual March Up Bascom, end-of-semester CLS study jams, and efforts to create experiences that will help pre-health students of color become culturally competent, clinically excellent, and socially conscious physicians. He plans to study abroad in Cuba and South Africa this summer and pursue graduate study in biomedical sciences this Fall.

The Jesús Salas Academic Activist scholarship is awarded annually to a Chican@ and Latin@ Studies Program Undergraduate Certificate student who has excelled in academic pursuits and has made outstanding service contributions to the Chican@ and Latin@ Community. The award is named in honor of longtime activist Jesus Salas for his continuous commitment and dedication to the advancement and wellbeing of the Chican@ and Latin@ community. Regent Salas earned a Master’s degree in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin Madison, and in 1964 he helped found the Obreros Unidos, a Wisconsin agricultural labor union. He was also the first Latino executive director of United Migrant Opportunity Services, Inc. He served on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents from 2004 to 2007, and was an instructor at the Milwaukee Area Technical College for many years.