About the Scholarship
The Querer es Poder Scholarship Fund has been established to honor the memory of Lidia Baceda, who passed away on February 25th, 2021, from pancreatic cancer, and to perpetuate her legacy of enduring determination.
In loving memory of her strength and tenacity, her children, one of whom is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, created this fund to commemorate Lidia’s belief that education is the launchpad to achieving one’s dreams, no matter how big. As the phrase, “Querer es Poder” roughly translates “if there is a will, there is a way.”
The scholarship will be awarded to an incoming first-generation, underrepresented, and low-income student whose perseverance through adversity and unwavering pursuit of their dreams embodies the spirit of the phrase “Querer es Poder!”.
Lidia was the oldest of three children, born in the rural countryside of Canelones, Uruguay. Being raised in a house without access to modern electricity or running water, Lidia started from humble beginnings, yet she dreamt without limits. Recognizing the significance of education in creating a stable future, she wanted to be the first in the family to go to college. However, due to Uruguay’s political climate and her family’s outdated beliefs, she did not have the means to accomplish her goals at that time.
Fueled by the determination to provide her children all the opportunities that she was denied, she tirelessly worked from sunrise to sunset every day to support her family. As her children grew up, she adamantly encouraged them to pursue their dreams, always reminding them that “Querer es Poder”. Leading by example, Lidia finished high school and studied nursing in her 40s. She later became one of the first women bus drivers and the first woman bus inspector in Uruguay, proving that there is no proper timeline when there is the will to succeed.
Due to growing hostility in Uruguay, Lidia decided to immigrate to the United States with her youngest son to ensure that he had the opportunity to achieve his dreams. Though this was a momentous step into a relatively better life, Lidia had to leave everything behind: her accomplishments, her family and her friends. In the United States, she worked low-wage positions from food packing facilities to nanny jobs to provide for her family, yet this did not hinder her positive outlook nor her impact. Her unwavering sacrifices have left an indelible imprint on her family with her eldest son, Leonardo, starting his own company, her daughter, Monica, continuing the pursuit of higher education and her youngest son, Martin, becoming the first member of the family to graduate from a 4-year university when he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in 2020.
Lidia confronted every obstacle in life with a smile and an unwavering optimism that left a lasting mark on everyone she met. Her selflessness and willingness to help everyone in need inspired many around her to become better versions of themselves and to try to be more like her. Above all, she always believed that no dream was too big because no matter the odds “Querer es Poder”. Lidia believed that education is the catalyst for change, and no matter their size, dreams should be relentlessly pursued. These qualities and beliefs were the inspiration for the Querer es Poder Scholarship Fund.