Plano employees select first-ever Frito-Lay scholarship winners

L to R: Mehar Bhasin (Lakeville, Conn.), Jaelyn Hardaway (San Antonio), Caleb Oh (Gambrills, Md.) and Sgt. Ramon Perez (New Rochelle, N.Y.) were identified as Frito-Lay's First-Ever Community Builder Scholarship winners, each receiving $25,000 to further their higher-education goals. Photo provided by Frito-Lay.
The first-ever scholarship program awarded $25,000 to each of the students based on their contribution to their communities.

Frito-Lay announced the winners of the first-ever Frito-Lay Community Builders Scholarship, with $25,000 awarded to each of the four recipients.

Recipients were selected by a diverse group of Plano-based employees, including frontline workers, DEI leaders and executives from 500 submitted applications, according to a news release. Employees were selected for their unique perspectives, tenure, experience and “commitment to pep+ (PepsiCo Positive), a strategic transformation focused on winning with purpose and giving back to the communities that Frito-Lay and parent company PepsiCo serve.”

“As a first-generation college student, I also received a life-changing scholarship while pursuing my degree. I know the impact this scholarship will make on these students, who are each pioneering change through their own passions,” said judge and Frito-Lay North America DEI HR Manager Jesus Gutierrez. “Each winner has had their own unique path to finding their purpose through community, education and their personal backgrounds. Based on my own lived and professional experience, I’ve seen the value diverse thinking and backgrounds can bring to leadership.”


L to R: Mehar Bhasin, Jaelyn Hardaway, Caleb Oh, and Sgt. Ramon Perez

The recipients were:

  • Mehar Bhasin – Lakeville, Connecticut
    Mehar is passionate about STEM and after noticing widespread gender and race disparities in the field, she co-founded the non-profit STEAM Bloom. The organization has provided over 2,000 students free access to computer science resources. She will be a sophomore at Dartmouth College in the fall.According to Mehar, “To me, community conveys a sense of belongingness, togetherness and collective growth. I truly enjoy contributing to their success, uplifting them, serving them, leading them and trying to make an impact.”
  • Jaelyn Hardaway – San Antonio, Texas
    Jaelyn served on the Mayor of San Antonio’s Youth Climate Council and is the Co-Founder of the First Antonian branch of Cancer Kids First. She recently organized and led an initiative to deliver personalized care packages to pediatric patients locally and internationally. Graduating from high school in 2024, Jaelyn is currently deciding where she’ll attend college next year.According to Jaelyn, “Community signifies a sense of belonging, support and shared identity among individuals who come together around common interests, values, or goals, fostering connection, collaboration and mutual aid.”
  • Caleb Oh – Gambrills, Maryland
    Caleb co-founded the non-profit Kid Changemakers while in elementary school. He’s raised thousands of dollars to help support food insecurity initiatives and at-risk populations, such as foster children and the homeless. He also successfully lobbied state senators to remove the tax on baby diapers, collectively saving families millions of dollars. He will be a Sophomore at Harvard University in the fall.According to Caleb, “Volunteering has affirmed my belief that all kids can make a difference in an adult world, no matter their circumstances.”
  • Ramon Perez – New Rochelle, New York
    Ramon is currently a Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, in addition to attending college and volunteering with the Boys & Girls Club and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. He enlisted in 2019 and now oversees 120 Marines. He first started volunteering with his local Boys & Girls Club in high school and found he could make a big impact on his community through mentorship. He will be a senior at Baruch College in the fall.According to Ramon, “I hope to continue to impact my community and make it a better place for everyone; I want New Rochelle to be united.”

“It was inspiring to learn more about each of these change-makers, plus the challenges they’ve overcome fueled by grit and determination,” said judge and Lay’s Global marketing director Tionna Cunningham. “As a student with a tough path to college, this was an opportunity to pay it forward in honor of the people and financial resources that supported me.”

Since 2022, Frito-Lay has provided $600,000 in scholarship funds to students across the country.

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