CSUF student wins $30,000 from the Taco Bell Live Más Scholarship program at NBA All-Star Weekend

In Features, Lifestyle
Cash placed in hard taco shells like meat.
Photo Illustration by Gabe Gandara

CORRECTION: This is an updated version modified on March 15 at 3:45 p.m. to reflect accuracy within the story regarding Christian Aguilar’s time in the fast-food industry, how he heard about and won Taco Bell’s Live Más Scholarship and those in attendance at the PRSSA networking event. 

Once he receives the $30,000 he won from the Taco Bell’s Live Más Scholarship, Cal State Fullerton junior Christian Aguilar said he plans to graduate debt free. His passion for helping others through his YouTube videos and the skills of a Brooklyn Nets point guard helped Aguilar triumph.

“I couldn’t believe that was on television, and I couldn’t believe that I had won. I told my roommates in a group chat and I called my family,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar is a transfer student from Bakersfield College who has been working in the fast-food industry for four years and an employee at Taco Bell since December 2015. After moving to Fullerton to attend CSUF, he looked for clubs to join and eventually found the Public Relations Student Society of America.

His job at Taco Bell lead him to apply for the Live Más Scholarship and allowed him to connect with one of Taco Bell’s PR agents. Networking gave Aguilar the opportunity to participate in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.

To enter the Live Más Scholarship, applicants were required to submit a video, explaining their passions and why they should be considered for a Live Más Scholarship, according to the Taco Bell official website.

Aguilar posted a video on his YouTube channel expressing his desire to empower others. His channel includes a playlist of videos giving pointers on how to prepare for job interviews.

After posting his video in February 2018, Aguilar was notified he was going to be awarded the $10,000 scholarship.

After posting his video in February 2018, Aguilar was notified he was going to be awarded the $10,000 scholarship.

Aguilar and three other winners of the scholarship went to the Staples Center to compete at the Taco Bell Skills Challenge for $20,000.

During the competition, Aguilar and the three other students paired up with an NBA player and competed in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. The selected athlete went through a series of obstacle courses to test their passing, dribbling and shooting skills.

When the competition came to a close, Aguilar’s athlete, Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets, came out as the victor, winning the additional $20,000 for Aguilar.

Polly Zintak, a representative for the Taco Bell Foundation, said there is still a total of $3 million to give away in scholarships.

“One million of it will go to 100 new students, $500,000 will go to 50 new restaurant employees and $1.5 million will go to 150 previous recipients,” Zintak said.

Aguilar said he wants to use the funds primarily for school purposes, which includes paying for his tuition, housing and textbooks. After his school expenses are taken care of, he intends to find a reliable used car.

He encourages students to take advantage of the free money Taco Bell is awarding.

“I would say don’t be scared. If you meet the criteria, apply. Don’t let the perception of you not winning scare you from not applying because you won’t know if you won, if you don’t try,” Aguilar said.

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