Awards and Honors
Twelve community college students receive
$20,000 scholarships to UCSC
By Jennifer McNulty
In a joyful rite of spring, UCSC has selected 12 regional community
college students who will receive $20,000 scholarships to enroll
at the university this fall.
This year's recipients of the Karl S. Pister Leadership Opportunity
Awards include single parents, immigrants from Mexico and Vietnam,
and re-entry students.
The awards recognize talented students who have overcome adverse
socioeconomic circumstances, have a demonstrated commitment
to assisting and improving the lives of others, and who might
not otherwise be able to attend UCSC for financial reasons.
Recipients receive $10,000 scholarships for each of two years,
as well as the support of a strong academic mentoring program
and assistance finding summer work experience in a field that
complements their studies.
"This scholarship program opens doors to some of the most
academically talented and determined students who enroll at
UCSC each year, and I am proud to welcome them to our campus,"
said UCSC Chancellor Denice D. Denton. "Their contributions
enrich our student community, and their achievements inspire
The presidents of 13 regional community colleges each nominate
several students, and recipients are selected by Denton in consultation
with the Leadership Opportunity Awards Screening Committee.
The program was established in 1993 by former UCSC Chancellor
Karl S. Pister to foster the transfer of accomplished community
college students to UCSC.
A list of this year's recipients follows, with hometowns and
college affiliations. Biographical information about each recipient
is also available below. For more information about the scholarship
program or any of the recipients, call the UCSC Public Information
Office at (831) 459-2495.
Eytihia Arges, Los Gatos; Foothill College
Cole Berry, Aptos; Cabrillo College
Yonathan Essaw, San Jose; San Jose City College
Maria Gutiérrez, San Jose; Evergreen Valley College
Don Ha, San Jose; Mission College
Victor Hernandez, San Jose; West Valley College
Angelica Jimenez, Castroville; Hartnell College
Rebecca Johanson, Sunnyvale; De Anza College
Patricia Lopez, San Mateo; College of San Mateo
Paloma Martinez, San Carlos; Cañada College
Domingo Payne, Gilroy; Gavilan College
Erin Sullivan, Monterey; Monterey Peninsula College
Eytihia Arges, Los Gatos; Foothill College. The first
in her family to attend college, Eytihia Arges, 32, is the daughter
of Greek immigrants. A dedicated volunteer, she has donated
her services in web development, graphic design, layout, and
marketing to numerous organizations. During the 2003 holiday
season, Arges took family portraits of needy single mothers
and their children. She is a volunteer instructor with the U.S.
Naval Sea Cadets, a leadership organization for youth. She plans
to double-major in politics and film and digital media
Cole Berry, Aptos; Cabrillo College. With a 4.0 GPA,
Cole Berry has excelled at Cabrillo College. As a drummer and
percussionist, he has performed with the Cabrillo College Latin
Music Ensemble and other groups. A native of Redding, California,
Berry, 19, intends to major in history and minor in jazz music
performance. He plans to be a teacher.
Yonathan Essaw, San Jose; San Jose City College. Yonathan
Essaw emigrated from Ethiopia with his family in 1998 and learned
English quickly enough to graduate from high school in three
years. He was president of Students United for Medicine, whose
members volunteer in local clinics and visit high schools to
promote health awareness. He has also volunteered with the Second
Harvest Food Bank and the San Jose Emergency Housing Consortium.
He is a member of the Ethiopian Student Union and the Black
Student Union. Essaw has participated in the Bridges Program
for minorities interested in biology, and he conducted research
on Vitamin D receptors in the biochemistry program of San Jose
State University. He plans to major in biology.
Maria Gutiérrez, San Jose; Evergreen Valley College.
A single mother of three children, Gutiérrez was
in the Honors Program at Evergreen, where she tutored fellow
students in chemistry and mathematics. She has embraced her
Aztec heritage and credits it with helping her find balance
in her life. She joined the South Bay Geo-Diversity Project,
an NSF-funded initiative based at San Jose State University
that encourages underrepresented students to explore Earth science
education and research, and helped develop educational materials
for use at Henry W. Coe State Park. Gutiérrez plans to
major in Earth sciences.
Don Ha, San Jose; Mission College. A 1986 graduate
of high school in his native Vietnam, Ha came to the United
States in 2001 as part of a humanitarian program for Vietnamese
victims of the war. Enrolling in school in 2002 at the age of
35 was a struggle, but Ha learned English and became active
in the Vietnamese Student Association and the Fantastic Toastmasters
Club. In Vietnam, Ha volunteered with a literacy project, helping
Vietnamese children learn to read. He plans to major in biochemistry.
Victor Hernandez, San Jose; West Valley College. Victor
Hernandez, 54, is a re-entry student who returned to college
after a 25-year career in Silicon Valley. As an intern with
the Santa Clara County Department of Corrections, Hernandez
developed systems to record and track information needed by
rehabilitation officers who write progress reports and treatment
plans for inmates, facilitating the evaluation of the cost-effectiveness
of rehab treatment programs administered by the department.
Hernandez plans to major in education or psychology with a minor
in computer information system management.
Angelica Jimenez, Castroville; Hartnell College. Angelica
Jimenez was admitted to UCSC after high school but had to change
her plans when her mother became ill. She enrolled at Hartnell,
where she made the Dean's List for two years despite working
40 hours a week. The first in her family to go to college, Jimenez
is a role model for her sister and other relatives. She is an
active member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
and Amnesty International. Jimenez intends to major in sociology
and minor in psychology. She plans to be a social worker or
school guidance counselor.
Rebecca Johanson, Sunnyvale; De Anza College. During
a trip to Mexico at the age of 15, Johanson was so moved by
the poverty she saw that she vowed to return. During subsequent
trips to Mexico and South America, Johanson has helped vaccinate
children against disease. Closer to home, she was a founding
member of Saltworks Christian Fellowship and volunteered with
Angel Tree to buy and distribute Christmas gifts to the children
of inmates. At De Anza, Johanson tutored history, founded a
fencing club, and was elected to the student senate in 2003,
serving as vice president of student rights and services and
chairing several committees. She is also on the board of directors
of Never Cry Wolf Rescue and Adoption, a nonprofit dedicated
to the rescue of wolves. She has a fourth-degree black belt
in martial arts. Johanson plans to major in anthropology.
Patricia Lopez, San Mateo; College of San Mateo. A
full-time graphic designer, Patricia Lopez, 31, has juggled
work and school since enrolling at the College of San Mateo.
She is a member of the K-12 committee of the National Association
of Chicana/Chicano Studies, and she volunteers her time for
Craigslist Foundation, which sponsors an annual showcase of
nonprofit organizations. Lopez plans to major in psychology
and become a youth guidance counselor.
Paloma Martinez, San Carlos; Cañada College.
A native of Mexico, Martinez first enrolled at Cañada
College in the English as a Second Language Program, but she
quickly became involved in further academic and extracurricular
activities. An aspiring filmmaker, Martinez is the secretary
and treasurer of the Political Awareness Club, secretary of
the Associated Students of Cañada College, vice president
of scholarships for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and a member
of the Latin American Friendship Club. Martinez intends to be
a film major at UCSC.
Domingo Payne, Gilroy; Gavilan College. The father of
five, Domingo Payne says his children motivate him to excel.
His academic counselor at Gavilan calls him a "natural
leader." Whatever the source of his determination, Payne's
accomplishments are evident in his service as president of the
Gavilan Associated Student Body, founder and president of the
Gavilan Chess Club, cofounder of the "Friction" Literary
Club, and cofounder of the Men's Academic Network Organization
(MANO), formed to address declining retention rates among Hispanic
men at Gavilan. He is also a member of the Rho Alphu Mu Honor
Society. Payne plans to major in literature and hopes to teach
at the college level.
Erin Sullivan, Monterey; Monterey Peninsula College.
Erin Sullivan became a single mother at the age of 18, an experience
that shaped her life but hasn't kept her from pursuing a college
education or being involved with extracurricular activities.
Sullivan is president of the Parent Advisory Committee of the
Monterey Peninsula College Children's Center, was appointed
senator of the Associated Student Body, and served as a chemistry
tutor. Sullivan maintained a high GPA and was active in the
MPC Honor Society while working part-time to support herself
and her 4-year-old son. She plans to major in ecology and evolutionary
biology at UCSC.
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