September 15, 1995 Contact: Jennifer McNulty (408/459-2495)
TEN STUDENTS FROM REGIONAL COMMUNITY COLLEGES RECEIVE $20,000 SCHOLARSHIPS TO ATTEND UC SANTA CRUZ
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SANTA CRUZ, CA--Ten outstanding community college transfer students have received prestigious scholarships that will enable them to complete their undergraduate education at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Recipients of Leadership Opportunity Awards receive $10,000 scholarships for each of two years, as well as assistance finding paid summer work experience in a field that complements their academic studies, and the support of a strong academic mentoring program.
The awards were established in 1993 by UCSC Chancellor Karl S. Pister to 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 UC Santa Cruz for financial reasons. Several students are nominated by the presidents of each of thirteen regional community colleges, and recipients are selected by Pister in consultation with the Leadership Opportunity Awards Screening Committee.
"Now in its third year, this program is making a difference for some of the most talented, hardworking community college students whose options might not otherwise include transferring to the University of California," says Pister. "We are building a bridge between the regional community colleges and the Santa Cruz campus."
The program has been praised by the presidents of the participating community colleges.
This year's recipients are:
-- Thu Mong Duong of Salinas, Hartnell College
-- Michael S. Duran of Gilroy, Gavilan College
-- Raymond G. Emanuel of Daly City, College of San Mateo
-- Ricardo A. Fiallos of Sunnyvale, Mission College
-- Elsa M. Jimenez of Daly City, Skyline College
-- Claudia S. Melendez of Santa Cruz, Cabrillo College
-- Jose V. Moreno of San Jose, De Anza College
-- Herbert G. Ruffin II, of Milpitas, San Jose City College
-- Deondra L. Wilson of Los Gatos, West Valley College
-- Magalli Yoho of Mountain View, Foothill College
Up to thirteen recipients are selected each year, and each recipient will have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience through paid summer jobs that are cosponsored by private- and public-sector employers. Previous recipients have arranged summer internships with IBM, the Santa Clara County Legal Aid Society, the Santa Clara County Office of Education, the City of Watsonville, the Yo Puedo Program of the Monterey County Office of Education, and other organizations.
A $5.2 million endowment is being established to fund the Leadership Opportunity Awards permanently. Significant new gifts received during the past year include contributions from the Santa Cruz Business and Professional Women, which funded the SCBPW Scholarship, and Stephanie Mills, who funded the Mills Family Scholarship. In addition, the first LOA fund-raiser was held in February, a dance performance at Cabrillo College that raised more than $20,000.
Named scholarships honor contributors of major gifts to the LOA program. A gift of $10,000 establishes a named scholarship for one year; an endowment of $200,000 creates a permanent named scholarship.
Biographical information about the 1995-96 recipients follows. For more information, call the UCSC Public Information Office at (408) 459-2495.
Thu Mong Duong, Salinas: Duong and her family came to the United States from Vietnam in 1990, and eight months later she enrolled at Hartnell College. Now 27, Duong says the opportunity to go to school and to earn a university degree is one way in which her life here is very different from what it would have been had she stayed in Vietnam. Duong plans to major in computer science at UCSC.
Michael Duran, Gilroy: For Duran, four years in jail may have saved his life. Years ago, frustrated by a high school counselor who tracked him into welding instead of college preparatory courses, Duran rebelled the only way he knew how: he got involved with gangs and drugs. Duran, who has seen many friends die and many more incarcerated, says he learned the value of life while in jail. When he was released in 1989 he made the choice to help others. "The young people in the neighborhood look up to people who've been in prison-- like it or not," said Duran. "You have to choose to be a good or bad role model." Since then, Duran, 35, has earned A.A. degrees in liberal arts/university studies and humanities/social science from Gavilan College. While at Gavilan, Duran, who was president of MEChA, initiated a high school tutoring effort to encourage at-risk youth to stay in school. He has also been involved with numerous community organizations that encourage young people to avoid gangs, including the City of Gilroy's Gang Task Force. Also at Gavilan, he helped establish a peer mentor program for students on academic probation and served in student government, on the affirmative action committee, and on the Latino Advisory Committee. Duran, who enrolled at UCSC last January, was thrilled to receive the scholarship, which will reduce the number of hours he'll have to work. "I was going to get here some way or another," he said. "The scholarship will make it much easier." Duran hopes to teach at the high school or college level and to publish books about Native American and Chicano history. (Duran is the Thomas B. Porter Scholar)
Raymond Emanuel, Daly City: It's been a long journey from a childhood in Rangoon, Burma, to planning a career as a transplant surgeon. Emanuel, who first saw the inside of a classroom at the age of nine after his family emigrated to the United States, says it was a chance meeting at a grocery store that helped change his life. Although Emanuel attended a prestigious private high school in San Francisco, he had worked 30 hours a week to afford the tuition and said it came naturally to keep working after graduation. "I grew up without role models," says Emanuel. "My parents were always poor, and they still are. I never knew anything except working. I never knew I could be a physician and do something if I put my mind to it." But it was while working as a food clerk at a grocery store near the UC San Francisco Medical Center that Emanuel met a customer who was an anesthesiologist. "He prodded me over the year to go into medicine, saying that I'd be excellent for it, that I had the personality," says Emanuel. "Finally, I decided to check it out." That first visit to the operating room led to a summer research job, many days off spent watching surgery, and a two-year stint volunteering in the emergency room at SF General Hospital. Eighteen months later, Emanuel, now 32, enrolled at the College of San Mateo. This past year, he was elected student body president. He plans to major in biology at UCSC and marvels at how different his life would be in Burma. "I'd probably have eight or nine kids and be farming rice," he says. (Emanuel is the Neufeld-Levin Family Scholar)
Ricardo Fiallos, Sunnyvale: Married with two young children, Fiallos says his family fuels his desire to work hard and excel. "When I met my wife, I found the motivation to do something with my life, and now I want to set a good example for our kids," says Fiallos. "I saw from other people that the only way to get ahead was to get more educated. You cannot have a good life working menial jobs." Fiallos moved to the United States from El Salvador at the age of nine as that country's civil war was heating up in 1979. The transition was exciting but also difficult, says Fiallos, who was thrilled to come to "the land of baseball and football" but who was teased at school as he struggled to learn English. Fiallos, 25, worked as a retail cashier while he earned an A.A. in social science at Mission College, where he was on the dean's list every semester. He tries to set an example for his young co-workers, too. "A lot of young people work in retail," he says. "It's nice to talk to them. I just tell them you have to be responsible, and just because you're married doesn't mean you can't stay in school." Fiallos plans to major in history at UCSC and wants to teach at the high school or college level.
Elsa Jimenez, Daly City: Although she's had a lifelong interest in biology, Jimenez says she never thought about it seriously until she enrolled at Skyline College. "I always thought that girls in science were really brainy, but then a woman professor of mine encouraged me to go into it," says Jimenez. "She completely changed my perspective on women in science. She's somebody I really look up to." Jimenez's fascination with science intensified in 1990 when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She researched drugs and treatment options, and although her mother died last year, Jimenez says the experience solidified her interest. "Now that I see how science applies to the real world, it's even more interesting to me," says Jimenez, who grew up in El Salvador until she was eight years old. For Jimenez, 22, the LOA scholarship represents a second chance to attend the University of California. After high school, she had been accepted at three UC campuses but was unable to start college because her father had a disabling heart attack. In the meantime, however, her mother's illness shifted her academic interests from business and psychology to biology, which Jimenez plans to major in at UCSC.
Claudia Melendez, Santa Cruz: To explain her own seemingly endless capacity for work, school, and community involvement, Melendez recalls that during her childhood in Mexico her father worked two jobs while earning an M.B.A. "He worked very hard, and he always told me I should go to college," says Melendez. "My mom didn't go. I always wanted to be a good student, to live up to his expectations." Melendez has followed her father's example, working two part-time jobs--as a program assistant at the Cabrillo College Stroke Center and a loan assistant at the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union-- while she was studying toward an A.A. degree in sociology at Cabrillo. For nearly two years, Melendez, 27, has also volunteered as a writer and editor at El Andar newspaper. Last year, she co-wrote and acted in a play that was performed at the Viva Zapata event at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. Melendez, who first came to the United States after high school, plans to major in Latin American and Latino studies at UCSC. She hopes to pursue a career in journalism or international relations to help foster a greater understanding among Americans of the problems facing Mexico today. (Melndez is the Mills Family Scholar)
Jose Moreno, San Jose: This summer marked the fourth time that Moreno participated in a 500-mile relay run as the captain of the American Indian Spiritual Marathon Team. The run crosses the Mojave Desert, Tehachapi Mountains, and Sonora Pass in less than a week. "When it comes to running 500 miles, it's one foot in front of the other," says Moreno. "That's the way any journey begins." Moreno's educational journey was nearly derailed in high school, when he came close to dropping out. Fortunately, a counselor recommended a different school, and Moreno says the move gave him the tools to change his life; he now volunteers twice a month at the school. The first in his family to go to college, Moreno, 23, was a magna cum laude honors student at De Anza College. He plans to study cultural anthropology at UCSC. He is drawn to the "holistic" nature of anthropology and the opportunity to study all aspects of human beings. In his scholarship application, he wrote: "One of my goals is to bridge people of different world views together in mutual understanding and respect." Moreno notes that he is accepting the scholarship on behalf of "all those who have helped me along the way."
Herbert Ruffin II, Milpitas: Like many students right out of high school, Ruffin says he lacked focus when he first went to college. "I was like all the kids. I thought I knew it all," says Ruffin, 26. "I'd just left the house and was beginning to live on my own." Ruffin took some classes and played some football but was not a particularly serious student. After he left school, he worked a number of jobs, including as an inspector at a computer chip manufacturer and as a game tester for Atari, and almost joined the Air Force. By 1992, Ruffin knew he had to do something more with his life, and he enrolled at San Jose City College. Several instructors inspired Ruffin to pursue writing and his interest in history and African American studies, among other subjects. He tutored students in several subjects and is now interested in becoming a teacher. He plans to pursue an independent major at UCSC that will combine psychology, philosophy, ethnic studies, and history. "I have to at least give myself a chance," says Ruffin. "I don't want to think back years from now and see I just did this and that." Ruffin is also a versatile musician who plays keyboard, bass, and piano, writes hip- hop rap tunes, and "samples" music by manipulating recordings. (Ruffin is an Alfred E. Hahn Scholar)
Deondra Wilson, Los Gatos: Working in military intelligence for the Army for four years has had a lasting impact on Wilson's life. First, the nature of her military work helped her develop a career goal-- Wilson will major in computer engineering at UCSC and hopes to work in the computer field after graduation. Second, she discovered her talent for motivational speaking when she was selected by the Baltimore-area recruiting battalion to address at-risk high school students. Lastly, Wilson enjoyed the experience of being a role model for inner-city youth, and she plans to continue to be involved with schools. "I had a sheltered, middle-class life, and I thought everyone grew up like I did," says Wilson. "It was an eye opener. The students really wanted to know that there's another route to take." Wilson, 25, looks forward to helping fill the need for positive role models for young people, and she is hopeful that her success as an African American woman will encourage others to stay in school and define challenging goals for themselves. (Wilson is an Alfred E. Hahn Scholar)
Magalli Yoho, Mountain View: Yoho emigrated with her family to the United States from Peru in 1990. Although she spoke no English at the time, Yoho found a job in a cafe on her second day in this country. That same drive and motivation fueled her desire to continue her education in the United States after leaving a socially, economically, and politically troubled Peru. She enrolled at Foothill College two years ago and now plans a double major in economics and Latin American and Latino studies at UCSC. She hopes to pursue a career in government or community service, perhaps through an international service organization such as the United Nations. Yoho's husband, Jason, is also enrolling at UCSC this fall. In addition to community service and work with her church, Yoho, 27, has helped numerous immigrants from Mexico and Latin America make the transition to life in the United States. "Like me, they're all dealing with the difficulties of a new language--you want to communicate with people, but you struggle just asking for an address or the time," says Yoho. "Education is the key to success and the best way to integrate into our new society here in the United States. Now this country is our country, and we, as immigrants, should love and respect it."
(This release is also available on UC NewsWire, the University of California's electronic news service. To access by modem, dial 1- 209-244-6971.)