September 24, 1996 Contact: Jennifer McNulty (408) 459-2495; email@example.com
ELEVEN STUDENTS RECEIVE KARL S. PISTER LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITY PROGRAM SCHOLARSHIPS TO ATTEND UC SANTA CRUZ
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SANTA CRUZ, CA--Eleven outstanding students from regional community colleges have been awarded $20,000 scholarships to attend the University of California, Santa Cruz. Recipients receive $10,000 scholarships for each of two years, the support of a strong academic mentoring program, and assistance finding paid summer work experience in a field that complements their studies.
The scholarship program was renamed the Karl S. Pister Leadership Opportunity Program in June to honor former UCSC Chancellor Karl S. Pister, who established the scholarships in 1993. Pister envisioned a program that would increase opportunities for talented community college students who wanted to transfer to UCSC. The scholarships recognize 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. Candidates are nominated by the presidents of each of thirteen regional community colleges, and recipients are selected by the chancellor in consultation with the Leadership Opportunity Program Screening Committee.
This year's recipients are:
* Denise Brunson of San Jose, Evergreen Valley College
* Tina Bryson of Monterey, Monterey Peninsula College
* Lia Cracraft of San Jose, West Valley College
* Ernesto Garay of San Francisco, College of San Mateo
* Lucio Garcia of Castroville, Hartnell College
* Annette Gilbertson of Fremont, De Anza College
* Kristie Hoskins of Los Banos, Gavilan College
* Nancy Kocher of Mountain View, Foothill College
* Nguyet Manh of Santa Clara, Mission College
* Josue Samayoa of San Francisco, Skyline College
* I Crow X of Santa Cruz, Cabrillo College
Up to thirteen recipients are selected each year. A $5.2 million endowment is being established to fund the program permanently. Significant new gifts received during the past year include contributions from: Chris J. and Yolanda Dybdahl; the MLB Foundation, Inc.; Rowland and Patricia Rebele; and Paul and Anne Irwin. Named scholarships honor contributors of major gifts to the program. A gift of $10,000 establishes a named scholarship for one year; an endowment of $200,000 creates a permanent named scholarship.
"This scholarship program shows what can happen when the university teams up with community colleges, public- and private-sector employers who support the summer internship program, and generous donors," said UCSC Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood. "By working as partners, we are able to open the doors to the university to many students who would otherwise not be able to attend."
Biographical information about the 1996-97 recipients follows, as well as a list of continuing scholars. For more information, call the UCSC Public Information Office at (408) 459-2495.
Denise Brunson, San Jose: Brunson earned her A.A. in general studies and an academic certificate in communication studies from Evergreen Valley College in June. Brunson's academic performance earned her a spot on the vice president's honor roll four consecutive semesters, and she served as student trustee to the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District's governing board. Brunson's accomplishments are all the more impressive because she is the mother of four children, aged seven to seventeen. Brunson, 34, has succeeded against long odds, and she plans to major in psychology at UCSC and pursue a career in which she can work with at-risk teenage girls to help stem the rising tide of teenage pregnancies. "I want to study psychology because I've always asked questions like 'What makes people do the things they do?' and 'What makes you who you are as a person?'" says Brunson, who enrolled at Evergreen Valley College in 1992. "I've always said I wanted to go to college, and the bottom line is I needed more--I needed education as well as work experience to be able to make a living wage. And I wanted to set an example for my kids. I wanted them to know that college could be a part of their lives." Brunson spent hours studying side-by-side with her youngsters, all of whom attended her graduation. "When I get good grades, they're proud of me," she says. "They get to see what I do and the options that are available to them. And they really know I've worked for this."
Tina Bryson, Monterey: Bryson earned honors in general studies and women's studies while working her way through school and playing a leadership role in student government at Monterey Peninsula College. Bryson's involvement with student government began two years ago when she served as assistant commissioner of public relations for students; she then was appointed senator and commissioner of public relations in 1994-95, and she served as president of the associated students in 1995-96. "When the students vote you into a position, you have a responsibility to represent them," says Bryson, noting that she learned a lot--about politics, public relations, and parliamentary procedure. "This year was one of the most active student governments ever. It was a good team, and that's the style of leadership I have--collaboration." Bryson helped organize a Thanksgiving food drive last year that fed 41 families, and she coordinated the campus's first-ever food banquet at the end of December for 150 people. She also helped organize a Women's Multicultural Conference that drew more than 300 people to campus for lectures and discussion, and she helped coordinate an end-of-the-year campus party that also drew hundreds. Bryson, 23, a licensed nurse's aide, has supported herself by working at MPC's literacy programs for children and adults. She plans to major in women's studies and biology at UCSC, and her professional goal is to become active in women's health and preventive medicine in a rural area. "Women are often ignored by the medical community, even more so if they're poor and living in a rural community," she says. (Bryson is a Rowland and Patricia Rebele Scholar)
Lia Cracraft, San Jose: Cracraft's love of archaeology began as a youngster, when her father took her to his job site where artifacts were being uncovered. "I was really young, four or five years old I think, and I helped unearth a skull," says Cracraft. "I was really excited about it, and I wasn't afraid of it. My dad knew from then on that I enjoyed that kind of thing, and he gave me books on past civilizations, other cultures, archaeology, and National Geographic. It's always been a great love." Cracraft, who will major in anthropology at UCSC, earned her A.A. in social sciences in May. The mother of two, Cracraft was working several jobs just prior to enrolling at West Valley College (WVC) in the spring of 1993. "I wanted to change things," she recalls. "I wanted to spend more time with my kids, and the only way to do that was to go back to school to obtain an education. I wanted to establish a career instead of working two or three minimum-wage jobs that took away so much time from my children." Cracraft, 29, earned a 3.6 GPA while participating in student government, tutoring, and working as a peer adviser with re-entry students. "That was my favorite job on campus," says Cracraft. "Some women in re-entry are hanging on for dear life, and because I'd been through it, I could talk with them about how to pursue their education while meeting financial and work obligations. I really came to appreciate how strong these women were, and being able to help someone felt really good." Cracraft helped establish the Extended Opportunities Programs and Services Club at WVC and was president during its first semester, and she was an active member of the Interclub Council. She also helped coordinate an annual campus Christmas party for low-income children.
Ernesto Garay, San Francisco: With an A.A. in liberal arts from the College of San Mateo, Garay will enroll at UCSC this fall eager to pursue a major in literature and to share the value of higher education with high school students. Several years ago, Garay, now 29, never dreamed of college. Having barely completed high school, Garay aspired to a job in aviation mechanics until his girlfriend read some of his poetry and encouraged him to develop his writing talent by going to college. He enrolled at the College of San Mateo (CSM) and was surprised to receive encouragement from instructors and counselors. "I never knew I was good at school. High school left me with no self-confidence," says Garay. "At San Mateo, things just started happening for me. People acknowledged skills I'd never known about--a creative knack. That was something I'd never heard before, and things just fell together, just like a miracle." The experience boosted his self-esteem and inspired him to reach out to high school students by becoming active in student government and coordinating events such as the first-ever College Awareness Day at CSM for students from two San Francisco high schools. He served as vice president of the Associated Students, chair of the Enrollment Committee, and participated in the Interclub Council and the Latin American Student Organization. His outreach efforts were the most meaningful aspect of student government for Garay, who served as a teacher's aide at the Real Alternative Program High School in San Francisco for eighteen months. Garay, who worked full-time to put himself through school, hopes to continue expanding the horizons of youths from San Francisco's inner-city neighborhoods by hosting visits to UCSC and offering firsthand accounts of what college life is like. "I've gotten a lot out of it," Garay says of being a mentor. "I've seen a lot of students take me seriously."
Lucio Garcia, Castroville: As a boy growing up in Mexico, Garcia left school at the age of eleven to help provide for his six brothers and sisters. When he moved to the United States in 1989 at the age of seventeen, he worked in the fields for a couple of years and began taking English classes. He later enrolled at Hartnell College in Salinas and was able to move up to jobs in construction and the service industry as he continued to take courses. The first in his family to go beyond the sixth grade, Garcia earned his A. A. in biology in June. He plans to major in biology at UCSC and hopes to attend medical school to become a neurologist. "I took a psychology class and learned how the brain works, and it struck me how a really small part of your body controls everything you do," says Garcia. "I was amazed. I decided I wanted to be a doctor." Last year, Garcia began volunteering in the emergency room at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital to test his interest in medicine. "You see everything from scratches to accidents," says Garcia, who provided translation services, transported patients, and assisted hospital staff. Garcia, 23, was also active in the Mini Corps Club at Hartnell, a federally funded program that provides tutoring assistance to migrant children whose educations are disrupted as family members follow seasonal jobs. "Unfortunately in Mexico, there aren't the educational opportunities that we have here," says Garcia, who hopes ultimately to be a role model for Latino youth on the Central Coast. "Without an education, no matter how hard I might've worked, I would never have been more than a field worker."
Annette Gilbertson, Fremont: A dedicated volunteer, Gilbertson's list of community activities is long and diverse. A certified massage therapist, Gilbertson has volunteered for four years with the Shanti Project, providing comfort to end-stage AIDS patients. She founded the San Mateo Chapter of the California Volunteer Emergency Disaster Response Team in the aftermath of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, providing on-site massages for physically and emotionally drained emergency personnel. She has volunteered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Santa Clara County for seven years, and is a volunteer support counselor for the Center for Surrogate Parenting. She is an advocate for women's health, organizing support groups for women who were abused as children, teaching workshops on how to develop peer support groups, and writing a workbook for survivors of abuse. Of her volunteerism, Gilbertson says her life has been enriched by the people with whom she has worked. "What I've gotten back is the incredible experience of learning what's really important in life," says Gilbertson. "I've learned things you can't learn in school or from a book. I've been privileged to learn so much, and I struggle daily to put into effect what I've learned." A single mother, Gilbertson, 36, has supported her son while pursuing her passion for learning. She has completed a two-year vocational program in computer science and a two-year degree program in electronic engineering technology. Most recently, she earned a spot on the dean's list for four consecutive quarters at De Anza College, where she earned her A.A. degree in liberal arts in June. The first in her family to attend college, Gilbertson plans to study English literature and creative writing at UCSC with the long-term goal of a career in educational administration. (Gilbertson is a Rowland and Patricia Rebele Scholar)
Kristie Hoskins, Los Banos: With an A.A. in liberal studies from Gavilan College, Hoskins plans to major in biology at UCSC to build a foundation for medical school. Her goal is to become a pediatrician. The mother of two, Hoskins, 25, has held two jobs while attending school full-time. She was on the president's honor roll for three semesters and earned a spot on the dean's list once. "I've always wanted to be a doctor," says Hoskins. "I like helping people. I don't think you can be in it for the money, because it's not worth it. You can't really be a doctor if you don't care about people." The first in her family to attend college, Hoskins has worked as a visiting nurse, caring for the elderly, infants, and patients with AIDS, cancer, and other diseases, and giving welcome relief to the patients' primary caregivers. She has since become a certified nurse's assistant, providing a higher level of service to those in her care. "My mother is my role model," says Hoskins. "She became a police officer at 40." (Hoskins is the Santa Cruz Business and Professional Women's Scholar)
Nancy Kocher, Mountain View: Foothill College President Bernadine Fong calls Kocher "passionate" and a "natural leader." Kocher, 38, describes her philosophy as "don't just accept the status quo. If you can't find a way, make a way." That determination has helped Kocher overcome professional obstacles and personal hardship. Shortly after graduating from high school, she discovered a love of working with the disabled and worked her way up the ranks of New York's public and private care facilities for the developmentally and emotionally disabled. More than once, Kocher landed jobs that required at least an undergraduate college degree, which she lacked. Kocher and her husband moved to California in 1992, and although he became psychologically disabled two years later, she turned adversity to opportunity by enrolling at Foothill College. Kocher, who has been homeless since her husband became disabled, has earned a 3.85 GPA and lifetime membership in the Alpha Gamma Sigma honor society while working part- time in the Admissions Office, volunteering with the Disabled Students Program, participating in student government, and writing for the campus newspaper. Kocher will major in English literature at UCSC; she plans to attend law school and become a public-interest attorney working on behalf of the disabled. "This education is something I've always wanted to do," says Kocher. "I'm passionate about my work. I know what I want to do, but without this scholarship, it would not be possible. To me, this is absolutely a dream come true."
Nguyet Manh, Santa Clara: When Manh arrived in the United States five years ago, she spoke no English. Now, after adult school English classes and two years at Mission College, Manh is eager to study computer engineering and English at UCSC. She dreams of teaching literature at the college level. "I love teaching language," says Manh. "I want to teach some kind of literature. But I want to have the engineering background, too, so I can get a decent job and support myself if the dream doesn't come true." Manh, 27, earned a 3.9 GPA at Mission College. She worked part-time in the library and the computer lab on campus, and she wrote for the campus newspaper, The Mission Express. Manh introduced a new column called "With ESLs," to showcase writing by students who were learning English as a second language. "Usually, those students are very shy about participating," says Manh, who occasionally offered a small prize to encourage students to submit their work. Manh's own writing was showcased in the paper, including commentaries she wrote about current events, inspirational teachers, and other subjects. Her favorite piece was an article she wrote about the differences between American and Vietnamese cultures. "In this country, people are more focused on individuality than on being part of the bigger, whole community," explains Manh. "Everyone wants to be separate and different, and sometimes it's very competitive, and there is a lot of pressure if you want to be a success. Kids are not taught to communicate well enough with others. I remember from my childhood the lessons my parents taught me, and one of the things they said was that they would teach me to behave before they would teach me to write. In Vietnam, it's not just about academics. There is something about my culture that teaches people to live with others peacefully first."
Josue Samayoa, Santa Cruz: Samayoa, 21, never let the fact that he didn't finish high school hold him back; he enrolled at Skyline College in January 1994. "There was always something in the back of my head that said that's where I belong," Samayoa says of pursuing a college education. "I think everyone has a certain gift in life, whether it's playing the piano, sports, painting, writing, or whatever, and the thing I was good at was school." Samayoa was active in student government at Skyline, serving as a senator and a member of Skyline's College Council, which opened a day care center for the children of Skyline students during his term. "That was our biggest accomplishment," notes Samayoa, who also helped organize and performed in a play about the importance of education called La Familia in America. The play, which was performed on campus and in elementary schools by members of Skyline's Latin American Student Organization, inspired at least one audience member to pursue her dream of going back to school. "Later on, I found out this woman had all but given up on her dream, fearing it would take her too long," Samayoa wrote in his scholarship application. "Seeing our performance changed her mind. I had never before felt what it was like to change someone else's life, nor had I ever realized just how much I could influence those around me. What began as a small community service project metamorphosed into an event that changed lives and brought people from all walks of life together." With plans to major in biology at UCSC and pursue a career in medicine, Samayoa interned this past summer in the lab of UCSC biology professor Lynda Goff. "I couldn't have dreamed of anything better," Samayoa says of the honor of receiving the scholarship.
I Crow X, Santa Cruz: It was nearly 30 years ago that Crow barely graduated from high school. Yet, after returning to school in 1992, he is now entering UCSC with a 3.65 GPA from Cabrillo College. In addition to excelling in his classes, Crow, 45, was elected student senator-at-large for two terms, was president of the Cultural Awareness Club, and was Cabrillo's representative to the CalSAAC Black Caucus and the CalSAAC Information Technology and Internet Caucus. He coordinated the acquisition, restoration, and shipment of a computer to a high school in South Africa under the auspices of the campus's South African Literacy Project. Cabrillo College President John Hurd calls Crow a "truly extraordinary individual," which is evident in Crow's academic and professional goals. Crow plans to study philosophy at UCSC to develop what he calls "a theory of knowledge for my life." Eager to explore questions of ethics and social behavior, Crow looks forward to learning about Third World philosophical perspectives, including the philosophies of the ancient civilizations of Africa and Asia. Crow's long-term goal is to teach at the high school or community college level, and he has a special hope of being able to reach out to young African American men. "There's a lot of cynicism among kids these days," says Crow. "There's all kinds of acting out, and I wonder where that's going to go. African American males are falling out of education and filling up the jails, and I think that's a matter of ethics. I need to develop my personal philosophy to share that with kids."
Continuing scholars who were named last year are:
* Thu Mong Duong of Salinas, Hartnell College * Michael S. Duran of Gilroy, Gavilan College (Duran is the Thomas B. Porter Scholar) * Raymond G. Emanuel of Daly City, College of San Mateo (Emanuel is the Neufeld-Levin Scholar) * Ricardo A. Fiallos of Sunnyvale, Mission College * Elsa M. Jimenez of Daly City, Skyline College * Claudia S. Melendez of Santa Cruz, Cabrillo College (Meléndez is the Mills Family Scholar) * José V. Moreno of San Jose, De Anza College * Herbert G. Ruffin II, of Milpitas, San Jose City College (Ruffin is an Alfred E. Hahn Scholar) * Deondra L. Wilson of Los Gatos, West Valley College (Wilson is an Alfred E. Hahn Scholar) * Magalli Yoho of Mountain View, Foothill College
This release is also available on the World Wide Web at UCSC's "Services for Journalists" site (http://www.ucsc.edu/news/journalist.html) or via modem from UC NewsWire (209-244-6971).