2014-2015 Scholars

  • Darshani Alahan

    Darshani Alahan

    Darshani is majoring in sociology and has worked with prospective transfer students to the university. An undergraduate student who, early on, thought she wasn’t smart enough to go to college, Darshani is now looking at graduate school. Her scholarship will help her with expenses toward applying to graduate school.

  • Adam Aharon

    Adam is a PhD student in molecular, cellular and developmental biology with an academic focus on understanding the brain. He will use his scholarship to attend a meeting for the Society of Neuroscience in Chicago and toward a laptop computer.
  • Rachel Baltazar

    Rachel Baltazar

    Rachel is this year’s Frances Spodick Drake Memorial Scholarship recipient. She is an undergraduate who, like many re-entry students, did not have a straight path. She has a double major of psychology and feminist studies, and she is using her scholarship to attend relevant research conferences.
  • Nicolas Blanc

    Nicolas Blanc

    Emigrating from Argentina as a young teen, Nicolas is now completing a BS in physics. His long-term goal is to complete a PhD and be a science professor so he can inspire young minds. He will use his scholarship to fund his applications to graduate school.
  • Rebecca Buchanan

    Rebecca Buchanan

    Rebecca is in the PhD program in education, working on her dissertation which focuses on how best to prepare teachers to work with historically marginalized students and communities. She will use her scholarship toward transcription expenses related to her research.
  • Raquel Chavez

    Raquel Chavez

    Raquel has overcome many obstacles to be at UCSC where she is completing a BA in Film and Digital Media. Raquel sees this degree as an opportunity to learn to create a film to share her experiences with others. One example is a class she took this winter, Focus on Africa, from which she has the chance to attend the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, South Africa. Her scholarship will help her pay travel costs to the forum.
  • Melinda Connors

    Melinda is completing a PhD in ocean sciences, studying the ecology of Laysan and black-footed albatrosses that are endangered. She is studying foraging behavior, diet, and geo-location to understand the link between foraging strategies and future reproductive effort. She wants to become a wildlife or marine biologist. Melinda will use her scholarship for new laptop to work on her dissertation.

  • Jamison Czarnecki

    Jamison Czarnecki

    As an undergraduate environmental studies major, Jamison came from Indiana to UC Santa Cruz because of the university’s focus on sustainability. He will use his scholarship toward summer school costs.

  • Scott Davis

    Granted political asylum in the US from Turkey, Scott delayed his dream of higher education. His scholarship will cover the cost of summer school to help him make progress toward his BS degree in business management economics so he can be ready to apply to the MS in applied economics and finance.

  • Benjamin Dejarnatt

    A Marine Corps veteran, Ben is completing an undergraduate degree in earth science. His major includes a field study as a capstone requirement, and his scholarship will help fund the cost of the field study.

  • Nesho Dimov

    Nesho Dimov

    Nesho is a remarkable re-entry student. He’s overcome medical issues to pursue bachelors’ degrees in art and film and digital media. Nesho plans to use his scholarship toward the costs of applying to graduate programs.

  • Erin Ellison

    Erin Ellison

    Erin is in the final stages of her doctoral program in psychology. Her research examines how activists recognize and confront the ways in which they are complicit in, and benefit from, social forces of dominance (racism, sexism, classism) and what they do to change it. Her scholarship will be used to attend a training to learn data analysis techniques she will use in her dissertation.
  • Nate Heller

    Nate Heller

    Nate has started down the road to becoming a professor and research scientist. He’s working on a double major in cognitive science and computational mathematics as well as being a research assistant in Professor Nickolas Davidenko’s perception lab. He will use his scholarship to pay for summer courses.

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    Lisa Hickman

    Lisa is a re-entry student as a single parent with three children. Lisa is studying studio art and the history of art and visual culture, and she hopes to continue on to a PhD program. Lisa will be using her scholarship to pay for summer courses.

  • Sean Laney

    Sean Laney

    Sean came to UC Santa Cruz for the academic rigor and has added to his economics major minors in computer science and technology information management. He will use his scholarship to fund summer courses. Ultimately Sean plans to start his own high tech company.

  • Ismael Lopez

    Ismael is our Robert Leet-Corday Memorial scholarship recipient. He is a first generation college student. He was raised in a remote area where he took two buses two hours one-way to get to his community college. He is completing a double major in business management economics and computer science.

  • James “Nate” Nichols

    James “Nate” Nichols

    Nate Nichols is a single father who decided, early on, that the key to a fulfilling life was through education. Nate majors in literature and will use his scholarship toward childcare for his daughter.

  • Jason Padilla

    A veteran of the armed services, Jason is attending UC Santa Cruz to complete a BS in marine biology with a minor in sustainability. He looks to combine these disciplines for a career in conservation. He will use his scholarship for medical expenses for himself and his service dog Ozzie.

  • Beth Peller

    Beth Peller

    Prior to attending UC Santa Cruz, Beth was already a published journalist and lecturer. She is an undergraduate literature major in the creative writing emphasis, and she is working on a novel as her senior thesis. Her novel is based on the interaction between Mexican immigrants and the Appalachian white working-class tradition. Beth plans to continue publishing her creative work.
  • Sheeva Sabati

    Completing a PhD in education, Sheeva is interested in the intersections between education, research, and social justice. The interdisciplinary nature of her research is informed by her work as a graduate researcher at the Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California. Her scholarship will go to fund her participation in two upcoming professional conferences.
  • Ryan Shook

    Ryan Shook

    Ryan is working toward a BA in intensive sociology with a concentration in global information and social enterprise studies. As part of the project for his major, Ryan will design revenue generating e-waste collection and job training program for a homeless day use facility. His scholarship will assist with the start up costs for his project.

  • Dena Spatz

    Dena Spatz is a PhD student in ecology and evolutionary biology. As an ecologist, her focus is on islands where ecosystems and species are particularly vulnerable to human influence, yet where conservation management can have huge positive impacts. Dena’s scholarship will fund travel to two programs in which she’s been invited to participate: The Darwin Scholar’s Program: Monitoring and Communicating Biodiversity, and the second, Seabird Conference.

  • Tonje Switzer

    As a single parent and an undergraduate student majoring in sociology, Tonje’s goal is to complete a master’s in social work to apply toward working with vulnerable children and their families. Currently Tonje is involved with a research and multimedia project about low-income workers in Santa Cruz. “Working for Dignity” includes low-income workers’ personal anecdotes through digital storytelling which will be posted on their website. Her scholarship will provide Tonje with a new computer and software to create those digital stories.