2017-18 Scholarship Recipients

Our 2017-2018 New Scholarship Recipients are:

Ronnie Baker, a Sociology major transferring from Cabrillo College

Ruby Carranza-Correa, a Business major from Santa Cruz High School

Noelle Downing, a Business/Accounting major transferring from Cabrillo College

Citalli Ledesma-Pena, a Biology major, pre-nursing from Watsonville High School

Mayra Ramirez, an Industrial Design major from Pajaro Valley High School

Chantal Sanchez, Justice Studies major from Watsonville High School

Ivan Velazquez, a Business major from Pajaro Valley High School.

In addition to this newest group of scholars, the Chapter is also supporting twelve students who qualified to renew their scholarships from previous years:

Veronica Alonzo transferred from Cabrillo College in fall, 2016 as a Communication Studies major. She hopes to work for a non-profit organization that focuses on humanitarian work. She eventually would like to earn a Masters degree. Ms. Alonzo began working at the age of 16 and has paid her way through college so far. Her parents only finished fourth grade in Mexico and neither of her brothers finished high school. Ms. Alonzo will be the first in her family to attend and graduate from college. Ms. Alonzo has established a strong academic record, while working nearly full time and volunteering in the community. She was a member of Cabrillo’s honor society, Alpha Gamma Sigma. Ms. Alonzo plans to graduate in May, 2018.

Essy Barroso-Ramirez transferred from Cabrillo College in fall 2016 with a major in Pre-nursing. She soon changed her major to Health Science Administration with minors in Mexican American Studies and Legal Studies. Her goals include helping sexual assault victims and working on health services policy. She is the first in her family to attend college, so has made an effort to fully immerse herself in the experience. She worked two jobs on campus while at Cabrillo and served as Student Senate President. She was a member of Cabrillo’s Honor Society, Alpha Gamma Sigma, and graduated with degrees in Spanish, Communications, Health Science, and Liberal Arts (all with honors). She was the recipient of numerous honors and scholarships at Cabrillo and was selected as the SJSU Alumni Association, Santa Cruz Chapter’s winner of our prestigious Carol Coe Memorial Scholarship. She was invited to join the Humanities Honors Program at SJSU and is now considering pursuing a doctorate in health policy. In spring, 2017, she was chosen as the recipient of the California State University Board of Trustees’ Scholarship. One student is chosen from each of the 23 CSU campuses to receive this award each year. This is a tremendous honor and is well-deserved!

Alondra Garcia-Garcia came to us from Aptos High School in fall 2015 as a major in Linguistics. Her interest in languages is founded in her parents’ insistence that she learn both Spanish and English so that she could retain her Mexican culture and be able to communicate with family members who do not speak English. She has earned a Certificate of Bi-literacy. She challenged herself by taking several Advanced and AP courses while in high school, while also volunteering in her community. Her supervisor at Jacob’s Heart (a non-profit which helps the families of children with cancer) praised her leadership skills and said, “She wanted to make a difference in the lives of members of our community and that is exactly what she did!” Ms. Garcia will be the first in her family to graduate college and said, “I am proud of who I am, someone who finishes what she starts.” This past summer (2017) she took a 25-day travel/study trip to Japan to advance her knowledge of Japanese language and culture.

Sierra Hernandez joined SJSU in fall 2016 as a freshman from Watsonville High School. She is a Radio-Television-Film major. Ms. Hernandez became a member of the Watsonville High School Video Academy in her Sophomore year and became the stage manager for major productions the following year. She wants to make films that “have the type of impact on people that will change their emotion, films that are powerful enough to change someone’s outlook on life.” She was very active with organizations on her campus, and established a club that provides free events for low income members of the community. She also served in student government. In her first year at SJSU she has learned time management skills and has been challenged by her classes and her fellow students. She finds her SJSU experience exciting as she grows and explores new ideas.

Xiaoyan Huang is transfer student from a Cabrillo College majoring in Business/Accounting. She emigrated from China five years ago and has made a concerted (and very successful) effort to learn English and succeed in college. Her interest in accounting began when, as a child, she helped her grandmother sell vegetables in a Chinese street market. She later became the classroom “bookkeeper” in her elementary school! She tutored students in accounting at Cabrillo, where she has maintained a near-perfect grade point average and was a member of Alpha Gamma Sigma honor society. She also worked 20 hours per week in her uncle’s restaurant! Her accounting instructor at Cabrillo College said, “I have a high respect for Xiaoyan and her commitment to her education. . . She is so incredible, she is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin, and English and is now challenging her language skills as a first year Spanish speaker.” After earning her BS in Business in December 2017, Ms. Huang plans to pursue graduate work and become a CPA.

Kendra Kannegaard transferred from Cabrillo College in fall 2016 as a Theatre Arts major. She intends to earn a teaching credential so that she can teach drama in high school. Her acting and directing experience span many years, but when, at the age of 17, surgery to remove a tumor left her unable to use her legs, her life took an unexpected turn. With the warm support of friends and family, and her theater colleagues, she was able to continue to engage in the profession she loves. She has learned that “despite being in a chair [she is] capable of accomplishing anything [she puts her] mind to.” Since graduation from high school, she has worked at Scotts Valley High School as Director of the after school drama productions. She also has worked as a classroom aid and a college teaching assistant. Ms. Kannegaard is an inspiration to all.

Joel Meza joined the Spartan team from Pajaro Valley High School in fall 2015. He began his college career as a Chemistry major, with a pre-pharmacy goal. His decision to major in Chemistry stemed from frustration with current medicine being unable to diagnose his father’s illness. However, early in his time at SJSU, Mr. Meza decided to change his major to Psychology; a field which will give him a broader path from which to help people. Mr. Meza was selected by the Santa Cruz Chapter’s Scholarship Committee to be the recipient of our most prestigious award; the Carol Coe Memorial Scholarship. Criteria for this award include excellent academic performance, but most especially, outstanding community service. Mr. Meza met and exceeded all of these criteria. He has been a volunteer in early academic outreach programs, as well as being a referee and assistant coach for younger students in athletic programs. He played JV soccer and Varsity Basketball while in high school. While his community involves much violence and gang activity, and many of his relatives are members of gangs, he has resisted gang involvement because of his parents’ support. Neither of his parents graduated from high school and both work very hard in the fields to support their family. He says that he hears them say, “Always do your job as best as possible and never take the easy way out.” Mr. Meza is maintaining nearly a perfect grade point average and confirming our decision to award him our most prestigious scholarship.

Christian Nieto – Aptos High School, Major: Engineering. Christian came to California at the age of 12 from Guadalajara. He was involved in migrant student organizations in high school and with the tennis team. He was the eldest child at home, at age 13, when a fire destroyed the family’s apartment. He stated in his student statement that he wishes to become an Aerospace Engineer “with the purpose of designing aircraft and shuttles to increase the technology of flight, to find efficient ways to travel through space, to create satellites for research purposes, and potentially find new planets with the capability to be inhabited by humans.”

Alberto Saldana-Chavero is a Civil Engineering major who joined us from Watsonville High School, where he was in the top 10% of his graduating class. Mr. Saldana learned responsibility early when he had to take on household tasks otherwise done by his mother, when she was deported to Mexico (she is now home!). Because of this experience, he has determined that he will one day need to be the one giving back to the community that has given him so much. He has played soccer “all his life” and his team has ranked #1 in the state and #4 in the nation! He has also volunteered with a community group through United Way to improve healthy dietary choices. His participation in Upward Bound at CSU Monterey Bay over two summers helped him stay focused on his college goals and allowed him to earn eleven units toward his baccalaureate degree. He will be the first in his family to earn a college degree and he plans to build proper soccer fields in his community when he is an engineer!

Anna Srarmek –San Lorenzo Valley High School, Nutrition and Food Sciences. As with so many of our students, Ms. Sramek chose her major because of personal experiences that guided her to seek a better understanding of the effect of nutrition on health and life span. For twelve years she has also been a devoted soccer player and cites these experiences as helping her to become a better communicator. She has also volunteered for nearly three years at the local Animal Shelter, where she has been able to apply her communication skils. Her goal is to become a Registered Dietician. Anna recently completed her first semester of all A’s, is a Senior and expects to graduate in December 2018.

Melissa Tracy is a Cabrillo College transfer majoring in Child and Adolescent Development. Ms. Tracy’s major choice was informed in large part by her personal experience of being in foster care from the ages of three to six and understanding how important such challenges are to a child’s development. She has extensive successful experience in working with children with developmental disabilities and will seek an M.A. in Occupational Therapy after earning her undergraduate degree, with a minor in Atypical Child Studies. Ms. Tracy said, “In hindsight, through my own unique experiences, I have realized that climbing the academic ladder symbolizes much more to me than just providing myself with a means to achieve financial stability; instead it is a means to achieving my life’s purpose.” Ms. Tracy was a member of Cabrillo College’s honor society and is the first in her family to go to college. She joined the Upper Division Humanities Honors program, recently completed a semester of straight A’s, and is scheduled to graduate in spring 2018.

Marinelle Victorio is a graduate of Harbor High School and is majoring in Pre-Nursing. She challenged herself in high school by taking several Honors and Advanced Placement courses, while placing 13th in her graduating class (top 7%). She has achieved certificates in health care and has volunteer experience working with the elderly, while also managing a part time job. Her immediate goal is to become a Registered Nurse and will pursue a specialization in oncology. She told the Scholarship Committee that she would really like to become a medical doctor, but thinks that would be too expensive. She accepted an invitation from the National Academy of Future Physicians to represent Harbor High and California at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in her senior year of high school. It is our hope that she will find a way to continue her studies and achieve her goals.

Carol Coe Memorial Scholarship

Carol Coe

The Carol Coe Memorial Scholarship was established by Bob Coe "71 and his family to honor the memory of his late wife, Carol, who was an exceptional community volunteer. For many years, she was a key member of the team that made the Santa Cruz Area Chapter's Annual Holiday Dinner and Auction such a success. The students who are selected to receive this special award must exhibit outstanding community service as well as high academic achievement and school leadership.

Our first winner, Kelly McGuckin, graduated in May, 2016, with a degree in Nursing. She passed her state boards in July and is now a registered nurse. She joined Dominican Hospital's "New Graduate" program in September. This is a twelve week program for new nurses who have no experience working in a hospital. She has completed her training and is now fully employed as a nurse at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz.

James Keeley was our second Carol Coe Memorial Scholarship recipient. He majored in Recreational Therapy with a goal of working with veterans. He graduated in December 2016 and completed a field work placement as an Intern in the Spinal Cord Injury Unit at the V.A. Hospital in Palo Alto. He has also been involved in helping to start a new non-profit organization to benefit veterans' healing through fitness, nutrition, and other healing modalities.

Joel Meza, our third recipient, is currently in his third year at SJSU. He is majoring in Psychology in order to be able to help others in a more personal and interactive way. He envisions himself being a counselor or advisor, helping students to identify their career/life paths.

Our fourth Carol Coe Memorial Scholarship recipient is Essy Barroso-Ramirez. She transferred from Cabrillo College in the fall of 2016 as a Health Sciences major. She hopes to eventually earn a MS in Health Policy and a Doctorate in Nursing Practice. She is the first in her family to go to college. At Cabrillo College she was President of the Student Senate and active in the Latina Leadership Network. She graduated with Associate Degrees in Spanish, Communications, Health Science, and Liberal Arts, all with honors! In fall 2017 she was selected as SJSU's recipient of the CSU Trustees Award for Achievement!