2009 Celebration Scholarship Recipients
Sonnenblick-Del Rio Global Citizens Scholar
Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Luis Acevedo is a senior majoring in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and a Spanish minor at the University of Washington. Born in Mexico, Luis and his family now reside in Snohomish County in Washington State.
Luis transferred to the UW as a participant of the Running Start Program at Everett Community College. Upon his transfer to UW, Luis joined Americanos Y Latinos en Medicina Ayudando (ALMA) helping raise funds for a neonatal clinic in Peru. A national United Health and PacifiCare Foundation Latino Health Scholar and UW OMA Diversity Scholar, Luis has participated in the Health Sciences Minority Program’s Stipends for Training Aspiring Researchers (S.T.A.R), Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (I.M.S.D.), and Summer Medical and Dental Educational Program (S.M.D.E.P) at the UW. Bringing together his personal interests in the study of infectious diseases in rural communities with biomedical research, Luis currently works with Dr. Tuofu Zhu’s research team in the department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Virology.
Most recently he was the recipient of the EIP/OMA Boeing Research Scholarship for his research work in understanding the pathogenesis of HIV-1 infection. Luis has been invited to present his research at several national research conferences. He is not only a talented researcher, but also a talented musician. Luis plays several musical instruments and is a member of a local Mexican Regional music band.
Luis aspires to attend dental school in order to help improve the healthcare and quality of life in rural and underserved communities, particularly the farm worker Latino Populations.
Mark Cooper Scholar
Coming from a poor, small town in El Salvador, Reynaldo knows what it is like to live in poverty and financial instability. While in El Salvador, he experienced poverty, poor education, lack of job opportunities and thus few opportunities to succeed. In the United States, Reynaldo can see the opportunities that are available to him, and hopes to utilize them. Planning ahead, Reynaldo has been saving his money since he was in high school to pay for his college tuition. He managed to get through community college debt free, but rising tuition costs and competitive classes have made financing his education challenging. Even so, he works hard to keep his grade point average high and looks forward to furthering his education.
Since high school, Reynaldo has valued the importance of mentoring. While at the University of Washington, his most important campus involvement has been becoming a mentor. As a mentor, he gained valuable leadership skills and the ability to express himself in clearer and more precise ways. He realizes the importance of these skills in any educational venue.
After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, he plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the UW, before going on to a Ph.D. program. He hopes to gain more hands on experience in biomedical instrumentation research. With this experience he can fully engage himself in designing, analyzing, and creating tools and medications that will ease, if not cure, diseases that plague the lives of many patients.
Bank of America Scholar
Marilu is a dedicated and motivated student, both inside and outside the classroom. In spring of 2010 she will graduate with a degree in Accounting, but constantly seeks experiences to help broaden her horizons and become more familiar and confident with her career path. Marilu’s credits her dedication, motivation, and leadership qualities to her mother. Born in Mexico, Marilu and her two siblings were raised by their mother. Getting an education from the University of Washington is Marilu’s way of thanking her mother for all her hard work and sacrifices.
Throughout her educational career at the UW, Marilu has been very active. She is currently the Chief Events Officer for Beta Alpha Psi, Delta Chapter and is a volunteer mentor for the Seattle City Year Branch and UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity. Even though she has a very busy schedule, Marilu maintains a high grade point average and has made the Dean’s List 5 of her past 8 quarters at the UW. She credits part of her success to the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity’s Instructional Center (IC) and Student counseling services for their support.
Upon completion of her undergraduate degree in Business Administration, Marilu plans on applying for a Master’s in Public Accounting to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Being a CPA will help her start her accounting career. This summer she will be interning at KPMGW, one of the Big Four Accounting Firms.
Lee and Virginia Hunstman Scholar
In June 2010, Kendra will graduate from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Throughout her academic career at the UW, Kendra has experienced personal and familial challenges and yet she has achieved Dean’s list status six out of seven quarters. Working two jobs and an internship, Kendra has kept a high grade point average through a grueling schedule.
Kendra takes time from her busy schedule to volunteer with various organizations including: Relay for Life, Meals on Wheels, and the Boys and Girls Club. She is also interning at the Seattle Children’s Hospital Inpatient Psychiatric Unit, where she diagnoses and treats children between the ages of two and seventeen who suffer from complex psychiatric conditions. Her desire is to continue volunteering, specifically with groups that focus on at-risk youths, teens that struggle with family issues, drugs, depression and the law. To do this, she will continue volunteering at various teen helping organizations such as Stand Up for Kids and the Youth Tutoring Program.
Upon her completion at the UW, Kendra would like to work at the Seattle Children’s Hospital Inpatient Psychiatric Unit for one year to gain experience in her field of interest. She will then turn her focus to graduate school and pursue a Master’s degree in Psychology with a focus in child psychology, or marriage and family therapy. Ultimately, Kendra wants to become a child psychologist and feels that she can make a difference in the lives of children.
Cristina Domogma, the daughter of immigrants and the eldest of seven kids truly values even the most basic necessities and acknowledges the privilege of higher education and economic security. Due to the sacrifices made by her family for a college education, Cristina exhibits a personal commitment to helping others overcome the debilitating effects of poverty.
Despite personal and financial challenges, Cristina remains active in her community. She is a founding member and President of the Latin American Studies Association at the University of Washington, as well as a McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Scholar. Currently she is working on two studies, “Bilingualism in the Pacific Northwest” and currently researching along with Professor Jose Antonio Lucero- the greatest social movement in Brazil, “Movimiento Sin Tierra,” (Landless Peoples Movement). This latest research focuses not only on advocating for agrarian reform, but also embraces other Latin American common issues, such as social injustices and the reconstruction of their political systems.
Cristina aspires to work with international organizations such as the United Nations (UN) to improve the standard of living of Latin American communities. Her dream is to become a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. In this capacity, she would like to combat and prevent discrimination by creating alleviation programs in emerging Latin American economies; providing opportunities to negotiate issues affecting our country and developing countries. Specifically, she hopes to endorse comprehensive education with respect to immigration issues affecting the US and develop training programs for key officials at the highest levels of government to advise them on human rights issues and immigration policies.
Robert T. and Nancy J. Knight Scholar
American Indian Studies
Cecilia Gobin, a member of the Tulalip Tribe, is currently a junior majoring in American Indian Studies with minors in History and Anthropology. Her love for her cultural heritage brought her to the University of Washington. In her near future, she aspires to work as an attorney for her tribe, protecting not only treaty rights but also working to protect, promote and advance tribal sovereignty.
In 2008 and 2009 Cecilia had the honor of being named and awarded the Morris K. Udall Scholarship, which recognizes Native students and their pursuit of careers related to tribal government and policy, Indian healthcare and the environment. In addition to the Udall scholarship, she applied for a research fellowship with the Urban Institute and the National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center whose mission is to provide tribal leaders with the best available knowledge to make strategically proactive policy decisions in a framework of Native wisdom that positively impacts the future of Native peoples. Here Cecilia plans to study the effects of federal labor laws on economic development and tribal sovereignty in Indian Country and its effects on the Native community.
Cecilia’s post graduation plans include attending law school, with an emphasis in natural resources, water rights and intellectual property rights. Her current studies in American Indian Studies, History and Anthropology will give her the necessary educational background and provide her with the experiences she needs to help her tribe with the accomplishment of their goals.
Wells Fargo Vice President’s Achievement Award
Fine Arts (BFA), Comparative History of Ideas
Through serious personal hardships, Jessica Guidry has been able to maintain a good academic record at the University of Washington. In spring of 2009 she will graduate with a Bachelor’s of the Fine Arts degree in Painting/Drawing (BFA) and a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative History of Ideas (BA).
Jessica is heavily involved in research projects and has worked alongside prestigious UW faculty, including Professor Angela Ginorio from the department of Women Studies. One of the projects that Jessica has been working on is a McNair/Presidential Scholars research project. This project focuses on the usage of “visual language” (of the fine arts, both literally and rhetorically) to discuss theory. Another research project that Jessica is involved with is her painting thesis. This includes a series of interactive, double-sided painted panels called Doors and Screens. Measuring about the height of an average person, these panels are freestanding and reminiscent of Japanese sliding doors and screens. This project depicts singular standing panels which represent women of color. Ironically, like women of color, these images are subject to interpretation and stereotype.
Jessica has applied to the Master’s of fine arts program at various research Universities across the country. After the completion of her Master’s degree, she plans to become involved in Education Policy. She is especially interested in creating an art-centered charter high school focusing on institutionalized and incarcerated teens. She believes that the methodology she has cultivated, the marriage of academic and artistic ways of knowing, can be useful to teach these targeted populations holistic/critical thinking problem solving skills.
Alfred and Marilyn Mus Scholar
Spanish, International Studies
Brandon will graduate from the University of Washington in June 2010 with a major in Spanish and International Studies and a minor in French. He is also fluent in American Sign Language. Through his study abroad experiences he learned that his passion lies in the acquisition of knowledge that is impossible to obtain while in one’s home country. He believes that if more students were aware of the positive effects of study abroad, that overall cultural acceptance would increase, language barriers that are so prevalent in some societies would be eradicated, and the light of knowledge and cultural awareness would be positively reflected in the eyes of others.
Throughout his academic career at the UW, Brandon has been an active member of many clubs including; the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Beta Psi chapter, UW’s band and cheer programs, and has even worn the Harry the Husky costume. He is also a member of the Foundation for International Understanding of Students (FIUTS). This program focuses on skill development in community planning skills and interpersonal skills, cultural absorption and veneration for both individuality and cultural pride.
Brandon’s professional goal is to create his own study abroad program in a Spanish-speaking country, be the resident director and coordinator for that particular program and teach at the university where the program is based. To achieve this goal, he established a seven year academic plan, made possible through programs found at the UW, and La Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and Columbia University in New York City.
Wells Fargo President’s Achievement Award
Jaimée Marsh came from Spokane, WA to the University of Washington as an EOP Diversity Scholar in the fall of 2004. As a first-generation college student, Jaimée has always been passionate about mentoring youth and enhancing access to higher education.
In June 2009, she will graduate with a degree from the School of Social Work with minors in Public Health and Geography. To compliment her social work curriculum, Jaimée serves as a programmer for the Q Center, which promotes an anti-oppressive, inclusive, and celebratory environment for queer students, faculty, staff, and their allies. Jaimée extended her commitment to social change by facilitating Intergroup Dialogues through the IDEA Center at the School of Social Work with Dr. Ratnesh Nagda, which addresses issues of oppression, empowerment, and alliance building for social justice among diverse communities.
Jaimée received a fellowship from the Multidisciplinary International Research Training Program in 2008 to conduct research on the prevalence of sexual harassment at nine universities in Ethiopia. She has presented her findings at three conferences in the United States and Ethiopia, and her article will be published in the International Journal of Occupational Health in July 2009.
Jaimée has consistently appeared on the Dean’s List, and was inducted into multiple national honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Phi Eta Sigma. After receiving acceptances from the top programs in her field, she plans to attend the University of Michigan where she received full funding to study for their Master’s of Social Work program.
Mark Cooper Scholar
Growing up in Omak, Washington, a town where 25.3 percent of the population is under the poverty line, Tyrell did not think he had a chance to attend college. But poverty was only one obstacle he had to overcome to pursue an education at the University of Washington. While in high school he did not have the best grades, but everything changed when he was accepted into the Summer Transition Program at the UW. He knew then, that he had a second chance to succeed. In the spring of 2010 he will graduate with an Anthropology degree from the UW.
Tyrell has been on the Dean’s List for all but his first quarter at the University of Washing and has been a member of the honor society NSCS for over a year now.
Recently, human remains were unearthed during the construction of a casino in his hometown of Omak, inside the Colville Indian Reservation. He hopes to learn more about his heritage by being an active participant in the preservation process. To do this he will help set up community digs that include Omak residents and the Colville tribal members in the project.
Tyrell plans on attending the University’s Museology Master’s Degree Program, which is run by the Burke Museum. After acquiring his Master’s Degree, he would like to earn a Ph.D. in Archeology. Tyrell aspires to work as a curator or director at a large museum, his dream job is to work for the Museum of Natural History in New York.
Bank of America Scholar
Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology
Christie Mortales is currently a junior and will be graduating with a degree in Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology from the University of Washington in spring of 2010.
Christie is very active at the UW. She has participated in several biomedical fellowships, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Biology Fellows Program, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded by the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) and the Undergraduate Research Fellowship through the Health Sciences Center Minority Students Program.
Apart from her academic involvement, Christie is also very active on campus. She is a participating member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) and the Filipino American Student Association (FASA). Christie has been the Activities Officer for FASA for the past year, where she promotes and preserves the traditions and history of the Filipino culture across campus.
Upon completion of her Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology degree, Christie plans to pursue an MD and Ph.D., specializing in pediatric immunology and oncology. Prior to applying to medical school, she will take several years off to gain more clinical and research experience through local volunteering and national or international human service work. She is also considering being a participant of “Doctors without Borders” during her medical career, where she would assist in treating infectious diseases and malnutrition among children in the most underserved populations.
UW Athletic Scholar
Aquatic and Fishery Science, Environmental Science
An athlete from an early age, Kristen Omori participated in soccer, skiing, swimming and gymnastics. She started gymnastics when she was only five years old and continued to become a fierce competitor. Her parents instilled the importance of academics at an early age and she learned to balance sports and school, a lesson which has been helpful through her educational career at the University of Washington.
Kristen participated in various community service activities throughout her UW career as part of her gymnastics team, including Relay for life and the Ravenna Eckstein Community Center Halloween festivity. She has also been a part of the Washington Student-Athlete Advisory Council (WSAAC).
As a student athlete Kristen has received multiple awards. During her freshman year she was elected as Huskies’ freshman of the year and was ranked in the top-20 in the Pac-10 and top-100 nationally on vault, beam and floor. She also received the Huskies’ academic award in her sophomore year. As a junior she earned second-team Pac-10 All-Academic honors for her work outside the gym and was also recognized with the Provost Award for Academic Excellence.
Kristen will graduate with majors in Aquatic and Fishery Science and Environmental Science in the fall 2009. Upon completion of her degree, she plans on gaining experience in the field of Marine Biology through jobs/internships for a year in various parts of the world and then returning to graduate school.
Gary D. Kimura Family Scholar
Born in Staten Island, New York, Michael Peralta is the youngest of four. When he was only a few months old, his family moved to Renton, Washington where he went to school and gained an educational experience that was culturally and ethnically diverse. His experiences at Renton High School turned his interests to social issues, educational access and environmentalism. In his junior year he became a part of an emerging University of Washington outreach program called the Dream Project, the goal of which is to improve educational access to college-bound students from low-income areas or first-generation college students.
Now a sophomore at the UW, Michael is involved in the Dream Project as a mentor for high school students that have aspirations of attending a four-year university. During the summer, Michael works with students from all over Washington State in the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR-UP), where students have the opportunity to experience student life at the UW for a week. He still has his environmental passion and is currently co-president of Earth Club, which focuses on planning and executing projects that encourage environmental stewardship and education on campus and in the UW community.
Michael plans to major in Informatics, the study of information and information technology and how it can be used to meet and enhance users’ needs. He would like to earn an Environmental Studies minor and continue his environmental education. Michael hopes that after graduation he can find a job that will combine his passions: environmentalism, technology and the sharing of information.
A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Adam Tanga moved to the Seattle area with his family when he was 10 years old. He lived in Washington D.C. during his first two years of college and moved back to the Northwest upon acceptance to the UW. A transfer student from George Mason University, Adam will graduate with his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in the spring of 2010, majoring in Political Science with a minor in French.
Since September 2008, Adam has been an active advocate for commuter students like himself as an ASUW Student Senator. Throughout the 2008-2009 academic year, Adam has volunteered as an in-class facilitator in English as a Second Language classes as part of the UW Language Exchange Program. He has also interned for UBS Wealth Management, one of the world’s leading financial firms. Never forgetting his roots, he intends to help underprivileged children in Hawaii through tutoring and mentoring.
Adam aspires to continue his education and considers an EOP scholarship invaluable in reaching his goals. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, he plans to study international development, specifically through the Peace Corps’ Master’s International Program. Applying to the Peace Corps and enrolling in a Master’s Degree program simultaneously will help Adam accomplish his academic goals while experiencing living and working with the people of the developing nations he seeks to serve. His ultimate career goal is to work at the U.S. Department of State and live around the world through the U.S. Foreign Service.
Robert T. and Nancy J. Knight Scholar
Interdisciplinary Visual Arts, American Indian Studies
Ashley is a senior pursuing a major in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts and American Indian Studies at the University of Washington. Overcoming great personal challenges, like losing a close loved one, has not stopped her from moving forward with her education. Her tenacity and dedication are inspirational to all.
While at the UW, Ashley had the opportunity to work as a Student Ambassador for the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity. This position enabled her to work with high school students and encourage them in their pursuit of higher education. In this role she helped coordinate Native American Student Days and worked closely with the Native American Recruiter. Ashley helped design some of the logos used for student outreach programs and worked as the “resident designer” for publications projects. In her Native American community Ashley served as a Senator and Vice President for First Nations, the UW American Indian/Alaska Native student group, whose mission is to promote higher education among Native peoples, share Native culture with the UW community, and strive for diversity.
Her love for her culture and community has helped her in selecting a career. Upon completion of her degree, Ashley aspires to be an art teacher. Through her experience as an intern at Nuuciq Spirit Camp in Alaska, where she worked with youth and elders in language and craft classes, she is confident that this is what she wants to do. She enjoys working with youth and feels that she can make a difference in their lives by becoming a teacher.
*Student Photos by Mary Levin, UW Photography