2012 Celebration Scholarship Recipients
- Alfred and Marilyn Mus
- Bank of America
- Cesar Cauce Memorial
- Del Rio Environmental Studies
- Del Rio Global Citizens
- EOP Endowed Merit
- Emile Pitre Instructional Center Tutor
- Friends of the Educational Opportunity Program
- Gary D. Kimura Family
- George Newsome
- Glen and Dorothy Hurlburt
- Greg and Pam Sheridan
- J. Nathan Ward
- John W. and Marjorie L. Hall
- Kahl Family
- Ken LaFountaine
- Lee L. and Virginia Koolen Huntsman
- Ludwig Pick EOP
- Lydia A. Gonzales
- MacGowan Fund for Washington MESA
- Mark Cooper
- Millie Russell
- Nathaniel Miles
- Robert T. and Nancy J. Knight
- Roseanna Wabel McDermott for Study Abroad
- Ruth Kendle Family
- Samuel E. Kelly
- Scholar Athlete Award
- Teddy R. Miller
- Wells Fargo
- William P. & Ruth Gerberding
- Wygle Family
Samuel E. Kelly Scholar
Medical Anthropology & Global Health; Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology; Public Health
Tyler Adamson is a junior with a triple major in medical anthropology and global health; molecular, cellular and development biology; and public health. Tyler transferred to UW from Clark College in Vancouver, Wash., where he participated in the Running Start program. Despite working two jobs, he remains highly engaged in extracurricular activities. Education has always been his top priority, followed by his commitments to the community.
Tyler is a UW Leader, ASUW senator, member of the Health Equity Circle and the director of campus climate for the OMA&D Student Advisory Board. An avid volunteer, he also works at the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington, Harborview Medical Center and the Seattle Food Bank. Tyler has traveled around the world, participating in medical mission trips to Nicaragua, Europe and Mexico. He will be traveling to Tanzania this summer.
Tyler would like to become a medical doctor because of his passion for working with people and his desire to help in any way he can. He plans to get involved in the global health sector of politics and travel the world to assist HIV/AIDS patients in rural communities.
Robert T. and Nancy J. Knight Scholar
American Indian Studies, International Studies
Misha Averill is a sophomore double majoring in American Indian studies and international studies. She juggles schoolwork and community service activities with a highly competitive inline skating career, and does so with success.
Last summer, Misha participated in a job shadow with the Associates Council for the Accused, a law firm in Kent, Wash. She also works for the Puyallup School District as an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) tutor, mentoring and motivating students at Puyallup High School, where she attended. A national-caliber inline skater, Misha has been a member of Tiffany’s Speed Skating Team in Puyallup for 12 years. She is on the U.S. national team and placed 16th at the 2011 World Championships. Misha parlayed her success on the rink into giving back to her community. She is the president of a non-profit organization that helps Olympic hopefuls with the expenses associated with inline skating and provides a positive support system for Puyallup area tribal youth involved in the sport. She also volunteers a few days a week to coach junior team members.
Last fall, Misha was named a Mary Gates Leadership Scholar. She eventually plans to attend law school so she can serve as a lawyer for her Native American community including her tribe, Navajo Nation. Misha hopes to preserve and protect the future of the Navajo people and all Native Americans.
EOP Celebration Scholar
Philosophy, Art (Painting & Drawing)
Zerina Curevac is a junior pursuing a double degree in philosophy and art. A first-generation college student, Zerina’s family immigrated to the United States from Bosnia a few years ago. Her parents do not speak English so she is often called upon to translate for her family, in addition to taking on the role of caregiver and contributing to the household. Despite her challenges at home, Zerina remains committed to school and her participation in campus and community activities.
For the last three years, Zerina has worked as a graphics coordinator with OMA&D’s Ethnic Cultural Center. She is involved in several organizations including the Women’s Action Committee, Women’s Center, Student Health Consortium, Q Center and the development of the Balkan Student Union. Zerina was a writing tutor for the Dream Project College Weekend and served as a Dawg Daze captain. Active in student government, she served as the Presidential Proxy for the ASUW Judicial Committee and was a candidate for the ASUW Director of Policy and Procedures position. Zerina’s community service work includes helping transient teens and cleaning up neighborhoods.
Zerina plans to apply to law school during her senior year and become a lawyer focused on international human rights. Ideally, she would like to work on improving the infrastructure and policies of the United Nations.
President’s Achievement Award
Speech & Hearing Sciences, Pre-Medicine
Denise Della is a senior double majoring in speech and hearing sciences and pre-medicine. A first-generation college student, Denise’s life-long dream is to become a physician. Her three main passions are healthcare, culture and education for underrepresented individuals. She plans to become an activist and leader in her community, working to increase the number of Pacific Islander physicians in Hawaii, while reducing health care disparities.
Denise has participated in several research, internship and volunteer opportunities while remaining active on campus and excelling in her pre-med major. She served as a clinical research assistant at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, took part in the UW Howard Hughes Medical Institute Biology Fellows program, and participated in Yale’s Summer Medical Dental Education Program. Denise presented her work at various research symposiums including the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. She volunteered in the UW Speech and Hearing Science Department Infant Hearing Lab and served as a teaching assistant for the King County Juvenile Detention Center. In 2009, Denise traveled to Honduras with other pre-health students and professionals in the UW Global Medical Brigade to provide free health-care and conduct health education workshops. She also participated in OMA&D’s study abroad program to Rome, Italy. Denise is the president of the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students and is involved with the Health Equity Circle, OMA&D’s Student Advisory Board, Teach for America, Filipino American Student Association and the Polynesian Student Alliance.
A 2012 Mary Gates Leadership Scholar, Denise previously received an OMA&D Student Merit Award and the EOP Gerberding Merit Award. After graduating in June, she will join a new cohort of Teach for America in Hawaii, teaching math to middle and high school students. Denise eventually plans to attend medical school and become a family physician in her hometown of Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii.
Human Centered Design, Engineering
A junior majoring in human centered design and engineering, Elise Groves feels it is important to be involved on campus, gain research and internship experience, and give back to her community.
Elise’s participation in the ALVA Program allowed her to work at the Boeing Company during the summers before and after her freshman year at UW. She served as an interiors engineer the first summer, and during the second summer helped redesign a tool that is used in the 737 production line. Elise participated in undergraduate research through the STEM Bridge Program. She also designed an information kiosk to be used throughout campus, and presented the research on her project at a UW symposium.
Elise is an OMA&D Student Ambassador and would like to continue reaching out to underrepresented minority students after she graduates. She is the vice president of employer relations for the National Society of Black Engineers and helped organize a diversity career fair in January. Elise also serves on the advisory board for Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE), a role that allows her to take an active part in organizing seminars and workshops. She organized a Pre-College Initiative (PCI) day that welcomed high school students to campus and provided them with information about pursuing engineering degrees.
Elise is the recipient of several grants and scholarships including the Costco Diversity Scholarship, the Weyerhauser Scholarship and the Washington State Achiever’s Scholarship. After graduating, she would like gain experience in the technology field before pursuing a master’s degree in business.
William P. and Ruth Gerberding/Early Identification Program Scholar
A senior majoring in biology, Vicky Herrera’s lifelong dream of becoming a scientist brought her to the University of Washington. She read her first science book at the age of six and took it with her everywhere she went. Although her mother only graduated from high school and her father’s education ended at grade school, her family supported and encouraged her interest in academics.
Since arriving at UW, Vicky has made the most of her opportunities and excelled in her studies. She is a Mary Gates Research Scholar, a Jeffrey and Susan Brotman Diversity Scholar, a UW Undergraduate Research Leader and a Minority Health International Research Training Scholar. Vicky has conducted undergraduate research in the Horacio de la Iglesia Laboratory through the Amgen Scholars Program. Last summer, she conducted biomedical research in Spain, which led further into her current research on neurogenesis and cognition. Vicky is the founder and vice president of a pre-health organization for minority students at UW Bothell. She wanted to help students like herself so they have a place to go for questions about graduate or medical school.
Vicky relies on financial aid, grants and scholarships to fund her education. She would like to attend graduate school and become a scientist and professor. Vicky plans to dedicate her life to discovering cures to major illnesses, and in doing so, help others fulfill their own goals and dreams. She still carries a science book everywhere she goes, but is conducting her own experiments and research that may one day improve the lives of countless people.
Del Rio Global Citizens Scholar
Annah Mwendar is a sophomore majoring in international studies with a minor in political science. A member of the UW Honors Program, Annah’s commitment to community service and excellence in the classroom reflect her desire to “get out in the world and make a difference.” Her life passions and academic goals focus on human rights and international relations.
Annah pays her own tuition, taking out loans and saving every last penny from work. Scholarships and financial aid greatly assist her ability to afford college. Annah lives at home to cut costs and lend support to her family that greatly encourages her academic pursuits. Although it is difficult for her to balance service and scholastic commitments while being a full-time student and funding her education, she manages to excel.
Annah mentored students at Kent Meridian and Ingraham High Schools through the Dream Project, and is currently a high school lead at Foster High School. She is also a UW student-athlete academic tutor. Annah helped homeless youth at the U-District Youth Center and volunteered at Seattle’s World Affairs Council, setting up and participating in international political events. She works with the UW Student Philanthropy Council, an organization which partners with UW Advancement to secure private funding. She was selected as an ASUW Leader this year and is developing her own organization for educational equity in developing countries. Annah worked as a legal office assistant in the bankruptcy law offices of Jeffrey B. Wells during her freshman year. Last summer, she spent seven weeks in Nairobi, Kenya where she volunteered at Cheryl’s Children’s Home and Tuition Center, helping eighth grade students prepare for the national exam. The experience solidified her commitment to community and human service work.
Annah plans to attend law school after graduation. Her ultimate career goal is to work as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights or the head of the State Department’s Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
Millie Russell Scholar
Stephen Nganga is a sophomore majoring in biology with a minor in global health. Born in Kenya and fluent in four languages, he lived in various countries with his family before residing in the United States. Stephen was blessed with having access to great healthcare while growing up in Kenya, but saw many others who lacked that access. His experience led him to discover that his life purpose is to treat those who lack care around the world.
Since coming to the UW, Stephen has participated in a long list of research, internship, volunteer and enrichment opportunities. Described as one of the most driven students his academic advisor has worked with, Stephen has a passion for science and the ability to enhance the lives of others. Even as a high school student, he obtained a pharmacy assistant license and found an internship at a pharmacy in Moses Lake, Wash. Stephen received exposure to clinical and emergency care through his participation in the UW Summer Medical and Dental Program. For the last five years he has worked as a field research assistant in Central Washington, collecting and analyzing data on thousands of plants. This year, he also worked as a medical scribe for the Franciscan Health System. Active on campus, Stephen is involved in the Black Student Union, the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students, and intramural soccer and football.
As a freshman, Stephen was a two-time Dean’s list honoree and received an OMA&D student recognition award. He plans to pursue a career in medicine and become a traveling doctor to treat and educate underserved communities all over the world.
Mark Cooper Scholar
Law, Society, and Justice
Sandy Nguyen is a senior majoring in law, societies and justice with a minor in classical studies. At a young age, she and her sister were met with the challenge of raising the two young daughters of an older cousin who passed away unexpectedly. Despite the challenges of juggling school and her responsibilities as a guardian, Sandy maintains a high level of academic success and commitment to giving back.
When she attended Franklin High School in Seattle, Sandy was a member of the wrestling team. During her first two years at UW she remained with the team as a coach and became a mentor to many students. Sandy also worked with students as an intern for the UW Upward Bound program, helping freshmen from first-generation and low-income backgrounds navigate through their first year of college. She currently tutors inmates at a correctional facility as well.
As a Husky Promise student and Leadership 1000 Scholar, Sandy works part-time to help pay for school expenses. Her career goals have been inspired by her parents’ experience with the cultural and language barriers they experienced in the United States after fleeing from the Vietnam War. Due to their difficulty understanding employment rights and work place resources, Sandy herself is interested in becoming an advocate for immigrant worker rights. She works as a student assistant in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, a position that allowed her to understand the relationship between workers’ rights and their working conditions. She hopes to learn more about non-profit leadership to ultimately create a program that educates migrant workers and serves as a liaison for underrepresented groups merging into society.
Lydia A. Gonzales Scholar
Jessica Oscoy is a junior majoring in business administration. The first person in her family to graduate from high school and the first to attend college, Jessica’s parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico so that she and her siblings could enjoy a better life. She feels that she has the social responsibility to herself, her family and her community to become a well-educated person and give back to those in need.
Jessica remains dedicated to her studies and activities, despite challenges at home. She lives with her family in Federal Way, shares a room with two siblings and commutes 10-hours a week to UW. Last year during her mother’s battle with a serious illness, Jessica missed classes to attend doctor’s appointments and serve as a translator. A fund was established at her mother’s company that helped pay for food and rent, but as medical bills mounted, Jessica withdrew from one class and worked full-time to support her family. She took winter quarter off this year due to finances as well.
Jessica is committed to her work with the Latino/a Educational Achievement Project (LEAP), serving on its conference planning committee the last two years. She was an “Advocate” for the 2011 conference and was trained to speak to elected officials about educational policies. In this role, she had the opportunity ask Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire a question. Jessica is currently working with other LEAP members to create a policy strategy to introduce a bill in Washington that would provide state-need funding to all eligible students pursuing a higher education. She has also served as the multicultural officer with the Latino Student Union’s e-board, volunteers with OMA&D’s Successful Transition Program and serves as a junior counselor at La Cima Bilingual Leadership Camp.
After graduation, Jessica plans to continue her advocacy for the Latino community and serve as a positive role model for underrepresented minority students.
Gary D. Kimura Family Scholar
A junior majoring in microbiology, Alyssa-Cyre Oyadomari is devoted to her dream of teaching science. Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, Alyssa-Cyre has worked as a teacher’s aid in the Hawaii Health and Nutrition Program, grading papers and setting up demonstrations and equipment. She also volunteers during the week at Farrington Elementary School, working with fifth and sixth grade students and using art to supplement science classes.
Active on campus and in the community, Alyssa-Cyre is in her third year as a mellophone player in the Husky Marching Band. The experience has given her the opportunity to travel to various states and colleges, and take part in leadership activities. She is a member of the Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, participating in service projects and spreading music awareness throughout the community. Alyssa-Cyre also volunteers at Noel House, a shelter program for homeless women in Seattle, and participates in Relay for Life.
After graduation, Alyssa-Cyre plans to return to Hawaii and use the opportunity to focus on career experience and research training. She is hoping to work at the Hawaii State Cancer Research Center, the Hawaii Diagnostic Clinic or the University of Hawaii Microbiology Lab. Alyssa-Cyre also plans to give back by volunteering at her high school’s Summer Science Institute Program.
Jose Mario Pineda
Bank of America Scholar
Jose Mario Pineda is a junior double majoring in neurobiology and mathematics. Originally from the Philippines, Jose Mario came to the United States at the age of 16 and is dependent on student loans and scholarships to pay for college expenses. This EOP scholarship, in particular, motivates him to complete his education and assist other students from similar backgrounds.
Jose Mario is highly engaged in undergraduate research and has presented his work at regional, national and international conferences. He served as an undergraduate researcher at the Shou Lab in the Division of Basic Sciences at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Already reaching out to other students, Jose Mario worked as a research mentor, teaching assistant and tutor for the 2011 UW GenOm Project. He has spoken and contributed to seminars and sessions geared for high school students interested in research as well. Active on campus, he is involved in several student organizations including the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society, Neurobiology Club, UW Chapter of SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science), and the Filipino American Student Association.
Jose Mario is the recipient of several scholarships and awards including the Mary Gates Research Endowment, the 2011 Undergraduate Research Conference Travel Award and the 2011 Undergraduate Diversity at Evolution Travel Award. After graduation, he intends to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience and become a research scientist. He would ultimately like to contribute to increasing diversity in undergraduate research by forming a group that raises interest and provides education and outreach to underrepresented populations at the high school and undergraduate level. He also plans to actively recruit and mentor underrepresented minority students in his own lab.
Robert T. and Nancy J. Knight Scholar
American Indian Studies
A junior majoring in American Indian studies, Victoria Plumage is motivated to excel in school by her desire to help her Native American community in her future career.
Well on her way to accomplishing her goals, Victoria has an internship with the Seattle Indian Health Board. She also works at the Huchoosedah After School Program, tutoring and teaching cultural activities to elementary aged Native American and Alaskan Native students in the Seattle Public School District. She is active on campus as well, serving as the chair of the First Nations at UW 41st Annual Spring Powwow, the largest student-run event on campus. Victoria oversees the budget plan, works with fundraising and grant writing, and plans event logistics. She is an Ellis Civic Fellow, a four-year commitment through the Carlson Center which requires her to fulfill community service hours and register in a community service learning class each quarter.
Victoria depends on financial aid to fund her school expenses. After graduation, she plans to give back to her tribal community as a lawyer or teacher.
Alfred and Marilyn Mus Scholar
Elischa Sanders is a junior majoring in neurobiology. Dedicated to pursuing a career as a neurologist, he successfully juggles research opportunities with community service and campus activities.
During the summer before his freshman year at UW, Elischa participated in a research project on hernia repair with a general surgeon. He attended conferences and helped present research. Elischa co-authored an article that was published in the journal, Hernia, and shadowed the surgeon during procedures, cleaned instruments and stocked supplies for nurses. As a sophomore, he participated in the UW Summer Medical Dental Education Program, where he shadowed a psychiatrist and emergency room physician, and observed procedures at Harborview Medical Center and Group Health. This year, Elischa has done research with two different UW professors in the department of biology. He was awarded funding for his research by the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) and has been accepted to participate in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Exceptional Research Opportunity Program.
After his undergraduate career, Elischa intends to pursue his M.D. and Ph.D. in the field of neuroendocrinology or neurogenetics. His goal is to become a practicing neurologist who is still involved in academia and research. Ideally he would like to better understand the mechanisms that underlie diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Erica Chavez Santos
Wells Fargo Vice President’s Achievement Award
Erica Chavez Santos is sophomore majoring in neurobiology. A first-generation college student from a low-income background, Erica came to the UW from Pateros, a town of 600 people in north central Washington. Her parents have worked in agriculture from a young age and although unable to attend college themselves, have always supported her desire to pursue higher education. Erica is making the most of her opportunities at UW and plans to eventually return home as “Dr. Erica Chavez Santos” to serve as a voice for underserved families.
Erica is a College Assistance Migrant Program Scholar and serves as a peer mentor to help current freshmen navigate through their first year at UW. She also helped high school students prepare for college as an intern with the UW Disabilities, Opportunities, Networking and Technology Program. Erica discovered that helping improve healthcare in rural areas was her passion when she participated in an exploration seminar to India. She studied health issues and the local healthcare system, shadowing doctors and nurses in clinical areas of study. Erica has hands-on experience by working at Al Shifa, a free clinic at Casa Latina for underserved communities in Seattle. She has also received inspiration and support through her involvement with the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and TRiO Student Support Services for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She is a member of the Chicano Community for Medicine and Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-med honors society.
Erica relies on scholarships and financial aid to attend UW. She is a recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, the KFC Colonel’s Scholarship, the George Washington Foundational Scholarship and the Sea Mar Educational Scholarship. Recently accepted to the UW Howard Hughes Biology Fellows Program, Erica plans to attend medical school after graduation. She would like to become a physician and provide equal opportunities for all people seeking healthcare in rural communities.
FEOP Legacy Scholar
A junior majoring in anthropology, Sierra Stewart chooses to honor her family and the memory of her recently deceased grandmother by doing her best in academics and campus activities. A Husky Promise student, she relies on grants, loans and income from a campus job to cover her tuition costs.
Sierra is a member of several student organizations and currently serves as the president of the Black Student Union. In this role, she is making a concerted effort to reach out to black high school students in the Seattle area to provide them with information and resources about going to college. Sierra is active with the UW Sisterhood, and previously served as the secretary and treasurer. The group helped the First African Methodist Episcopal Church prepare food baskets during the holidays. Sierra is a co-host for the R.E.T.R.O. Revolutionary Poets open microphone performance that occurs on a monthly basis. She has also participated in community service projects with Impact/S.O.S. (Strengthening Our Salvation).
Last summer, Sierra traveled to Ghana with an OMA&D study abroad program. During the trip, she was involved in fieldwork for the Cheerful Hearts Foundation which gives scholarships to children who are not able to go to school for various reasons. Her experience in Ghana has inspired Sierra to join an organization like the Peace Corps after graduation and travel around the world to gain experience as an anthropologist. In the future, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in education.
UW Athletic Scholar
Greg Walker is a senior majoring in biology with a minor in math. A three-year letterwinner on the University of Washington football team, Greg has excelled in pre-medicine while juggling the demands of playing Division I athletics.
He is a two-time Dean’s list member and was named to the Pac-12 All-Academic first-team in 2011. During the last three seasons, Greg played in every game as a safety and key special teams performer. He was named team captain for three games as a senior, and was twice tabbed the Sports Radio KJR Most Outstanding Special Teams Player at the UW postseason banquet. Despite his rigorous schedule, Greg still finds time to give back to the community. He served as a mentor to four high school students through the UW Dream Project and volunteers at his church, working with two and three year-old children in the nursery.
After graduation, Greg plans to attend medical school and become an orthopedic surgeon. He shadowed Dr. Carol Teitz at the UW Sports Medicine Clinic to gain experience in his field. Greg’s father, a doctor as well, has served as his role model.
*Student Photos by Mary Levin, UW Photography