2013 Celebration Scholarship Recipients

Bryan DosonoBryan Dosono
President’s Achievement Award
Honors Informatics (Human-Computer Interaction)

Bryan Dosono is a senior majoring in honors informatics. He was born and raised on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Eastern Washington and is the son of Filipino immigrants who came to the United States to provide a brighter future for their children. Even though they struggled financially with low-paying jobs, Bryan’s parents always encouraged his academic pursuits. Because of their support, he focused on school and avoided the gang violence that was prevalent in his neighborhood.

As a low-income and first-generation college student at the UW, Bryan has worked diligently to apply for scholarships and grants. He relies on financial aid to fund his education and has worked as many as three separate part-time jobs to afford living expenses. At the same time, he earns a 3.82 grade point average, conducts research, leads the Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity as chapter president and gives back as a peer mentor for the UW Honors Program. Along the way, he has participated in several OMAD programs.

Bryan’s frustration with the lack of technology access in his hometown inspired his interest in informatics. Through his classwork, research, internships and study abroad experiences, Bryan is focusing on how to address the digital divide that exists for underserved communities. He has presented his research at local and national symposiums, and along with the Information School’s Dr. Ricardo Gomez, has published work in a national journal. Through his participation in the Ellis Civic Fellowship program, Bryan taught immigrant and refugee families how to use computers and refurbished hundreds of secondhand computers that were sent to underserved villages abroad. He is also currently a student ambassador for Google.

Bryan will graduate in June and start a Ph.D. program in information science and technology at Syracuse University in the fall. His goal is to become the next United States Chief Information Officer so he can influence how information is disseminated to vulnerable populations and create opportunities through technology.


Michael FernandezMichael Fernandez
Wells Fargo Vice President’s Achievement Award
Architectural Studies & Construction Management

Michael Fernandez is a senior majoring in architectural studies and construction management. He is from Sumner, Washington and is married with four children. Michael worked in physical labor as a carpenter before deciding to follow his dream of becoming an architect. Following that dream meant returning to school while still acting as the sole provider for his young family.

Michael attended night school to earn his associate’s degree and continued his carpentry work during the day. He transferred to the UW and entered a program designed to condense two bachelor’s degrees into five years. Due to his academic demands, Michael is unable to work during the school year. Instead, his family is supported by their savings and financial aid until the summer when he returns to work. Things became even more difficult during his first year at the UW when he had major elbow surgery. Making study models and even typing seemed to be insurmountable challenges. Yet he persisted for a quicker than normal recovery and was able to resume his 48-hour work weeks the following summer.

Amidst the challenge of juggling school and providing for his family, Michael still spends time giving back. He has been a t-ball coach, Cub Scout leader, Boy Scout leader and a church youth activity leader. He currently helps with Cub Scouts, teaches a weekly Sunday school class and volunteers with a community outreach program. Michael is also gaining experience in his field, having served on the City of Sumner Design Commission and pursuing internships in architecture and construction management.

After he graduates next June, Michael plans to save money for graduate school. He is hopeful to find an employer that encourages and supports his education. Michael also wants to serve as a role model for other laborers and carpenters, both young and old, who dream of going back to school to pursue architecture, but don’t think they can.


Haneen Al-HassaniHaneen Al-Hassani
Del Rio Global Citizens Scholar
Human Centered Design & Engineering

Haneen’s goal is to obtain a master’s degree in business administration. She would like to work closely with machinery and technology to further advance society to greater heights.


Alina AleagaAlina Aleaga
Gary D. Kimura Family Scholar
Anthropology

Alina would like to get a Ph.D. in education and ultimately become a mentor and counselor for youth and students of color.


Jonathan AmosaJonathan Amosa
University of Washington Athletic Scholar
American Ethnic Studies

Jonathan’s long term goal is to work in the ministry, for a non-profit organization or in the community.


Kainen BellKainen Bell
Educational Opportunity Program Celebration Scholar
Business Administration & Social Welfare

Kainen would like to attend graduate school and then pursue a career in social work or business. He hopes to become the CEO of a large company or start his own therapy and social work practice.


Fredy CortezFredy Cortez
Friends of the Educational Opportunity Program Legacy Scholar
Biochemistry & Psychology

Fredy would like to attend medical school and possibly pursue a Ph.D. so he can work in medical research.


Shay DuprisShay Redhorse Dupris
Robert T. and Nancy J. Knight Scholar
American Indian Studies

After graduation, Shay would like to continue his work in environmental restoration and his participation in Klamath Tribal activities. Eventually he would like to attend graduate school.


Yuriana GarciaYuriana Garcia
Bank of America Scholar
Human Centered Design & Engineering

Yuriana would like to attend graduate school and work in a field that embodies her passion for community and technology.


Abdu IssaAbdu Issa
Dr. Millie Russell Scholar
Electrical Engineering

After graduation, Abdu plans to work in the public utility industry to support his family so his wife can continue her education, which she put on hold to take care of their two children.


Heebeen KimHeebeen Kim
Educational Opportunity Program Celebration Scholar
Biochemistry & Biology

Heeben would like to attend graduate school to study pharmacology.


Kylie KimbleKylie Kimble
Robert T. and Nancy J. Knight Scholar
Business (Accounting)

After graduation, Kylie plans to attend the UW’s Law School to study Indian law.


Kendall MorganKendall Morgan
Samuel E. Kelly Scholar
Informatics (Human-Computer Interaction)

Kendall intends to work in the software industry after graduation. He is passionate about computer science and how people process information. He also plans to pursue a master’s degree in computer science or human computer interaction.


Cynthia SimekhaCynthia Simekha
William P. and Ruth Gerberding/Early Identification Program Scholar
Public Health

Cynthia Simekha, a senior majoring in public heath, grew up in Kenya and came to the United States after graduating from high school. She attended Bellevue Community College before transferring to the University of Washington. Cynthia’s transition from a small community college to a large university was difficult. Her first quarter at the UW was especially challenging as she took on full responsibility for raising her younger siblings due to the passing of her mother.

Cynthia worked hard to get through that tough time. She relied upon financial aid, work study, loans and income from various jobs to cover her tuition and medical expenses, as well as provide for her family. Just as she was adjusting to her new life last summer, Cynthia lost her job. The financial hardship rendered her family nearly homeless. Not only was Cynthia responsible for her living expenses and those of her younger siblings here in the U.S., she also sent money to her family back in Africa for their basic needs. At the same, Cynthia had to undergo intensive medical care as a result of some serious ongoing health issues. Amidst all of these challenges and bolstered by advice and guidance from her professors and advisors, Cynthia has pushed through to excel in school and achieve her goals.

In her first year at the UW, Cynthia was named to the Dean’s List three times and received the High Scholar Award at the EOP spring reception. She is involved in several student organizations including the African Student Organization, the National Society of Black Engineers and the Global Health Corps. She has done internships with the UW Department of Global Health and the UW Global Center for the Integrated Health of Women, Adolescents and Children. She has conducted undergraduate research through the McNair Scholars program and will be conducting additional research this summer at Ohio State University through the Summer Research Opportunity Program.

After graduating next winter, Cynthia plans to go to graduate school and earn a Ph.D. in public health and public policy. She hopes to work in academics and research in the United States and Africa, so she can give back to her communities. She also dreams of starting an organization that mentors and provides support to children from underrepresented populations.


Avalon ValenciaAvalon Valencia
Lydia A. Gonzales Scholar
Public Health

Avalon Valencia, a junior majoring in public health from Sunnyside, Washington, has shown strength and perseverance through some difficult times. For many years, her family has struggled with issues caused by her mother’s abusive ex-husband. Since leaving her hometown to attend the UW, Avalon has continued to help them heal from their emotional and physical scars.

The last year has been especially hard. On the same day Avalon found out she was accepted into her major, she received some tragic news from home: her mother had been seriously assaulted. Avalon returned to Sunnyside and because of the circumstances, considered transferring schools to be closer to her family. It was a difficult decision, but Avalon chose to remain at the UW. She knew that in order to help her family, she must first help herself. Avalon came back to Seattle and worked two jobs to contribute to finances at home. However, she still struggled with the guilt of not being in Sunnyside. At a particularly low point, Avalon applied for this EOP scholarship. Receiving the award gives her reassurance that she made the right decision and alleviates one of her many burdens.

Today, Avalon is committed as ever to succeed in school and achieve her goals. Amidst her challenges, she still participates in student organizations and gives back to the community. As a lead ambassador for the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity’s Student Ambassador Program, Avalon helps high school students with the college admissions process. She also mentored students through the Yakima Valley Community College Upward Bound program. Her desire to help others reached a global scale last summer when she studied abroad in Ghana and worked with a team to promote awareness about Malaria. Avalon followed that with a study abroad trip to Ecuador where she was able to improve her Spanish language skills and cultivate her love of dance. This summer, she will travel to Italy to observe its health care system with a program through the School of Public Health.

After graduation, Avalon plans to pursue a master’s degree in social work or public health and continue promoting higher education to underrepresented communities. Ultimately she would like to help transform the lives of people who have been affected by public health issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, as well as the victims of domestic violence.


Tony VoTony Vo
Educational Opportunity Program Celebration Scholar
American Ethnic Studies, Nursing & Public Health

Tony plans to work as a registered nurse in an intensive care unit. Eventually he would like to become a travelling nurse so he can apply his skills through a global perspective.

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