UC Santa Cruz welcomes 11 Pister Scholarship students to campus as 2009-10 school year begins

Margarita Gutierrez
Michael Tomblinson
Salvador Gonzalez
Maria Fernandez

--Program awards $20,000 grants each year to disadvantaged students from regional community colleges to provide opportunity to attend UCSC--

Eleven dedicated community college transfer students will attend UC Santa Cruz this fall as recipients of Karl S. Pister Leadership Opportunity Awards.

Each year in this unique program, a scholarship is awarded to one promising student from each of the community colleges in UCSC's regional area-providing the opportunity to transfer from community college to UC Santa Cruz, despite personal hardship and financial disadvantage.

Since its inception in 1993, nearly 200 transfer students from local community colleges have received $20,000 each through the Pister award program to complete their undergraduate education.

Established by Karl Pister, UCSC's sixth chancellor, the scholarship program honors students who have made a demonstrated commitment to assisting and improving the lives of others, who have overcome adverse socioeconomic circumstances, and who might not otherwise be able to attend UCSC for financial reasons.

"When I reflect on the impact of actions that I took as chancellor of UCSC, creation of the Leadership Opportunity Awards program stands out above all others," Pister observed at the 10th anniversary celebration of the program in 2003.

"Through their careers, these scholarship recipients have brought distinction to the program and to UCSC," Pister noted. "The many campus friends who contributed to the endowment that sustains the program have made a good investment in the future of California."

Over the years, Pister scholarship recipients have included aspiring biologists and teachers, immigrants from all over the world--including Hungary, Mexico, and Vietnam--single parents, and re-entry students. Many have had to overcome enormous obstacles to get an education, or have been the first in their family to attend college.

Candidates for the awards are nominated by the presidents of each of the regional community colleges, and recipients are selected by the UCSC chancellor in consultation with the Leadership Opportunity Awards Program Screening Committee.

The 2009 Pister Scholars:

Maria Fernandez-Ortiz, Cabrillo College

Joshua Steinberg, CaƱada College

Olena Mykhaylichenko, College of San Mateo

Yessenia Ramirez, De Anza College

Estrellita Munoz, Evergreen Valley College

Salvador Gonzalez, Foothill College

Leidy Hernandez, Hartnell College

Mark Helfenberger, Mission College

Michael Tomblinson, Monterey Peninsula College

Margarita Gutierrez, Skyline College

Carlos Olguin, West Valley College