Christopher Blake Leeper, Aaron Hansen and Irvin Calderon (left to right) recently learned from MSJC instructors Erik Ozolins, Christina Yamanaka and Nick Reeves that they were awarded the scholarship. The MSJC students were selected from a pool of more than 3,700 applicants nationwide.
"Irvin, Aaron and Christopher are incredibly active members of our Honors Enrichment Program and have made a tremendous impact on the college as a whole," said Ozolins. "They have worked very hard for this award and completely deserve it. I couldn't be more proud of them."
MSJC is only the second college in the Foundation’s 14-year history to have three students receive the award in two separate years, Ozolins said.
"I am thrilled Aaron, Irvin, and Christopher are recipients of this prestigious award," said Yamanaka. "Their academic accomplishments, leadership in the Honors Enrichment Program, and community involvement truly distinguish them as examples of student excellence. I look forward to what they will accomplish in the days ahead."
This year’s MJSC students follow in the footsteps of Amy Bartel, Shayla Esarey and Samuel Fall, honors students at MSJC, who received the scholarship in 2013. All three transferred to UC Berkeley.
The MSJC trio is among the 85 Scholars selected this year to receive the award. All three MSJC students are first-generation college students. They will each receive up to $30,000 a year for up to three years. The scholarship is intended to cover a significant share of the student’s educational expenses – including tuition, living expenses, books and required fees – for the final two to three years necessary to achieve a bachelor’s degree. Awards vary by individual, based on the cost of tuition as well as other grants or scholarships he or she may receive, according to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.
"This is an amazing accomplishment for the students and a rare distinction for any community college to have three students two years in a row to receive this honor," said MSJC Superintendent/President Dr. Roger Schultz. "Irvin, Aaron and Christopher are so deserving of this award and they were guided by an amazing pair of faculty members who support our students in the Honors Program. Erik Ozolins and Christina Yamanaka continue to help Mt. San Jacinto College students succeed and reach new academic heights."
Calderon, a Perris resident, plans on majoring in biological sciences and hopes to transfer to UC Berkeley. Hansen, of Sun City, plans to major in classical civilizations and hopes to be a historical archaeologist and university professor. He would like to transfer to UC Berkeley or UCLA.
Leeper, of Wildomar, is a senator on the MSJC Student Government Association and a member of Phi Theta Kappa. He plans on majoring in history and hopes to transfer to UCLA.
For more information on the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, visit www.jkcf.org.