Cerritos College News Release, December 2009

Cerritos College Foundation Recognizes Outstanding Female Re-entry Students


Media Contact: Aya Abelon, Public Affairs; (562) 860-2451 ext.2287

Veronica Bloomfield (left) and Guadalupe Rios-RamirezNORWALK, Calif. - December 3, 2009 - The Cerritos College Foundation awarded scholarships to seven outstanding female re-entry students at its board meeting on Thursday, November 19.

The $500 E. Maude West Scholarship was presented to Guadalupe Rios-Ramirez of Buena Park. 

Helping others has always been her love.  Guadalupe organizes fundraisers for local soccer teams and teaches religious studies to fourth-graders at her church.  She also helps organize a semi-annual trip to Tijuana where she collects food, blankets and school supplies and makes and delivers baskets for needy families that live in the outskirts of Tijuana. 

Rios-Ramirez, who lost her 20 year job as a computer software analyst last year, decided to do something that will give her opportunities to interact and help others in a meaningful way. 

By caring for her parents and taking them to doctor’s appointments, Rios-Ramirez realized the need for good, caring and knowledgeable medical assistants. Going back to school was a financial burden for unemployed Rios-Ramirez, however, she find this an opportunity to learn and be trained in something that will make her feel good about herself. The scholarship helps relieve her stressful financial situation.

Flora Mae Gandolfo (left) and Isabelle MacielThe scholarship was established by long-time Artesia resident E. Maude West, who was renowned in the community for her charitable work and her commitment to women's issues and the pursuit of educational goals.

Isabelle Maciel, of Norwalk, was presented with the $750 Ellen Carver Re-Entry Scholarship.  Maciel is very active on and off campus participating in various activities and helping non-profit organizations raise funds through community events.   Her passion for assisting and supporting people who are in need led her to pursue a degree in sociology.

This scholarship was established by the Woman’s Club of Artesia-Cerritos in memory of the late club member Ellen Carver, who was very active in the community.

Another scholarship established by the Club is the Woman’s Club of Artesia-Cerritos Scholarship.  An award of $750 each was presented to Martha Aguilar of Norwalk, Chung-Mi Chang of Lakewood, and Lori Dominguez of Bellflower by the Club member Joanne Witt.  The scholarship is awarded to female students re-entering the academic world. 

Aguilar, a mother of three children, would love to make a positive impact on children’s education.  She plans to enroll in the Teacher TRAC program at Cerritos College next spring and transfer to California State University, Long Beach and work on her teaching credential. Upon successful completion of her education, she would like to teach elementary students.

Joanne Witt (left) and Chung-Mi ChangWhen Chang emigrated from Korea 25 years ago, she wanted to become a teacher.  With five children, she put her dream aside and focused on raising her children as a stay-at-home mother until she enrolled at Cerritos College in 2005 and studied child development.  Chang, who currently works part-time with children with special needs, is planning to take courses in Special Education to upgrade her credential.

Dominguez, a single mother of four, made the choice to go back to school and pursue a career in nursing because of her youngest two children – one is handicapped with cerebral palsy and one is autistic.  She wanted to learn all she can about these illnesses and to possibly help other children with similar disabilities.  Now Dominguez is an advocate for her children and shares the knowledge that she acquires through her education with other mothers that she meets in peer groups and study groups.

Dominguez got some more help with completing her educational goals with a $500 scholarship from the Norwalk Woman’s Club, which is also awarded to a female re-entry student.

Arlene Besst (left), Lori Dominguez (center) and Pat MartinDominguez is currently taking prerequisite classes for the nursing program.  She plans to transfer to Cal State Long Beach and obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing.  “With this plan in mind, I will continue my journey forward despite many obstacles that may cross my path,
she said.

The Golden Girls Scholarship is another scholarship that helps female re-entry students. Established last year by five women, the scholarship helps female re-entry students.  The “golden girls” decided that instead of spending money on birthday and Christmas gifts for one another they would use that money for a scholarship. 

The $700 scholarship was presented to Carmen Bramasco of Norwalk.  Bramasco knew she wanted to become a psychologist as a child.  However, like many others, her circumstances did not allow her to attend college immediately after high school.

She began working at a credit union thinking that was only a temporary job.  She worked her way up at the credit union and could afford college tuition, but with that came long hours which made it difficult for her to take classes.  Bramasco made a tough decision of leaving her job and begin full-time status at Cerritos College in 2007.

She was forced to support herself by drawing funds from her savings but does not regret her decision.  She plans to transfer to UC Berkley next year. Upon completing her bachelor’s in psychology, she will be applying for a graduate program and work on her degree as a counseling psychologist or clinical psychologist.  Her career goal is to go into private practice one day.

“This scholarship would make it possible for me to continue going forward towards my lifelong dream,” said Bramasco.


The Cerritos College Foundation, a non-profit organization, serves as a charitable vehicle for the community, individuals and alumni, to assist with financial support of Cerritos College. Visit the Foundation online at www.cerritos.edu/ccf.

Cerritos College serves as a comprehensive community college for southeastern Los Angeles County. Communities within the college’s district include Artesia, Bellflower, Cerritos, Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, La Mirada, Norwalk, and portions of Bell Gardens, Lakewood, Long Beach, Santa Fe Springs and South Gate. Cerritos College offers degrees and certificates in more than 180 areas of study in nine divisions. Annually, more than 1,200 students successfully complete their course of studies, and enrollment currently averages nearly 23,000 students. Visit Cerritos College online at http://www.cerritos.edu/.