Cerritos College Foundation awards outstanding students with scholarships
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 8, 2011
Media Contact:Aya Abelon, Public Affairs; (562) 653-7878
NORWALK, Calif. - December 8, 2011 - The Cerritos College Foundation awarded eight student scholarships totaling $5,000 during its board meeting on Thursday, November 17.
The $500 John Moore First Step Scholarship was presented by Moore to Beatriz Valencia of Maywood. The scholarship was established by John Moore, a now-retired 19-year member of the Board, to help first semester college students who show promise of succeeding.
Beatriz Valencia graduated from Bell High School in June and is completing her first semester at Cerritos College. She is the first person in her family to attend college and would like to transfer to UCLA to pursue a dental degree with a specialty in orthodontics.
The $500 Robert W. Collins Scholarship for Administration of Justice Students was presented to Patricia Torres-Akeo of Long Beach. The scholarship was established in memory of Robert W. Collins, father of administration of justice faculty member John Collins. Robert Collins was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, who rose through the ranks to become chief of police for the City of Monterey Park.
Patricia Torres-Akeo is pursuing a double major in social & behavioral science and administration of justice. As a young widow, Torres-Akeo is raising her 11-year-old daughter and strives to provide her with every opportunity possible. She plans on transferring to either Cal State Long Beach or Cal State Los Angeles and pursue a career in law enforcement.
The Alice Wang Scholarship, an award of $500, was presented to Gracie Terry of Norwalk. Established by J.P. Wang, Foundation board member and owner of GST, in honor of his wife Alice Wang, the scholarship recognizes a single mother majoring in child development.
The mother of two boys, Gracie Terry returned to school in the fall of 2009. She decided to pursue a degree in child development because she wanted to have a positive impact on the lives of children. She plans on completing her associate degree at Cerritos College and then transferring to Cal State Long Beach to pursue her bachelor's degree.
The $1,000 Jean O. Michael Scholarship was presented to Jessica Barboza of Norwalk. The scholarship was established in honor of Jean Michael, wife of retired Cerritos College President Dr. Wilford Michael, by her daughter and son-in-law. The scholarship is for a re-entry woman who is majoring in business.
Jessica Barboza has overcome numerous obstacles in life. She is raising her six-year-old son as a single mom, working full-time and attending Cerritos College full-time. Barboza has always been interested in business and is pursuing her degree with an emphasis in finance. She is a member of the Scholars Honors Program and plans on transferring to a four-year university to pursue her bachelor's degree.
The newly established $500 Adrienne Cheung Dong Memorial Scholarship was presented to James Hofstra of Downey. The scholarship was established to provide assistance to students with disabilities who graduated from a Downey Unified School District high school and attend Cerritos College. It honors Dong's many years of service to both the Downey Unified School District and the Disabled Student Programs and Services at Cerritos College.
James Hofstra just recently graduated from Downey High School, immediately enrolled in summer session and is completing his first full-time semester at Cerritos College. Although Hofstra was diagnosed with autism at the age of four, with the support of his family and educators in the Downey Unified School District, he graduated from high school 18th in his class of 905 students with a GPA of 4.25. He has always had a fascination with computers and is pursuing his degree in computer science and would like to work as a computer software engineer.
The Foundation also awarded the Cheryl A. Epple Memorial Scholarship to Isela Cuahutle and Zanjbeel Mahmood. Each student received a check for $1,000.
Terri McCone-Williams, sister of the late Cerritos College Trustee Cheryl Epple, presented the scholarships to the recipients.
The scholarship was established in 2004 by Epple's family to honor her and recognize students who are committed to service in the community.
Isela Cuahutle, of La Mirada, returned to school in the spring of 2010 to pursue her associate degree in paralegal studies. She is a single mother of six and wanted to give back to her community after her own experiences with domestic violence. She has volunteered at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles for the last two years as well as the Angel Step Inn, a domestic violence shelter. She plans to continue her volunteer work once she becomes a paralegal and will soon begin volunteering at the Norwalk Court Self-Help Legal Center.
Zanjbeel Mahmood, of Downey, moved to the United States last year in order to escape the social and religious oppression in her home country of Pakistan. In 2004, her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia which sparked her interest in psychology. Mahmood plans on completing her associate degree at Cerritos College and working her way up to a Ph.D. or M.D. program in order to pursue a career in the mental health field. She spends many hours serving others while volunteering at Metropolitan State Hospital as well as a senior care facility in Downey. She is an active member of the Psychology Club and Psi Beta Honor Society.
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, LaMirada, 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 23,000 students. Visit Cerritos College online at http://www.cerritos.edu/.