Stanislaus State hosted a luncheon on campus on Friday, Nov. 4 to honor the recipients of this year’s Mary Stuart Rogers Scholarship, including 14 undergraduate students and two teaching credential students. The students were recognized for their outstanding academic performance, dedication to personal growth and desire to serve others.
More than 550 students have become Rogers Scholars since the program was founded 25 years ago. The program awards scholarships of $3,000 to undergraduates and $3,500 to students in teaching credential programs at Stanislaus State.
Among this year’s recipients are students who have not only demonstrated academic excellence, but have done so while showing strength and resilience in overcoming significant challenges. Here are just a few examples of their stories:
- Terra Edwood, a single mom at 14 and now a mother of three sons, managed to graduate with honors from high school in Stockton and begin her college career at UC Berkeley. Personal challenges caused her to drop out of school. She persevered and eventually enrolled at San Joaquin Delta College, then transferred to Stan State. Now a top student in both history and psychology, she aims to earn her doctorate in psychology.
- Jamal Ferguson says he gave up on himself in high school, beaten-down by poverty’s pressure, while growing up in Oakland. He dropped out of high school but picked himself up and enrolled at Laney College. Even with his new-found interest in education, his first trip to the rural, park-like Stan State campus was an eye-opening experience. His ultimate goal is to earn his master’s degree and become a certified urban planner, then return to Oakland to help develop neighborhoods into economically stable communities.
- Raby Soonyoung was born into a poor family in South Korea and suffered abuse until she ran away at the age of 15, eventually earning enough money to come to the United States. She learned English to survive, earned her GED on the eighth try and enrolled at Modesto Junior College. She gained confidence from her academic success at MJC and is a dean’s list student at Stanislaus State, studying psychology and mathematics. Her goal is to become a psychologist because, in her words, “Everybody deserves to be happy and to have hope like I do now.”
- Laura Cortez is entering Stan State’s credential program with the goal of becoming a high school teacher, and has plans to obtain a master’s degree to teach at the college level. As a child of farm workers, she understands the difficulties of moving from school to school, and already is giving back — among her multiple volunteer duties has been working as a one-on-one mentor for migrant students.
“This award has made a huge difference in my education,” said Cortez, a second year Rogers Scholarship recipient. “It has impacted my life and my family, and because my parents are farm workers it makes it a challenge to send me to school. As a student teacher, I can serve as an example and hopefully an inspiration for my students. I am going to show this award to them.”
At Friday’s luncheon, donor John S. Rogers, president of the Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation, and his daughter Janet Rogers congratulated each of the scholarship recipients. Since being founded by the late Mary Stuart Rogers, the scholarship program has awarded more than $2.9 million to Stanislaus State students. The Rogers family and the Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation have been strong supporters of Stanislaus State over the years, with gifts that funded the Mary Stuart Rogers Educational Services Gateway Building and the John Stuart Rogers Faculty Development Center, where the Rogers Scholars luncheon was held.
This year’s undergraduate recipients are: Paul Acevedo, Turlock; David Bishel, Turlock; Prince Carnecer, Stockton; Brittany Davis, Modesto; Terra Edwood, Stockton; Jamal Ferguson, Berkeley; Iris Guerra, Patterson; Bethany Hammond, Modesto; Ryan Jackson, Hickman; Evan Lung, Modesto; Alyssa Quevedo, Modesto; Soonyoung Raby, Modesto; Ciera Soliz, Tracy; and Sharill Youkhaneh, Modesto.
Recipients from the teaching credential program are: Laura Cortez, Hughson; and Julie Eitelgeorge, Riverbank.