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Features May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

The Gift of Scholarship
By Jade Griffin, ERC '03

Scholarships are often the lifelines that keep students in school. We profile six stellar scholarship students who are grateful for the opportunity to complete their UC San Diego degrees.

"James Avery is an actor who I've respected since I was a kid," says Bose, describing how he felt when he learned about the scholarship. "To students who have no idea how they will pay for their college education, a scholarship is amazing."

Scholarships are as old as universities themselves, and the list of renowned scholarship recipients is legion. They are humanity's way of giving forward, of assuring that the future will be placed in the secure hands of another generation. But scholarships are also a gracious nod to the past, a way of saying "thank you" to those generations who came before, to those who cared enough to shepherd us through our education. The gift of a scholarship is an expression of gratitude to all those California tax payers—the plumbers, office workers, nurses, bank tellers, bus drivers and many others—whose taxes ensured that UC San Diego students would receive one of the best educations in the world.

Those who give back by investing in the present generation are essentially reinvigorating that deep and inspiring bond of trust between generations.

And as the following profiles show, that investment is a worthy one.

California's per student funding has decreased dramatically over the last 20 years, but scholarships have helped many undergraduates achieve their goal of a world-class UC San Diego degree, by helping make higher education affordable and accessible.

Here are a few stories about our scholarship recipients—the next generation of UC San Diego alumni.

Brian Bose, Warren '14

Some would say that Brian Bose is destined to be a star. He began his college journey by chronicling his decision to attend UC San Diego in The New York Times. In his blog, Bose candidly revealed obstacles he had to overcome. "One of the many fine things my mother has passed on to me is the instinct to push forward," he wrote. "She had to. Six months before I was born, my Nigerian father left my mother and me."

Today, as a UC San Diego student with dreams of performing on Broadway and winning Tony Awards, Bose has pushed himself to take full advantage of all that the campus has to offer. The theatre and dance major has performed in several campus shows, including Winterworks, Wintertime and a graduate production of Joe Turner's Come and Gone.

"My biggest concern is that I don't have enough time to do everything that I want to do here," says Bose. So, he was thrilled to learn that he was the recipient of the James Avery Scholarship, which has helped him focus on his college experience, rather than worrying about finances. A scholarship recipient himself, Avery, Marshall '76, forged a thriving career in Hollywood, with roles in dozens of films and television shows, including his beloved portrayal as Uncle Phil on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

"James Avery is an actor who I've respected since I was a kid," says Bose, describing how he felt when he learned about the scholarship. "To students who have no idea how they will pay for their college education, a scholarship is amazing."

Meghan Hansen, Muir '14

Meghan Hansen has always held herself to high standards. A transfer student who graduated from Mira Costa Community College in the top 5 percent of her class, Hansen is now on her way to earning her bachelor's degree in communication at UC San Diego. She aspires to be a reporter or producer in television news, with the goal of bringing awareness to people in need. Someday, she also hopes to be able to start a foundation that helps children find organ donors.

Hansen grew up in a single-parent family, and she credits her mother with raising her to be compassionate. She manages to find time between classes to translate that passion into reality by volunteering with charities that include the Boys and Girls Club; the Red Cross; It's Up to Us, San Diego; and The Country Friends, a nonprofit dedicated to providing services to women, children and the elderly. "I believe that the most important thing you can do in life is to make a difference in another life," says Hansen.

Hansen received the Engelhorn Family Scholarship, which was established by Sheldon Engelhorn, Revelle '72, and his wife, Susan, to support UC San Diego students who have transferred from community college. According to Hansen, the scholarship has helped her devote her time to her classes and use her education to enhance the lives of others.

Debbie Leung, Marshall '13

Debbie Leung is passionate about living her life in a way that helps protect the planet, using public transit and limiting her consumption of natural resources as much as possible. It's no surprise that Leung is majoring in urban studies and planning, and minoring in environmental studies, with the goal of pursuing a career in sustainable planning.

Thanks to the Chris Borton Memorial Scholarship, Leung was able to study abroad last year in Copenhagen, Denmark—one of the world's leaders in sustainable urban planning. She participated in the Sustainability for Europe Program, taking urban studies and architecture classes, and was able to travel to other countries in the European Union as well.

"This experience gave me a wonderful chance to explore the field of sustainable urban planning in a completely new context," says Leung. "I became enthralled with the prevailing use of public transportation in Europe."

When she returned, Leung was able to leverage her experience and interest into a transportation internship at the Compass Card Program at SANDAG.

The Chris Borton Memorial Scholarship was established in memory of alumnus Chris Borton, Warren '88. Borton had a love for travel throughout his life and spent a year studying in Germany during his time as a UC San Diego student. The scholarship annually supports UC San Diego students—like Leung—who study abroad.

Indira Esparza, Marshall '15

Indira Esparza first attended the UC San Diego campus at age 13. She started as a student of the Preuss School UCSD, a charter middle and high school on the University campus for motivated, low-income students whose parents have not graduated from college. She was thrilled when she learned she would be able to continue her journey at UC San Diego, this time as an undergraduate.

"Being able to continue at UCSD has been quite a blessing and has allowed me to pursue something that makes me happy," says Esparza, who just finished her freshman year. "I am having a fantastic time here and everyday is a learning experience for me."

The political science major spent her first year on campus in the Thurgood Marshall College residential halls. In between her studies, Esparza works with the UC San Diego Men's Lacrosse team, helping track team statistics and times. She has also modeled and has a passion for fashion and photography. A recipient of the Hugh "Bud" Mehan Scholarship, Esparza plans to attend law school to become an immigration attorney and law professor.

Peggy Ip, Muir '14

Peggy Ip longs to improve the way we live and to find a balance between development and nature. She is already helping to make a positive impact on people around the world.

An environmental engineering major, Ip is actively involved in the UC San Diego chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World, a non-profit student organization that encourages people to live sustainable lifestyles. This year, a group of students will travel to Thailand and install infrastructure that will provide clean water and energy for villages. Ip flew to Thailand earlier this year to gather information about the people, conditions and resources around these villages, a vital step in the project. She would not have had the funds or time to do this, had it not been for her Chancellor's Scholarship.

"The scholarship support that I have received has helped me so much," says Ip. "Rather than having to get a part-time job, I've been able to concentrate on my studies. The support has also inspired me to give back and do something for others."
In the future, Ip hopes to use her education in engineering to produce renewable energy sources and help preserve the Earth's water supply.

Nathan Murphy, ERC '13

An entrepreneur at heart, Nathan Murphy always dreamed of owning his own successful business. Recently, the fourth year undergraduate decided that he didn't need to wait until after graduation to begin building that dream.

Murphy majored in visual arts with a minor in business from the Rady School of Management, while also working as a staff member in the UC San Diego Recreation department. He is using the skills and experience he has gained at UC San Diego to establish his own graphic design and media promotion company, TMDA San Diego (tmdasd.com). The upstart agency that specializes in providing businesses with multimedia and website solutions already boasts numerous clients, including Hilton Hotels and several law firms.

Still, Murphy is making the most of his time on campus. A recipient of the Darcy and Robert Bingham Scholarship, Murphy has played on the UC San Diego Tritons men's basketball team, and currently serves as both a resident advisor for the International House and as an assistant director of UC San Diego's Knock Around summer camp.

"Scholarship donors, like the Binghams, are silent heroes," says Murphy, who plans to give back to student scholarships one day. "In a world with so much negativity, these generous individuals are investing in our future—without asking for anything in return."

Scholarships Make The Difference

At UC San Diego, our undergraduates are the leaders and innovators of tomorrow. But with only 7 percent of our funding coming from the State of California, UC San Diego is challenged to offer enough scholarships that ensure access and affordability for promising students from all backgrounds. Currently 65 percent of our undergraduates have financial need.

As alumni, we can all help. Gifts of any amount to scholarships help ensure that motivated students have access to the world-class education we received —an education that will allow them to pursue their hopes and dreams.

Learn more about supporting scholarships by visiting: studentsupport.ucsd.edu.

Jade Griffin, ERC '03, is a writer in the communications and public affairs office at UC San Diego.