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Impact on Students

Michael Crook, McGeorge School of Law, Class of 2013

Student Scholarships
Part of what makes Pacific such a special place is the uniqueness of its student body, which includes men and women from 26 states, 14 countries and a multitude of socioeconomic, ethnic and religious backgrounds.  To maintain that prized diversity, Pacific awards generous scholarships and financial aid to deserving students. In 2008 - 2009, for instance, more than 80 percent of the University's undergraduate students received financial assistance, with Pacific awarding scholarships and other aid totaling $11.2 million. In many ways, scholarships are the University's lifeblood.

Elizabeth Youngberg,Powell Scholar, Class of 2012

Sara Ruiz - Dreams Coming True
Sara Ruiz To help pay the bills, Pacific junior Sara Ruiz '12 began working in her uncle's grocery store at age 14. While other teenagers went off shopping to the mall, she bagged groceries and stocked shelves. Sara, now 20, studied hard with the goal of becoming the first in her family to go to college. Although she graduated as her high school's valedictorian and homecoming queen, Sara expected to attend a junior college or state university. That was all she could afford.

At the suggestion of a guidance counselor, Sara applied to Pacific and became the recipient of The Armando B. Flores Family Endowed Scholarship. She and the University have benefited greatly from her good fortune. An education major with a 3.96 GPA, Sara tutors elementary school students in reading, writing and arithmetic; serves as the current president of the Benerd School of Education Student Association; and is a member of the academic honors societies Alpha Epsilon Lambda and Kappa Delta Epsilon.

"My scholarship has changed my life and helped me realize my potential," says Sara, who plans to become an elementary school teacher. "I'm becoming a role model for kids in my community and showing them that you can accomplish your dreams no matter what obstacles there are in your life. I am so grateful to Pacific."

Sara Ruiz, Armando B. Flores Scholarship recipient, Class of 2012 Brianna Juhrend

Brianna Juhrend - Saving the World
Brianna Juhrend '13 has an abiding interest in developing clean water supplies for the Third World. At Pacific, she has studied aquatic chemistry and undertaken novel research on waste-to-energy projects.

A civil engineering major with an emphasis in environmental engineering, this distinguished Powell Scholar was recently selected as one of 15 college students and young environmental professionals from around the world for the highly competitive Tahoe Baikal Institute Summer Exchange Experience. Brianna spent eight weeks this summer with other environmental experts from the United States, Russia and Mongolia studying watershed protection and sustainable development at Lake Tahoe, Calif., and Lake Baikal in Siberia. "Being a Powell Scholar," Brianna says, "has given me the resources and support to push myself beyond what I even thought I was capable of."

 Jose Hernandez - From Stockton to Space

It's a long way from the hot, dusty fields of San Joaquin Valley to the space shuttle Discovery. But former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez '84 made that unlikely journey thanks partly to Pacific's Community Involvement Program.

Growing up the son of migrant farm workers, Jose, now 48, remembers moving throughout north San Joaquin Valley as his parents followed the seasonal crops. He spent summers and weekends alongside his mother and father, performing backbreaking labor under a scorching sun.

Inspired by watching on television Neil Armstrong 1969's moonwalk, young Jose dreamed of one day becoming an astronaut himself, a goal his parents nurtured. His later academic success notwithstanding,  Jose worried that his family's modest means would make it impossible for him to attend college. Then he learned about CIP.Jose Hernandez

This pioneering program allowed Jose to attend Pacific, where he excelled in engineering. Looking back, he believes CIP shaped his life. "We had a  one-week retreat before school started with empowering speakers that helped raise our self-esteem and confidence so we could succeed," says Jose, who graduated in 1984. "Coming to the CIP office felt like coming home on campus."

The tenacity that brought Jose to Pacific eventually led him to NASA, which accepted him after 11 rejections. In 2009, Jose blasted off into space on  two-week mission that involved transporting material from space shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station. Mission accomplished.

Today, Jose serves as a Pacific Regent. Through his example and words, he encourages other talented low-income students to come to Pacific to change their lives, just as CIP allowed him to do all those years ago.