'08 Phoenix Award Winners!
Contact: Norbert Tan, Executive Director
Ventura College Foundation
The winners and cities of residence of the 2008 Phoenix Scholarships are:
Ojai: Elizabeth Lira, Hana Randakova
Oxnard: Nicole Arimura, Michelle Frustere, Alma Garcia, Elizabeth Gollner, Julieta Lopez-Herrera, Mayre Sasso
Santa Barbara: Oboli Gurara
Santa Paula: Michelle Amy, Miguel Hernandez
Ventura: Patricia Bergman, Richard Betita, Patricia Faux, Michael Juarez, Melanie Morales, Monica Novoa, Kathy Okada, Jennifer Stuart
More about each winner:
Michelle Amey – Santa Paula
Michelle is a single mother with 4 children who works for Channel Islands Social Services, helping families with children who have special needs. Michelle started the RN program at Ventura College this semester. After graduating, she plans to become a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse, which has been a long time goal for her. She also plans on working towards to BSRN. Michelle was recently recognized as Respite Caregiver of the Year for her work with a local family.
Nichole Arimura – Oxnard
Nicole is a single mom with a three year old son. Nicole plans to successfully complete each one of the prerequisite courses for the Ventura College Nursing Program. She is the only person on her mother’s side of the family that has graduated from high school and the only one from the family to attend college.
Patricia Bergman – Ventura
Patricia’s career goal is to graduate from the Ventura College Nursing Program and obtain a BSN degree. Her long term goal is to achieve a doctorate degree. Patricia has volunteered as a piano accompanist for children’s choirs and high school choirs and retirement homes. She enjoys seeing the faces of people light up when she starts playing the piano.
Richard Betita - Ventura
It had been over six years since Richard had attended school and has been the most challenging things he had ever wanted to do in his life. Since enrolling at Ventura College, he has maintained a 4.0 gpa. Richard plans to earn his A.S. Degree in Addictive Disorder and to transfer to a four-year college to pursue a Bachelors Degree and become a Guidance Counselor. Richard has volunteered at the Ventura Avenue Senior Center in the Senior Nutrition Program, serving thirty to sixty seniors daily with hot lunches. Currently, he works as a Senior Resident Coordinator as a mentor and peer advisor informing clients on how to go back to school and resources that are available to them.
Patricia Faux – Ventura
When Patricia was 19, she purchased her first camera and fell in love with photography. She is a single parent with one child. Her goal is to obtain her AA in Photography and to continue her studies at a university. Patricia has volunteered taking photos of the Ventura College volleyball team. She has participated in the Ventura County Fair photo contests and received several awards.
Michelle Frustere - Oxnard
Michelle is a single parent with a three year old daughter. She is currently a Teacher’s Aide at the Ventura College Early Childhood Education & Development Center. She hopes to transfer to CSU Channel Islands to earn her bachelor’s in child development. After graduation, she plans to become an elementary school teacher.
ALMA GARCIA -Oxnard
Alma is a mother of four boys. She knew the best way to get a better job was to enroll in college so she began to take classes at night. Staying determined, she started the Ventura College Nursing Program this semester.
ELIZABETH GOLLNER – Oxnard
Elizabeth is currently enrolled in the Ventura College Nursing Program. Once she becomes a nurse, she hopes to become a clinical nursing instructor at Ventura College, as her nursing career is about making a positive contribution to our community.
OBOLI GURARA – Santa Barbara
Oboli is proud that he has returned to school after an 8 year absence. During the time he was not attending school, he was working full-time, married and supporting his family. He has made many sacrifices to return to school and complete his degree. Oboli plans to do his best by devoting his time to becoming a Pharmacist.
MIGUEL HERNANDEZ – Santa Paula
After Miguel graduated from high school, he joined the United States Marines. He was an infantry marine and was deployed to Fallujia, Iraq. While in Falluja, the city was in rubble and destruction. Residents returned to the area, building without having any knowledge of structures. It was then he realized how poor building codes and lack of knowledge could devastate a city and the lives of people. Miguel realized then that he wanted to make buildings that would not just provide shelter, but a safer home. After getting out of the Marine Corps, he knew he needed an education, so returning to school was his first priority. Miguel plans to become a Civil Engineer with an emphasis in structural engineering.
MICHAEL JUAREZ – Ventura
Michael is currently President of the Ventura College Psychology Club. His educational goal is to obtain his Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis on Addictive Disorder Studies because he sees a need not only for treatment purposes, but to have an impact and to change legislation and public perception of the way we view addition. He volunteers with The American Red Cross Ventura County Chapter, Amnesty International Ventura County, Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions and the Ventura County Adult Literacy Program.
ELIZABETH LIRA – Ojai
Elizabeth plans to transfer to CSU Northridge and work towards her Masters Degree in Psychology so she can become a therapist, working with teens and young adults. Being a single parent for the last twenty years, she has raised her two boys almost completely on her own. Juggling home, school and work on a daily basis is at times difficult. She has had the pleasure of sponsoring a support group for young people with friends or relative who had been struggling with alcohol, which was one of the most rewarding experiences she has ever had.
JULIETA LOPEZ-HERRERA – Oxnard
Julieta’s educational goals are to earn an Associate’s Degree in Nursing and pursue a career in the nursing field. As a child, she was stuck by a car and has a long hospital stay. She recalls how the doctors and nurses took care of her and how she wanted to become one of them. As soon as her two children were older, she returned to school at night to complete the prerequisites for the Ventura College Nursing Program. She began the program this Spring.
Melanie is a single parent raising two daughters. When her work schedule permits, she volunteers in her daughters’ classes. She is committed and determined to excel in the Ventura College Nursing Program and work in an operating room or emergency room. In 2006, she took a science class at Ventura College and continued to take classes so that she could accomplish the nursing program prerequisites. She plans to further her education with a degree in Health Administration or as a Nurse Practitioner. She has been actively involved with JDRF which helps fight against juvenile diabetes.
MONICA NOVOA – Ventura
Monica’s educational goal is to earn her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. She is currently a single parent raising a family. She has volunteered as a holiday food server for the Men’s Rescue Mission at Thanksgiving. Her counselor states, “Monica has not given up and after 7 years of working full time and attending college part-time, she has no plans of quitting now. She knows all too well the difficulty of making ends meet and it is critical for her to fulfill her dream”
KATHY OKADA – VENTURA
Kathy is currently enrolled in the Ventura College Advanced Human Services Certificate program, with hopes of obtaining her A.A. degree in Liberal Arts and A.S. degree in Social Sciences. Her goal is to work with at-risk youth and homeless children and their families. Kathy wants to be a good example for her daughters and a self-supporting single parent.
HANA RANDAKOVA – OJAI
Hana is currently enrolled in the Ventura College Nursing Program and will graduate in May 2009. She is a single parent with two sons. Her ultimate goal is to become a Certified Operating Room Nurse. Recently, she volunteered by administering flu shots at the annual Ojai Flu Shot Clinic. Hana has learned that helping others and her community is a rewarding experience and she plans to continue. Her instructor states, “Hana is very motivated; she has overcome English as a second language barrier and is one of our most successful students.”
MAYRE SASSO – OXNARD (pronounced Mayre)
Mayre is a single parent with four children. Ultimately, Mayre would like to become a Nurse Practioner. She has currently taken the prerequisites for the Ventura College Nursing Program and is on the waiting list. Marye works part-time and attends Ventura College full-time. She helps out at her children’s school programs.
JENNIFER STUART - VENTURA
Jennifer is a single parent with three daughters. She is currently enrolled in the Ventura College Nursing Program. When she completes the program, she plans to work at a hospital in her community. Her ultimate goal is to obtain her Masters Degree in Nursing.
More about the Ventura College Foundation:
The Ventura College Foundation was founded in 1985 and is dedicated to “the support and enhancement of the student educational experience at Ventura College through fundraising activities that provide scholarship to students, grants to staff and funds for special college projects.” With current assets in excess of $6 million, since 1985 the Foundation has contributed over $5 million to Ventura College and its students. Currently the foundation provides over $400,000 per year in scholarships and nearly $500,000 in program and capital support to Ventura College.
The Ventura College Foundation is made up of a volunteer board of 21 community leaders who serve as the Board of Directors, and hundreds of supporters, all of whom are dedicated to enhancing and sustaining the educational experience at Ventura College. Over its history, the Foundation has raised more than $12 million in private support for Ventura College. Though Ventura College receives state funding, that funding falls far short of actually covering the costs incurred in providing educational opportunities for over 13,500 students.
Donors to the Ventura College Foundation take pride in the fact that their gifts have helped to create a very special environment for learning that reflects the characteristics of our community and our students.
For additional information, contact Executive Director Norbert Tan at the Ventura College Foundation, (805) 654-6461, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Road, Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 289-6000