Two Downey residents receive college scholarships

DOWNEY - The Cerritos College Foundation awarded eight student scholarships totaling $5,000 during its board meeting on Nov. 17, including awards to two Downey residents.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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

********** Published: December 15, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 35