Santa Rosa Junior College Student Awarded Two Prestigious Scholarships

California Connects and MESA Participation Help Students Qualify For Important Educational Opportunities 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – April 12, 2013 – Santa Rosa Junior College student Zachary Zatkin-Gold received two scholarships from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at the Rochester Institute of Technology this month. Zachary attributes his success largely due to his participation with the California Connects and MESA Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) programs.

California Connects, which operates in partnership with the Foundation for California Community Colleges and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, provides Internet skills training to Community College MESA students at 35 Community Colleges. The students go on to train others in their communities, gaining valuable community service experience that makes them more competitive for paid internships and admittance into four-year universities later on.

Zachary shares that the scholarships were completely unexpected because he had not applied to them directly, but was chosen when he applied for admittance to NTID, where he will be pursuing a dual major in computer science and physics. Zachary received both a President’s Scholarship and a Merit Scholarship—a total of $17,500 in scholarship funds. “When I went back and looked at what I had put onto my application, a large majority of the extracurricular activities were through MESA. It really goes to show how much of a benefit being part of MESA has been, even when I didn't realize it!” said Zachary.

California Connects has helped thousands of students like Zachary to master valuable skills that contribute to student success.  Many MESA students are first-generation college students who wouldn’t otherwise have the time or financial means to participate in volunteer work or an unpaid internship—but these types of extracurricular activities are often necessary to qualify for the paid internships that begin their careers.

“These students have a lot on their plates: Part-time jobs, families, and challenging coursework in calculus, chemistry, and physics,” said California Connects Program Manager Daniel Gilbert Valencia. “California Connects provides them with an opportunity for community involvement that is infused directly into MESA model of tutoring and academic support services.”

Learn more about the statewide impact of California Connects here:

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