Scholarship Winners
Scholarship Recipient Maricela Cortes with
Scholarship Committee Co-Leaders Lou Weintraub (left) and Doug Fulton
Photo by Jeff Hendy


The Renaissance Society Scholarship program began in 1993 with two $500 awards. Over time, the amount grew to three $1,000 awards. In 2007, the Board of Directors increased the awards to three $1,500 scholarships. In 2011, they were scheduled to rise to four $2,000 scholarships. However, since Renaissance was celebrating its 25th anniversary, the board added another, for a total of five $2,000 scholarships.

For 2012, there were four scholarships of $2,000 each. That increased to five scholarships of $2,500 each, beginning in 2013. In 2015, scholarships grew to six of $3,000 each, the same for 2016 and 2017.

Originally, applicants were sought in fields related to gerontology, but that has been expanded to include other disciplines and graduate students have been added. In addition to CSUS requirements for scholarships, Renaissance requires a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 and an essay describing personal achievements, challenges, financial needs and, most importantly, how their field of study will be useful to Renaissance members.

Since 1993, Renaissance has given scholarships to 79 students for a total of $143,000.

Want to donate to the Scholarship Fund? Donations are tax-deductible. Make out your check to Renaissance Society, putting "Scholarship Fund" in the Notes. Send the check to Renaissance Society, CSU, Sacramento, 6000 J St., Sacramento, CA 95819-6074. Donations can be made in the memory of someone.

The 2017 Scholarship Recipients

Julie Garcia Christina Ibarra
Julie Garcia, Christina Ibarra
Clara Saguto Felicia Tafoya
Clara Saguto, Felicia Tafoya
Susanna Vazquez-Lugo
Susanna Vazquez-Lugo (Maricela Cortes is shown above)

Maricela Cortes is a graduate student in the College of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She grew up in poverty and credits her mother for instilling in her the need for education to beat the poverty cycle. The undergraduate College Assistance Migrant Program provided remedial English help and counseling. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor's in Speech-Language Pathology. She plans to intern at a Veterans hospital and apply for a Doctorate program in Neuroscience. Her GPA is 4.0.

Julie Garcia is an undergraduate majoring in Gerontology. She transferred from Cosumnes River College, where she was on the Dean's List. Originally from England, she is a single mother of three and a grandmother of four. Her goal after graduation is finding employment in the growing field of Gerontology. She is impressed with the Renaissance concept to remain active, stimulate the brain and enjoy associations with peers to avoid isolation and make life enjoyable. Her GPA is 3.86.

Christina Ibarra is an undergraduate in the College of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Divorce left her a single mom with two daughters to raise. A job in a special needs classroom convinced her this would be her field. She took American River College classes and was a tutor in chemistry and math before transferring to CSUS. She works as a manager for a printing company. She hopes to go to graduate school and get a Master's degree to become a licensed Speech Pathologist. Her GPA is 4.0.

Clara Saguto is a graduate student in Education, specializing in school counseling. She attended Santa Rosa Community College and transferred to UC Davis, where she graduated Cum Laude as a psychology and communication major. She played Division 1 soccer as a student athlete for UCD. Her plan after her Master's is to work at a high school as a counselor and establish an international exchange program for at-risk youth. Her exchange student experience in high school changed her life. Her GPA is 4.0.

Felicia Tafoya is an undergraduate student majoring in Gerontology. She graduated from community college with an Associates degree and program certificates in sexual health peer education and HIV/AIDS prevention counseling. After graduation, she plans to apply for a Master's in Nursing with a goal of being an infectious disease nurse with the Centers for Disease Control. She is also certified as a suicide prevention volunteer and tutors in chemistry and microbiology. Her GPA is 3.38.

Susanna Vazquez-Lugo is a undergraduate student in Nursing. The first of her family to attend college, she has been on the Dean's List every semester since 2014. She teaches medical Spanish to CSUS nursing students, has been a peer mentor for first-year students and is captain of an intramural soccer team. Her goal after graduation is working to hone her skills, then returning for a Master's of Nursing in Anesthesia. She would also like to work with Doctors Without Borders. Her GPA is 3.68.