Scholarship Winners
The 2015 Scholarship Recipients
Bottom, from left, Manuel Meza, Aleia Van Dyke, Yekatrina Shemyakin
Top, Oksana Rose, Christina Derebenskiy, Bekalu Amari
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. This year, there are six of $3,000 each.

Originally, applicants were sought in fields related to gerontology, but that has been expanded to include other disciplines. In 2015, the Scholarship Committee had 121 applicants from many different departments. The committee had a difficult taks choosing from among so many outstanding, deserving students.

Since 1993, Renaissance has given scholarships to 67 students.

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 2015 Scholarship Recipients

Bekalu Amare Christina Derebenskiy
Bekalu Amare, Christina Derebenskiy
Manuel Meza Oksana Rose
Manuel Meza, Oksana Rose
Yekatrina Shemyakin Aleia Van Dyke
Yekatrina Shemyakin, Aleia Van Dyke

Bekalu Amare emigrated from Ethiopia in 2009, a teenager without family or friends. Working two jobs and learning English, he enrolled in community college in Santa Rosa, receiving an associate degree in science and health. He is a third-semester student in CSUS's School of Nursing. He ultimately wants to become a nurse practitioner and earn a doctorate. His GPA is 3.91.

Christina Derebenskiy is studying Speech and Pathology. After graduation in 2016, she plans to apply for the master's program in Speech, Pathology and Audiology. She is a student assistant in the campus Testing Center for students with disabilities and volunteers with the Head Trauma Support Project of Sacramento. She also is a disc jockey for the CSUS radio station, plays bass clarinet in the Concert Band and competes in intercollegiate rock climbing. Her GPA is 3.84.

Manuel Meza graduated from Sacramento State in 2013 with a degree in Kinesiology and is now in the doctoral program in Physical Therapy, planning to graduate in 2016. His goal is a residency program in orthopedics or neurology. He came from a family of nine; he was driven to show his five younger siblings that hard work pays off and that knowlege can have a positive effect on their lives. His GPA is 4.0.

Oksana Rose emigrated from Uzbekistan 12 years ago. She has earned three associate degrees from Sierra College, completed one semester of Nursing at Sacramento City College and is a Certified Pharmacy Technician. She is working on a bachelor's degree in Gerontology at CSUS. She feels strongly that her parents, who died in Uzbekistan after she left, would be alive if they had the health care this country has. She wants to work for a government agency concerned with issues affecting retirement-age people. Her GPA is 3.98.

Yekatrina Shemyakin is a graduate student in Speech Pathology. Her family emigrated from Russia, where Christians were denied high school diplomas and higher education. When she graduated from high school here, she had three jobs. Working with children with communication limitations led her into the Speech Pathology program. She has volunteered with senior centers and grade school children. Her GPA is 3.82.

Aleia Van Dyke graduated from UC Davis in 2009 with a Sociology degree and was awarded the Outstanding Research in Sociology award. She is pursuing her master's in Social Work and a Pupil Personnel Services Credential and wants to work in schools, where there is a growing demand for social workers. She has volunteered to help HIV-positive young mothers in Belize and homeless teens, adults and seniors with a mobile street team in San Francisco. Her GPA is 4.0.