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2022 Scholarship Recipients

About the Renaissance Society Scholarship program

The Renaissance Society Scholarship program began in 1993 with two $500 awards under the leadership of the late Doug Fulton and the late Lou Weintraub. 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.

For 2018, the board approved a special scholarship award, in memory of Lou Weintraub. He passed away in December 2017, one month shy of his 104th birthday. With a $25,000 gift from the estate of Doug and Gini Fulton in 2019, the Board established a seventh scholarship in honor of Doug, who with Lou Weintraub founded the Renaissance Scholarship program.

Since its inception in 1993 and through 2022, the Renaissance Society has given 114 students scholarships for a total of $248,000 in awards.

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 Sac State 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.

Your 2022 Recipients

You can meet the seven recipients and watch their videos at this recording of the May 10 Annual Meeting.

Here are the recipients’ bios:

Alyssa Lee

My name is Alyssa Lee and I am from El Dorado Hills, California. I am a sophomore and health science major, hoping to get into the nursing program in the Spring of 2023. I became interested in nursing since my grandparents and great-grandmas were always in and out of the hospitals due to a long history of diseases that runs in my family. Therefore, I was able to learn how to assist my family with their health issues which included diabetes, heart disease, and tuberculosis.

As a nurse, I would love to work with children and the elderly since I come from a big family which consists of these age groups. In the future, after some experience as a registered nurse, I would love to dream further and become Nurse Practitioner to further be able to serve the community. In my free time, I like to draw, go hiking around Folsom lake (since I live 2 minutes away), and play tag and board games with my 6 younger siblings. I am honored and thankful to the Renaissance Society for supporting my academic journey to my future career!

Kyle Nguyen

I am Kyle Nguyen and am currently a first-year undergraduate student at Sacramento State University. After the Fall of Saigon in 1975 my family fled their war-torn country to pursue a better life and immigrated to the United States of America. My family had sacrificed everything and left behind family, their country, comfort, all to provide a better future. I strive to excel in everything that I do, academics, extracurriculars, and work to not let their sacrifices be in vain. I have lived in the Sacramento area all my life and graduated from Pleasant Grove High School with honors while participating in Soul Purpose Dance Company, cross country, and track.

I am currently majoring in Computer Science and hope to use my education in it to develop and enhance technology that will aid others in their daily lives. In my free time I love to be a part of the community and serve the needy. I have been blessed with opportunities to volunteer and fundraise for organizations such as Key Club, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and Arnold Air Society. I am also a swim instructor at Sunshine Swim Center in Elk Grove, and love to teach members how to swim and be comfortable with aquatic activities. I sincerely thank the Renaissance Society for selecting me as one of the 2022 scholarship recipients.

Mohammad Shoaib Omari

My name is Mohammad Shoaib Omari, I was born in Kabul-Afghanistan. I have been raised in a bright and educated family. I have experienced many ups and downs in life; specifically, during the civil war in Afghanistan. It was a time and/or a situation that the only hope was to be alive. We were under bullets and rockets, but still I and my other siblings were not left in darkness of illiteracy.

Working for the American government to implement the USAID projects in Afghanistan, I could receive special immigrant visa and a chance to immigrate to the United States on Feb 2017. I came to the United States to escape the threats and live in a better situation. However, there have been more challenges and hard times to overcome. I didn’t expect my education, work experience, and knowledge could not benefit me here in the United States, but it was a bitter truth to accept that I had to start over again to get to my life goals. On one hand, I had to work and support my family since I am married and have four kids, but, on the other hand, I couldn’t find a job in the field I have experience and knowledge - except warehouse works or some other low-profile jobs. So, I decided to start college and then university here in the United States to get the job in which I am interested. Now, I have completed two associate degrees, business administration and accounting, and one taxation certificate. Moreover, I am heading to complete my bachelor’s degree in the fall 2022 – majoring in Finance and minoring in Real Estate and land affairs in the Sacramento State University. I am determined to complete my bachelors, get a job, do my MBA, and do a PhD in Economics or Finance, God welling. I hope one day I can achieve this goal, so I can serve humanity effectively and efficiently.

Quenton Pham

My name is Quenton Pham, and I am a sophomore at Sacramento State University. For the last two years, I have been completing prerequisites for the School of Nursing at Sacramento State. I hope to graduate within the next two years with my BS in Nursing and become a Registered Nurse. Of course, that means I am currently a full-time student: my cumulative GPA up to this point is a 3.93 through 92 accumulated credits. Health care has always appealed to me since it merges my passion for medicine and science with my drive to help others; but caring for the elderly was something that came to me relatively recently. Assisted living homes were my only options during the pandemic if I wanted to gain experience toward this field. Since then, I’ve really enjoyed my work and truly believe this is my niche. Through the height of the COVID 19 pandemic to the time of this writing, I have put in over 1800 hours of work as a caregiver and medication technician at the Commons at Elk Grove Senior Living. I specialize in memory care: Alzheimer’s and advanced dementia patients who require significant direct care. My ability to connect with the patients on an emotional level is my secret to success when providing the care that they need. Although it is difficult for them to formulate thoughts and control things that we take for granted, their emotional understanding remains. Thus, I want to capitalize on my abilities in order to create a system based on empathy and compassion, rather than revenue and exploitation. My vision of elderly health care will be successful and will undoubtably have a major impact on the community.

Although my life is quite busy and chaotic at times, I still indulge in a multitude of hobbies: I love digital art, music production and film production; I can play the guitar and piano; I love to cook a variety of foods, sometimes experimenting by fusing Asian foods with other cultures; and I am considered a gym rat ( Bench PR: 253 x 5, Squat PR: 315 x 5, Deadlift PR: 315 x 5, Power Clean PR: 185 x 5).

Liliana Serrano

The recipient of the Doug Fulton Scholarship.

My name is Liliana Serrano. I was born and raised in El Salvador by my loving and caring grandparents. I emigrated to the U.S when I was 14 and I currently live in San Leandro with my husband and my energetic one year old maltipoo, Coco. When I first arrived in the U.S, I had dreams but adapting to a new culture and learning a second language took most of my focus so I almost saw it impossible for me to be able to obtain a higher education.Through hard work and determination, I am proud to be a first-generation Latina student pursuing a career in Psychology.

This is my second semester at Sac State transferring from Chabot College. As a teenager who had just arrived in this country, I faced many emotional, psychological and financial hardships with my family so I started seeing a therapist who helped me through every process. This sparked an interest in me because although she did not “fix me”, she helped me learn to use the tools I needed to overcome every situation and provided me guidance and support. This led me to want to learn more about how development occurs, how personality forms, and how factors like society and culture impact our behavior.

As I started studying psychology, I found myself gaining a deeper understanding of the many influences that have impacted my own life and learning about myself. Psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung once said “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become”, and through my hardship, I chose to overcome and prepare for my future. After graduating with my bachelors, I plan to apply to graduate school to become a Marriage and Family Therapist. In the process, my hope is to seize every opportunity that comes my way.

Jasmine Vargas

I am Jasmine Vargas and am currently a junior here at Sacramento State as a Health Science major. I am a first-generation college student which has been such an accomplishment for me. Growing up, my family and I faced many financial and health-related hardships. My parents worked their hardest to allow me to be where I am today. I always wanted to work in the medical field, but my mother pushed me to achieve my goals and become a Registered Nurse.

My health occasionally hinders me from achieving my goals, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) as a teen and it has discouraged me from wanting to pursue anything in life because it is painful and disabling during flare-ups. JRA affected my health not only physically, but also mentally. After I began treatment and spoke with peers I realized that although I was diagnosed with JRA, it would not dictate what achievements I make.

I finished high school strong, and have been on the Dean's Honor List every semester since 2018 in college. I want to be a nurse that can help others who may be facing issues that lead to disability or chronic pain and encourage them that through the pain and the struggle there is light at the end of the tunnel. Working closely with older adults during Service Learning at the Cardiovascular Wellness Program at Sacramento State allowed me to learn the importance of being an advocate for older adults to ensure that their opinions are heard and the continuous care they receive is of good quality. Winning this scholarship means the world to me and I am so grateful for it. With this scholarship, it will give me reassurance that my tuition will be paid and if any additional materials are needed I will have the funds to pay for them. Housing has also been an issue for me these past couple of years and this will help me assure that my funds for school will be available in case of an emergency.

Christina Zumalt

My name is Christina Zumalt and I am a second year graduate student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Sac State. I first became interested in physical therapy as a high school senior who enjoyed playing soccer and volleyball. I followed my interests in the field of health and movement sciences by earning my Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. While earning my undergraduate degree, I worked as an aide in a physical therapy clinic where I was able to learn more about the profession and discover the positive impact physical therapists can make.

Since coming to Sac State, I have been welcomed into a community of faculty and students who share a passion for helping others. My time in this program has further ignited my desire to learn and challenged me to prioritize my mental health and friendships in addition to my academic pursuits. The generosity of the Renaissance Society will help ease the financial burden associated with tuition and allow me to focus on my upcoming clinical rotation where I will gain hands-on learning experience and develop the skills I need to help my patients.

2022 scholarship recipients
The 2022 Scholarship Recipients. Top (from left) Alyssa Lee, Kyle Nguyen. Middle: Mohammad Omari, Quenton Pham, Liliana Serrano. Bottom: Jasmine Vargas, Christina Zumalt.