Scholarship Winners
The seven 2019 Renaissance Scholarship recipients, flanked by Scholarship Committee co-chairs Phyllis Mills and Barbara Davis-Lyman:
(from left) Kennedy Wilson, Dante Khachadourian, Andrea Galvan, Lily Young, Natalie Schneider, Allison Brown, Summer Khaleq
Photo by Ruth-Marie Chambers

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 seventh scholarship award, in memory of Lou Weintraub. He passed away in December 2017, one month shy of his 104th birthday.

And for 2019, the Board decided to award the seventh scholarship in memory of Doug Fulton, who passed away in January 2019.

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 93 students for a total of $185,000.

Want to donate to the Scholarship Fund? Donations are tax-deductible.

There are two ways to do it: online with a credit card or the paper and mailed check method. Either way, you can make donations in memory of someone.

For the online method, this is the link. Go there and follow the instructions; have your credit card handy.

For the paper alternative, make out your check to Renaissance Society, putting "Scholarship Fund" in the Notes. Send the check to The Renaissance Society, CSUS, 6000 J St., Mail Stop 6074, Sacramento, CA 95819-6074.

The 2019 Scholarship Recipients

Allison Brown is a second-year student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, having one year left to complete her degree. Allison states that exercise has always been an important part of her life and she recognizes that it becomes even more important with age. When she was 20 years old, her mother died of brain cancer, causing her to go into a state of mental decline. She quickly discovered that exercise was an effective means of managing her physical and mental health. She started a job as an aide in an outpatient physical therapy clinic, which made her fall in love with physical therapy as a profession. As a student, she has volunteered with an adaptive kayaking program in Morro Bay, and Achieve Tahoe, an adaptive ski school. During the summer she participated in the fitness testing and individualized exercise participation program for Renaissance members. She says that Renaissance Society is an inspiration to her and she hopes to continue to be involved in the community throughout her life, meeting new people and trying new things, just as she sees Renaissance members doing. She stated, "When I received the Renaissance Scholarship, I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders. Both my husband and I are in graduate programs, and it sometimes feels like we are drowning in tuition and living expenses. The scholarship will help relieve the burden of paying for school and allow both of us to focus on our education without as much financial stress, but rather with excitement for our future careers. Thank you for helping me continue pursuing my dream of becoming a physical therapist."

Andrea Galvan plans to complete her Bachelor's degree in Health Care Administration by spring semester 2020. She has a 4.0 GPA at Sac State. She has had many personal challenges in life but was determined to succeed and become the "best version of myself." During high school, she worked both part-time and full-time, was a Varsity cheerleader, and enrolled in the nursing program, volunteering for two years. During this experience she discovered her passion for the healthcare field and the elderly population. After high school, she worked in a Pediatric Medical group, acquiring knowledge in the medical field and improving her communication skills. She completed the prerequisites for the Nursing program at Sierra College and completed the first semester of that program. However, she realized that nursing was not the proper fit for her and she decided to pursue a degree in Health Care Administration, believing this allows her to be both involved at the business and personal level of the healthcare industry. She says she would like to use her degree in a Hospice facility "where I can be surrounded by people who know that the only thing that truly matters in life is who you spend it with." Andrea believes her degree will be most useful to the members of the Renaissance Society because it will allow her to dedicate her career and life in delivering the upmost devotion, quality and care in her place of business.

Dante Khachadourian is majoring in Civil Engineering with a focus on transportation. He believes that this field of study is extremely relevant to members of the Renaissance Society because as people age, driving may not be a viable option and transportation can become a challenging issue. Dante was home-schooled and while in high school, he attended a community college, completing 35 units while achieving a 4.0 GPA. He received the Outstanding Student Award for his work in science classes and made the President's List. At Sac State, he has maintained a 3.976 GPA. He has been invited to join Tau Beta engineering honor society, Golden Key, an international honor society, and Phi Kappa Phi, a multidisciplinary honor society. Dante said, "I strive to perform at the highest level to show that a descendant of immigrants can excel in college. I really appreciate the effort and time that has been invested in me by my mentors and professors because I realize what a massive and beneficial difference they have made in my life and career." Dante wants to eventually own and run his own civil engineering firm and is eager to intern under experienced civil engineers.

Summer Khaleq is a Communication Science and Disorders Major, maintaining a 4.0 GPA with a goal of becoming a Speech and Language Pathologist. She hopes to work in a school setting with infants and children from diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds, fulfilling her desire to serve her community. She volunteers at the UC Davis Medical Center, delivering therapy to adults with issues such as traumatic brain injuries and post-stroke aphasia. She says her volunteer activities are critical to her growth and have instilled within her a love for serving others. She spearheaded the drive for blankets, towels and diapers for the 200 Syrian refuges in this community. She hopes her volunteer efforts will help defeat the constraints of culture and xenophobia. She says that as a woman who is visibly Muslim, her personhood is often politicized and Americanness questioned with comments like "towel-head" and "terrorist" thrown around flippantly.

Natalie Schneider is completing the first semester in the highly competitive Nursing Program, having maintained a 4.0 GPA in the prerequisites for the program. She relies on financial aid and loans to pay for tuition, books, nursing school costs and living expenses. Even with the demands of the program, she continues to volunteer and train dogs at an animal shelter each week, recognizing that these abused and neglected animals need training to promote behavioral changes so they can find a forever home. Natalie was also a caregiver for an 89-year-old woman suffering from progressive dementia. This experience helped her recognize the modifiable changes that one can make in order to dissipate the onset of this condition. She believes that she can help those in the Renaissance Society by educating on the prevention of common illnesses as we age. She believes that exercise is important for good health and would like to incorporate positive dog-human interactions that incorporate exercise into their relationship.

Kennedy Wilson has been very goal-directed in obtaining her education. While attending high school, at age 15 she enrolled at Chabot College. She finished her first year of college during high school and received an AA degree at the age of 18. This will allow her to reach her goal of graduating from a four-year college in two years, saving both time and money. Her major is Gerontology. Kennedy is active in her church, has volunteered to serve food to the homeless and at a women's shelter, visits the elderly in convalescent homes, and has made care packages for veterans. She related that from her mentor in the Gerontology program, Garry Young, a member of the Renaissance Society, she 'has gained insight and wisdom and hopes to create a lasting friendship which can benefit both of them in ways they could never imagine.'

Lily Yang is pursuing a degree in Child Development and plans to apply to become a nurse after she graduates with this degree. Her goal is to give quality health care to all members of society as well as teach how to better one's own health and overall quality of life. Lily is Hmong-American, the oldest daughter and middle child of five children. She has always had expectations to live up to as she strives to learn, and has been on the Dean's Honor list since 2015. She supports herself by working part-time. Lily has volunteered at Kaiser Permanente and has volunteered with Hmong Innovating Politics, helping her community to register to vote. She says she has always enjoyed helping others. Her long-term goal is to become a Nurse Practitioner or Child Life Specialist.