College Week 2020: Meet The Alumni Scholars!

We are excited to announce College Week 2020, where you’ll meet some of our current and former scholarship recipients attending colleges and universities across the country. Since 1999, JBBBSLA has awarded over $2 million in scholarships to high school graduates, allowing them to achieve their higher educational goals. Click here to find out more about our scholarship program. 

To close out College Week, JBBBSLA and Camp Bob Waldorf invite you to join us for a special Virtual College Student Panel via Zoom on Sunday, October 25 at 2 pm PT. Hear from current students from different colleges and universities, learn about their college experiences, and get advice on how to navigate college. You’ll also find out more about our scholarships and College Guidance Program, which are incredible benefits available to JBBBSLA Littles and CBW campers!

Now let’s introduce you to some of our outstanding former scholars! [To meet our current scholars, click here.] 

Stacey Avnes
Former JBBBSLA Scholarship Recipient
Norwich University

Why was going to college important to you?

I was the first person in my family to go to university– so college was always my biggest goal. I worked my entire life to get into a school that would further me both academically and culturally. I don’t think I’d be anywhere close to where I am now if I didn’t choose the path that I did.

What are you up to now?

After graduating from university, I moved to NYC to pursue a career in video editing but ended up falling into (and in love with) pharmaceutical advertising! I am now a project manager at an amazing agency where I get to do my best work everyday providing medical education, patient awareness and resource tools across the oncology, clinical, and wellness spaces.

Shannen Cohenshad
Former Arnold S. Nelson Scholarship Recipient
CSUN

Why was going to college important to you?

Going to college was important to me because I was expected to attend college after graduating from high school. I have always loved school and I wanted to continue my education to satisfy my hunger for learning. I am a first-generation student and I understood early on in life that higher education could give me financial and emotional freedom. Financial security has always been a motivating factor for me. Having a career that I am passionate about has always been one of my life goals. College was my way to explore what I am interested in and to figure out what my career options are.

What are you up to now?

Currently, I am a second-year student at the University of Southern California studying occupational therapy. I keep myself busy with school, friends and family.

Jamie Jovel
Former Arnold S. Nelson Scholarship Recipient
CSU Long Beach

Why was going to college important to you?

My mom always stressed to me the importance of school and how happy she would be for me and all my siblings to graduate college. I had to do it for me and make her proud after all the sacrifices she made for me and my siblings. It was the least I could do for her.

What are you up to now?

I have been with Cigna Group insurance for four years as a Senior Group Claims Analyst with the long-term disability department.

Shayna Lavi
Former Arnold S. Nelson Scholarship Recipient
UCLA

Why was going to college important to you?

There are many reasons college is important to me. One was stability and another was that it felt right. I knew any job at minimum would require at least a bachelor’s degree.

What are you up to now?

Looking for a job as a UX designer! I just finished a nine-month intensive boot camp and am job hunting.

Stephan Loveless
Former Arnold S. Nelson Scholarship Recipient
Tel Aviv University

Why was going to college important to you?

Going to college was important for me in many ways. At first glance, I would say that one of the most important reasons was that no one else in my family had sought higher education before. I felt very proud of myself to pursue this kind of ‘unknown’ world of investing in my education, as well as adding the accomplishments that were to come to my family’s name. Another major reason would be that college really helped me grow as a person. At the beginning, it is a little difficult adjusting and really coming to terms with how you identify yourself, but these obstacles really helped me understand the person I was and who I wanted to become. Additionally, practicing and appreciating self-discipline and time management are crucial tools that college has taught me. It is exciting to pursue a career in something that interests me. College can be such a big step in investing in a career that makes you excited. This is why college has been so valuable to me.

What are you up to now?

I am up to so many things! For starters, during the last two and a half years I have been studying at Tel Aviv University for my Master’s in Planetary Science. I have now submitted my thesis and will be giving my defense in the next two weeks or so! My thesis advisors and I have also submitted a paper for publication. I have also moved from Israel back to the United States, but this time I am living in Atlanta, GA. My partner, Elinoy, who I met at camp over four years ago, has started a position as the Israel Hillel Fellow for Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and Kennesaw State, so now we are here! After I finish my Master’s, I will be sending graduate school applications to hopefully start a PhD. At the moment, I really would like to pursue graduate school at Georgia Tech. Regardless, I am excited for what is to come!

Ulysses Maldonado
Former Rising Leaders Scholarship Recipient
CSUN

Why was going to college important to you?

The main reason I went to college was to prove people wrong, who told me my whole life that I wasn’t smart enough. However, I learned that all that matters is that I wanted an education for myself. I also wanted to honor my sister who passed away.

What are you up to now?

At the moment, I am currently trying to find peace during this whole 2020 fiasco. I am also trying to figure out who I want to become. Since I have graduated, I am on a new chapter of my life and I am beginning to see where it takes me.

Ivy Martinez
Former Arnold S. Nelson Scholarship Recipient
Hope College

Why was going to college important to you?

College was important for me because growing up many people didn’t strive to go to college or didn’t even know it was an option for them. I wanted more for myself and to also set an example for younger generations with the same background that it was possible.

What are you up to now?

Now I’m a college graduate and work in Publicity for Films and Television shows.

Jessica Milton
Former JBBBSLA Scholarship Recipient
USC

Why was going to college important to you?

I wanted to go to college so that I can be open to as many career prospects as possible. Also, I was really looking forward to joining student organizations and building an incredible new community.

What are you up to now?

I am starting my post grad career in the New Grad Development Program at Visa. With my job, I will be rotating through four different business functions at Visa within two years. My first rotation is in Global Risk.

Brandon Storm
Former JBBBSLA Scholarship Recipient
Harvard Law School

Why was going to college important to you?

Higher education allowed me to become financially independent and realize my dream of working in federal government to address wealth inequality and ensure future generations can take advantage of the same pathways to social mobility that allowed me to thrive.

What are you up to now?

I am a trial attorney in the Antitrust Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. When large companies want to merge or when they engage in anticompetitive conduct that harms consumers, I conduct investigations to see if the Division should bring a challenge in court.

Rick Vargas
Former Arnold S. Nelson Scholarship Recipient
Cal State LA

Why was going to college important to you?

Parents always taught me that having an education makes you a better person professionally and personally. Anyone can show up to a place to get paid, but not everyone is willing to invest into their most valuable organ.

What are you up to now?

Currently working as an administrative assistant for Duarte Management.

Shayna Vega
Former Arnold S. Nelson Scholarship Recipient
UC Riverside

Why was going to college important to you?

College taught me so much in all aspects of my life. Not only did I learn new things in terms of my degree but I also learned about time management, independence, managing money, and just really figuring out what I believed in and how to be successful!

What are you up to now?

Mama, Wife, Small Business Owner, and hope to pursue a Masters in the near future.

Interested in learning more about JBBBSLA’s Scholarship Program? Visit our website or contact Carina Garcia, Director of Scholarship and Alumni Programs, at cgarcia@jbbbsla.org.

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