For their personal commitment and ongoing contributions to community service, Megan Rodriquez, a Digital Media Arts (DMA) major, and Kelsey Nicks, an Occupational Therapy student, have received the California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) Alumni Association Jamina O. Barnes Memorial Scholarship.
The scholarship is named in memory of Barnes, the former director of Alumni Relations at CSUDH, and is awarded annually to one eligible full-time undergraduate and one graduate student.
Rodriguez, an undergraduate student who lives in Los Angeles, was a bit taken back when she learned she received the scholarship.
“I felt surprised, excited, thankful, and extremely honored,” she said. “It’s very rewarding to be recognized for my academic achievements and community contributions.”
The amount of the scholarship for each student is based on a recommendation from the Jamina O. Barnes Scholarship Committee. Applicants must have earned at least 12 undergraduate units at CSUDH or eight graduate units with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA to receive the award.
In addition to her studies at CSUDH, Rodriguez has been a volunteer for such organizations as Heal the Bay, organizing group cleanups to help “rejuvenate local beaches to their rightful state,” and Habitat for Humanity by providing assistance to the new homeowners in seeking affordably-priced appliances, furniture and other home items.
“My involvement with Habitat for Humanity, Heal the Bay and Los Angeles Animal Services have made a huge impact on my life,” said Rodriguez, who received $500 for her scholarship. “Since the start of my involvement with these organizations I have grown greatly as an individual, have developed a strong sense of empathy for others, and a strong work ethic.”
Nicks, who is working on her master’s in occupational therapy, plans to work either in physical rehabilitation for adults or community-based mental health for adults and children after she graduates.
She had been “waiting a few months” to find out if she received the “much-needed” scholarship, and said it was a “good feeling” to be acknowledged and rewarded for her service.
“The funding will help me with living expenses, such as rent and food. I have already received a grant for tuition, but there are many expenses involved with school and living,” said Nicks, who lives in Culver City and received an award of $750. “As a graduate student, I am unable to work during the program and I survive solely off loans. This will be a great help and will allow me to take out less in loans.”
Through the OT program, Nicks has volunteered for such organizations as Life Rolls On, which assists surfers with spinal cord injuries, and at the Joseph B. Jr. and Mary Anne O’Neal Stroke Center, where she assisted with occupational therapy “interventions” for its members.
“Interning at the stroke center helped better develop and strengthen my pride in belonging to the Occupational Therapy program and Cal State Dominguez Hills,” said Nicks. “I truly enjoyed providing treatment for individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, many of which are unable to receive the necessary treatments otherwise.”
With her award, Rodriquez plans to invest in a new computer since her current laptop is having “latency issues.”
“I’d like a computer that is capable of running the Adobe Creative Cloud software, an essential tool for a DMA student,” said Rodriquez. “Once I earn my degree, I want to venture into filmmaking and work in special effects. I am a huge fan of science fiction films and find it so fascinating how filmmakers technically achieve such impressive optical illusions. It’s a field that will allow me to be creative as well as enable me to continuously learn and grow as an artist.”