New Leader Scholar summary biographies listed by year (2001-2017).
2017 NEW LEADER SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
TERRY ALLEN, 26, graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Rhetoric. As the first in his family to attend college, his childhood observations of the education tracking system has inspired his desire to assist others see and reach their highest potential. While working for his undergraduate degree, Terry served many campus and community leadership positions. Prior to graduating, he participated in a Pre MBA Global Leadership Program at Yale University where he gained sound business tools which he believes are best practices for education today. Following his graduation, Terry entered the White House Internship Program under the Obama Administration and then went on to acquire a master’s degree from Columbia University in education policy. Now in his second year of doctoral study in the Education Department of UCLA, he serves as a graduate student researcher and a course instructor in the Education Department.
RICHARD D. BRIDGES, JR., 50, is currently a third year graduate student in the Public Health Master’s Degree Program at San Jose State University. He graduated from San Francisco State, majoring in health education in 2014. His goal is to use his Master’s Degree in Public Health to have an impact on others who have struggled with many of the same problems which led him to a “vicious cycle of recidivism, substance abuse, and hopelessness”. While working full time and attending school, he has facilitated a bi-monthly group at a substance abuse treatment facility, working with those struggling with Hepatitis C. Richard spent his young adulthood in and out of the criminal justice system, ultimately turning to education in order to break the cycle. “I am compelled to be a champion for the betterment of humanity.” is how he describes his own transcendence from addiction and hopelessness. This is Richard’s fourth New Leader Scholarship.
BRITTNEY ENIN, 22, is pursuing her BA in Public Health at UC, Berkeley and is in her senior year. The eldest daughter of Ghanaian immigrants, Brittney experienced extreme food and housing insecurity throughout her childhood. These experiences led Brittney to understand the multiple roots of marginalization and the impact of poverty on a family’s sense of security. Following the divorce of her parents, her mother’s resiliency and perseverance in providing for her and her brother provided her with an exceptional role model. This has led her to work for multiple organizations both on and off campus that have an emphasis on helping the disenfranchised. She works with Black students on campus to help them access health needs at the University health Center, and now a healthy equity intern with Healthy Black Families inc, a non profit focused on holistic well-being of Black Families. Brittney’s goal is to acquire an advanced degree in Public Health with a goal of working directly with those that are disenfranchised. Her hope is that she will be able to promote their ability to navigate the systemic barriers to success.
J. GABRIEL FRALEY, 49, received a Bachelor of Science Degree from San Francisco State University with a major in Cell and Molecular Biology. He is currently in the Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Doctoral Program at UC, Davis. While at San Francisco State he conducted molecular biology research in the laboratory of a renowned San Francisco State University professor. He plans a future in Biomedical Sciences Research after earning his PhD with an emphasis on neurological disease and cancer. Prior to his entering SFSU, Gabriel was in the US Coast Guard and attended numerous community colleges in an attempt to determine his final area of concentration. As a teenager in a mixed race family, living well below the poverty level, he became emotionally challenged, forcing him to drop out of high school but was later able to attain a GED. Despite his early life challenges, Gabriel has had a profound interest in biodiversity and was fascinated by nature in all of its aspects leading him to a deep interest in wilderness travel. This is his second New Leader Scholarship.
VICKY GOMEZ, 41, went to City College of San Francisco as a teenage mother and transferred to San Francisco State University (SFSU) in 1998 where she majored in both Raza Studies and Health Sciences. In 2002, she received her BA and went on to earn a Master’s degree also from SFSU with an emphasis on Community Public Health in 2010. She is currently enrolled in UC Berkeley’s Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program and completing her dissertation research. A long time passionate advocate of health equity, Vicky is committed to researching and addressing colorectal-cancer screening disparities in the Latino community. At UC Berkeley, Vicky has devoted time to mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in several university wide programs in addition to working on her research. Her current dissertation research is focused on developing a digital media intervention to increase colorectal cancer screening rates in the Latino church. This is her sixth New Leader Scholarship.
SEDERIC GRANT, 26, graduated from UC, Berkeley, with a major in Public Health and is committed to becoming a dentist, working with underserved populations. Coming from a family of seven, whose mother died when he was nine, Sederic was raised in Foster Care from elementary school. While in foster care, he involved himself in campus leadership and athletics, continuing to pursue these same interests on the Berkeley campus. While at Cal, he was active in the Berkeley Scholars to Cal and mentored both middle and high school students as well as participating in the UC Black Recruitment and Retention Center. He is focused on the dilemma of foster care youth “ageing out” at age 18 and losing their Medicaid coverage. Though planning to become a dentist, he is still intent on addressing this seriously neglected problem. Sederic spent a year as a Research Assistant at Highland County Hospital in Oakland, gathering and analyzing data in the Emergency Department in preparation for his doctoral work in dentistry. He spent a summer studying physics at the University of Sussex in order to strengthen his background in the health sciences and then enrolled in a year- long academic preparatory program for dentistry at UCSF. Sederic is now starting his second year in dental school at UC, San Francisco. This is his fourth New Leader Scholarship.
ANGEL KU, 27, graduated from San Francisco State University in 2012 with a BS degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. As an undocumented student, Angel and his family have faced numerous serious challenges in everyday survival. In his application to the New Leader Scholarship, he wrote, “My morning walks to the bus station for my commute to San Francisco State (are) always accompanied with the fear of having my future and family taken from me.” His deep commitment to his community and his indomitable focus on academic achievement have resulted in goals that merge his love of science with his commitment to community action. Angel aspires to become a research scientist in order to address the limitations of modern medicine to alleviate health disparities. Furthermore, Angel seeks to mentor other students in the biomedical sciences through his work with Pre-Health Dreamers. As an undergraduate, he was President and Student Organizer for IDEAS to achieve legislation to help undocumented students move into higher education. That work has taken a new form through his leadership in the “Pre-Dreamers Project” which advocates and prepares undocumented students across the nation for future careers in the health sciences with the goal of affecting health disparities. He has combined his interest in public health with functional genomics and become better able to understand how molecular biology can be applied to advancing the understanding of human disease. He is in his fourth year of a doctoral program in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics at UCSF. This is his fifth New Leader Scholarship.
CALEB MARTINEZ, 28, is a senior at UC, Berkeley majoring in Political Science and Public Policy. Caleb grew up in the Imperial Valley with six siblings and was raised by a single mother on the Pascua Yaqui Reservation in Tucson. His mother fled domestic violence, immigrating to the United States as a 15-year-old and found work through the Bracero Program. As a single father with an 11-year-old daughter, he feels a heavy burden to provide her the opportunities which he lacked. At the age of 13, he was incarcerated for the first time and “began to recognize how structural violence established institutional barriers that prevent rehabilitation and reintegration”. Caleb’s journey through the criminal justice system, his marginalization and ultimately his fatherhood, has led him to pursue a goal of obtaining a joint Master’s Degree in Public Policy and a JD in Law. He aspires “to become a public legislator on the state or federal level …to reverse …structural violence.”
ROBERTO MONICO, 39, graduated from UC, Berkeley with a degree in Sociology, minoring in Ethnic Studies. He received his AA degree from Los Angeles City College. Roberto grew up with a widowed mother, the youngest of four siblings. He is a re-entry student that has received scholarships and fellowships from the Osher Re-Entry Program, UCLA Law Fellows, and the McNair Research Program. In addition, the Alpha Kappa Delta Society, an honor society in sociology, has awarded him membership. Roberto has also volunteered with Prison Activist Resource Center and California Prison Focus. This has led him to the long term goal of acquiring a Ph.D. in order to research and advocate for the issues that formerly incarcerated people endure after release from prison. Roberto is currently enrolled in the Master’s Degree program in the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. This is his third New Leader Scholarship.
LARRY McDANIEL JR., 33, received his Bachelor’s Degree from UC, Berkeley, majoring in Sociology, with and AA degree from Peralta College. As he saw many of his friends falling victim to the challenges which face poor minority communities and finding himself struggling to survive, he vowed to dedicate himself to helping those coming from similar backgrounds. At Berkeley, he joined a student-run organization “Spread the Word” which assists underperforming minority youth through mentoring and advocacy. He became the president of the organization, a testament to his leadership skills. This past year, Larry earned a Master’s Degree in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Larry was accepted into the doctoral program in Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA this year, aspiring to become a university professor. Following his own struggle over a 10-year period in community colleges, he is acutely aware of the struggles of Black children ”growing up in economically neglected neighborhoods”. He plans to engage in research, which effects policy changes in social structure with a particular emphasis on “racial identity for community college transfer students of color who attend historically and predominantly white universities”. This is his second New Leader Scholarship.
ABDULLAH PUCKETT , 44, is a senior at UC, Berkeley, with a major in Political Economy and Interdisciplinary Studies. On his own from the age of sixteen, he was imprisoned from 1999 through 2014. Inspired by the election of Barack Obama in 2008, he saw that real change in our systems was more than a theoretical possibility. He saw that “when ordinary people come together, we can make extraordinary things happen”. Initially, he was inspired to become a community organizer like President Obama but began to realize that many more avenues were open to him through his studies. His mother went to school at the age of 47 and earned a doctorate in Pharmacy in part to inspire and demonstrate to her children what was possible through education and determination.
KHANH TRAN, 21, is in his fourth year at San Francisco State University, with a double major in Biology and Asian American Studies. Khanh emigrated to the US from Vietnam with his mother as a six-year-old child, needing to leave his father behind. While his family felt liberated from communism, life in the U.S. was far from easy. The struggle for economic survival left Khanh feeling lonely as his mother for her long hours of work. As a teenager, struggling with his identity, he spent many difficult years until helped to understand his dilemma by high school teachers. His discovery of a path through education led him to major in biology. However, not until he took a second major in Asian American Studies was he able to combine a sense of community along with his science interests. His goal is “to pursue a PhD in Ethnic Studies and research intersectionality to bridge the gap between science education and cultural identity”. He holds several positions in Student Affairs and Enrollment Management office, Asian American Studies and within the Center of Science and Mathematics Education at San Francisco State University. Khanh also serves his community through Pinoy/Pinay Educational Partnership (PEP), where he teaches Filipino American History to high school students.
Janelli Vallin, 22, graduated from UC, Berkeley with a degree in Public Health. Her long term aim is to obtain a medical degree, emphasizing a holistic approach to medicine. Toward that goal, she has spent two summers interning at a children’s hospital in Beijing. Janelli is fluent in both Mandarin and Spanish enabling her to become “a global health leader for those who cannot advocate for themselves, their families, or their communities”. She is currently enrolled in the Global Health Sciences Program at UCSF where she plans to earn a Master’s Degree as her first step toward acquiring a medical degree. “As a first generation college student, born and raised in a low-income, predominantly Latino community” she believes that “it is both a privilege and a responsibility …to dedicate my life to working with underserved communities locally and worldwide”. This is her second New Leader Scholarship.
ARIANNA M. WOOD, 21, is currently a third year undergraduate student at San Francisco State University. As the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, at age 16, Ariana saw first hand the power of an inequitable immigration system to remove her father from their home. The loss of their home, the move into a hotel for the duration of her high school years, deeply affected her future goals. As a student in the Metro Academy at San Francisco State, her “lived experiences” were reinforced and supported by learning about the realities that minority communities face. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Health Education with plans to obtain a Master’s Degree in Nursing. These experiences have led to her determination to bridge the “relationship between social injustice and health outcomes.” She plans to work on programs that incorporate environmental and institutional factors into the practice of preventive medicine.