Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Garamendi Joins White House in Praising UC Davis College Opportunity Program and Fulbright Scholars from Yolo County

January 16, 2014
Press Release

Calls for Continued Action to Make College Affordable and
Expand Post-Graduate Opportunities

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a former University of California Regent, praised UC Davis for expanding support for first-generation, low-income students as they embark on their college career. He also commended six outstanding Yolo County students and academics who have been awarded Fulbright Program scholarships to study abroad.

UC Davis

This morning, President Obama and the First Lady held a College Opportunity Event and announced commitments from UC Davis and other institutions of higher education toward expanding opportunities for disadvantaged students. UC Davis is enlarging its six week Special Transitional Enrichment Program (STEP), which provides first-generation, low-income freshman students with transitional classes and skills development activities to enhance their capacity in meeting academic goals. This year, 50 additional students will participate and ultimately there will be capacity for every eligible student to participate.

“Every American deserves a shot at the American Dream and education is the most important ingredient in this pursuit. However, nearly half – 42% – of children who are born in poverty will stay in poverty,” said Congressman Garamendi, who is the parent of three Aggie alums. “I commend UC Davis for recognizing the challenges that low-income and first-generation students face and for taking groundbreaking steps toward making college graduation attainable for all. It shouldn’t matter where you come from. What matters is where you want to go and how hard you’re willing to work to get there.”

As a State Legislator, Garamendi created the California State Summer School for the Arts and the California Summer Science and Technology Academy, which introduce high school students to college level academics and research.

UC Davis is also growing its Transfer Opportunity Program (TOP) to 35 community colleges. This program helps community college students seamlessly transition to UC Davis academic programs, providing access and improving the odds of success for first-generation and low-income students.

“As a public university, UC Davis holds a special responsibility to make our world class education accessible and affordable to all students, and as Chancellor, I consider this my highest priority,” UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said. “I look forward to helping make the White House’s new effort a success and to ensuring that the doors to UC Davis remain wide open to students in California and all over the world.”

Fulbright Scholars from Yolo County

The United States Department of State recently announced that six individuals from Yolo County have been selected to receive Fulbright awards to study, lecture, teach, or conduct research abroad during the 2013-2014 academic year.

“The Fulbright Program offers an unparalleled educational experience. I offer my highest congratulations to all our Fulbright Scholars,” said Congressman Garamendi. “As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, I can tell you that living and working abroad provides unique knowledge that Americans bring back when they come home and that makes us a stronger country. It also gives our friends in other countries a positive, human face of Americans who want to share, learn, and contribute for our mutual benefit.”

A list of the awardees, their home institution, type of exchange field of study, host country, and home residence is included here:

  • Dr. Kassim Al-Khatib of UC Davis who will be a scholar in Agriculture in Turkey. He is from Woodland.
  • Ms. Jennifer Balachowski of UC Davis who is now a student of Ecology in France. She is from Davis.
  • Dr. Kenneth Loh of UC Davis who will be a scholar of Engineering in Taiwan. He is from Davis.
  • Ms. Jinni Pradhan of UC Davis who is a student of Film Studies in Nepal. She is from Davis.
  • Ms. Anna Reich of UC Davis and Bard College who is a student of Photography in Lithuania. She is from Woodland.
  • Ms. Stephanie Park of Scripps College who is an English Teaching Assistant in South Korea. She is from El Macero.

Additional Information on UC Davis

UC Davis distributes more than $260 million in scholarships and grants to undergraduate students, which allows 53 percent of students to fully cover their base tuition and fees. About three in 10 new freshmen are from low-income families and would be in the first generation of their family to graduate from a four-year university. UC Davis has a number of support programs that help recruit, retain, and graduate low-income and disadvantaged students. The Central Valley Scholars Program is a new four-year scholarship, mentorship, and internship program that provides financial assistance and hands-on job training to students and helps Central Valley businesses draw an educated workforce. In addition, former foster youth receive academic advising, life skills training, career counseling, and mentoring opportunities through the Guardian Scholars program.