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IAP Newsletter Fall 2015

FALL 2015
Letter from the Director, Layla Naranjo
Layla Naranjo, Director

My favorite part of working with students in the Incentive Awards Program (IAP) is witnessing their growth as they come in from high school with many hopes and fears and find their way to graduation. It’s exciting to see students’ successes during and after Cal, with internships, jobs, or graduate school, and to know we had a small part in that. Their stories inspire us, and remind us why we do what we do.

Our previous newsletter shared that we completed extensive financial analysis to strengthen our program, and as a result, we did not start a new cohort this fall. This past year included tough changes and staff departures. With difficult decisions behind us, we actively move forward, towards a more efficient and effective program. We carefully match donor funding to donor intent, scholarship awarding has been moved to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, and we have eliminated rental costs by streamlining redundancies in our processes. We are also exploring other ways to reduce overhead costs. We appreciate our gracious and patient scholars, staff, and IAP partners even more during this time.

With renewed excitement we started recruitment for the 2016 IAP Scholars, and it’s a pleasure to work with partners to find the next cohort. We are also surveying current students about their satisfaction with IAP, and will use their feedback to inform future programming. As you read about events and interact with IAP, you’ll see our student leaders at the forefront more than ever before. We’re seeking as many opportunities as possible to showcase their skill and strength. Their talent and dedication continues to be at the root of IAP’s success. We couldn’t be more proud of our scholars.

Layla Naranjo

What Happens When We Believe

HIRA SAFDAR 2011 Cohort, Class of 2015, Double Major in Gender & Women’s Studies and Integrative Biology

Hira Safdar, Class of 2015

As a senior at Phillip and Sala Burton High School, an inner city public school in San Francisco, I was faced with the choice of Stanford or UC Berkeley. The support that I received from IAP and their scholarship donors helped me make the decision to come to Cal, and I have no regrets. Some say that home is where the heart is. If that’s the case, Berkeley’s IAP is certainly one of my homes.

Born and raised in San Francisco to Pakistani immigrant parents, I faced many challenges growing up which shaped my aspirations. I come from a family that made many sacrifices for education and pursuit of knowledge; my grandfather passed away while trying to get his family here. When I applied to colleges, Monica Reynoso, an IAP outreach adviser, assisted with my personal statement. She helped me process and articulate the struggles I faced (and continue to face) as a first-generation Muslim American female.

I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for kindness and sacrifice from someone somewhere along the line. Nobody succeeds without help from somebody. IAP and their generous supporters were somebody for me. Berkeley is a tough place, but every time I doubted my abilities or felt overwhelmed with academic work, IAP gave me confidence to persevere.

IAP also gets students involved with community service. I enjoyed making a positive impact by returning to my high school to present about college. I am proof that the public education system works, proof of what can happen when we believe and invest in higher education.

Today, I am one semester away from being a graduate of the top public university in the world. But, I haven’t done it alone. I owe it to all my teachers, professors, mentors, counselors, advisers, friends, and family. IAP is part of that family, part of what makes the public education system unique and important. And now that you’ve read this story, you are part of it, too.

2011 Cohort, Class of 2015,
Double Major in Gender & Women’s Studies and Integrative Biology

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Thinking Outside the Box

DARARITH LONG 2003 Cohort, Class of 2008, B.S. in Chemical Engineering Senior Field Service Engineer at OSIsoft, LLC

Dararith Long, Class of 2008, Huhn Scholar

They say true worth is not based on finances or physical possessions. It is character, who you are as a person, that is valuable. Upon starting college, I was immensely grateful to the Huhn family for a scholarship that enabled me to explore various disciplines and career options at UC Berkeley hassle free, but felt embarrassed that I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had ambition and drive, but no direction. The real gem of a scholarship is what it represents: generosity, opportunity. Without this kindness, I would not have the successes, accomplishments, and characteristic qualities that make me a happy and determined individual today.

I took a breadth of classes and chose to pursue chemical engineering. I was interested in picking things apart. I liked bringing microscopic and abstract concepts from a lab to a practical setting, the way studying colloid chemistry and mass transfer diffusion can lead to the genesis of a contact lens.

To my frustration, success required more than subject matter interest. I teetered on the edge of not fulfilling my academic obligations, but wouldn’t give up. My struggle in learning these topics only to fail a class resembled circumstances in my life where I’d encountered challenges and shied away from following my interests. I didn’t want to shy away from something that meant a lot to me. I persisted to be the type of person I wanted to be. I had to learn resolve.

Hard work eventually paid off, and I transitioned my determination to other aspects of life and work. Success and failure shaped me. I learned to trust my choices and forgive myself for mistakes.

Learn your strengths and weaknesses; embrace both. Don’t judge yourself so harshly if you can’t think outside the box, or if you have a hard time thinking inside the box. Personally, I find that more than anything I like to think about the box.

2003 Cohort, Class of 2008, B.S. in Chemical Engineering Senior Field Service Engineer at OSIsoft, LLC

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Donors Make a Difference
It’s Never Too Early to Think About College

IAP alumni and scholars (from left to right): Brieanna Wright (alum and staff), Kwamena Hansen-Sackey, Orlando Sanchez, Celeste Huizar, Jenny Pelagio Castillo, Anna Lee, Sidronio Jacobo (alum)

IAP alumni and scholars (from left to right): Brieanna Wright (alum and staff), Kwamena Hansen-Sackey, Orlando Sanchez, Celeste Huizar, Jenny Pelagio Castillo, Anna Lee, Sidronio Jacobo (alum)

Every contribution from supporters helps us serve students better and make tangible change in the communities where we work. Our scholars are involved in service every semester. One recent highlight was the Berkeley Unified School District middle school visits to UC Berkeley, coordinated by IAP staff member David Melena. These visits were made possible through a donation from the First Presbyterian Church, and long-time IAP supporters Randy Roth and Charlotte Martinez (the widow of Max Martinez, a former IAP staff member and for whom the Max Martinez Commons residence hall is named).

Young students participated in activities to promote a college-going culture. IAP Scholars led small group discussions around college access, aspirations, family support, and academic success, as well as hosted tours and lunch at Crossroads dining commons. Attendees received a t-shirt with “#imgoingtocollege” on the front and college entrance requirements on the back, because it’s never too early to start thinking about college.

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Think Bigger on November 19

Think Bigger on November 19

Berkeley’s imagination reaches beyond the campus, the state, and the nation. We look out for each other, so we can look out for the world. On Thursday, November 19, you can ensure the Incentive Awards Program continues to grow during Big Give, our 24-hour day-of-giving blitz. Join thousands of alumni, students, parents, and friends in showing your passion for Berkeley and support for students.

Help us think bigger on November 19 by making a gift that makes a difference. Use #berkeleystudentsfirst to follow activity on social media.

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Letter from the Director

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IAP in Numbers

3.09 was the average cumulative GPA for IAP Scholars in 20142015.

98% of 2013 IAP first-year students enrolled for the following year, compared to an overall retention rate of 96.6% for all UC Berkeley first-years, and 96% for another program which serves similar demographics on campus (low-income, first-generation students).

Save the Date

April 13, 2016
Celebrate with scholarship recipients at the Northern California Scholarship Reception. Invitations and event details forthcoming by mail in the new year.

All Scholar Meeting

September 19, 2015
The annual All Scholar Meeting welcomed back students in all cohorts on September 19, 2015. Students received program updates, community development and networking through activities, and professional development opportunities through workshops like Resume Review, Life After Cal, and a Study Abroad panel. This year was also unique because for the first time the Peer Academic Counselors (student leaders within IAP) planned, organized, and executed the event!