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Alumni Association scholarships can make a positive difference

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The recipients of $1,000 scholarships from CSUEB's Alumni Association are (left to right): James Chiu, Kemisha Radford, Natasha Brasil and Qing (Cathy) Liu. (Photo: Garvin Tso)

  • May 28, 2014

Four outstanding full-time undergraduate students of Cal State East Bay have each been awarded scholarships of $1,000 by the university’s Alumni Association. Funded through an endowment and membership fees paid by members of the alumni association, the scholarships are intended to provide support, inspiration and encouragement to the students, who must also demonstrate financial need, according to Penny Peak, director of alumni relations and programs.

The scholarships for 2014 have been presented to Natasha Brasil, James Chiu, Qing (Cathy) Liu and Kemisha Radford.   

Brasil, a pre-nursing major, has had dreams of becoming a nurse since a very young age. However, she feared that she wouldn’t be able to afford the cost of a higher education. But she worked hard in high school, took honors and advanced placement classes, and worked to save money to help pay for college. That perseverance has been a key to her success.

The Alumni Scholarship has allowed her to worry less about the expenses and about finding a job, so she can focus on her academics.

“I can say that my dedication and hard work has paid off,” Brasil said. “I know that I will continuously be faced with obstacles, but I have realized that setting goals helps me over those obstacles.”

Chiu, a senior, is majoring in business. He attended San Leandro High and took classes at Laney College in Oakland. Wanting to continue his education while earning money, he joined the U.S. Army and served as a paratrooper in Afghanistan. Although excited about completing his studies, paying the tuition has remained a challenge. His experience in the army has opened his eyes to extreme poverty and gave him further determination to finish his education after serving.

“Again and again, I came back to a need to finish what I’d started,” Chiu said. “I want to earn a full bachelor’s degree and move into the workforce with an education I could be proud of. That’s what brought me to CSUEB.” 

Liu is a senior studying sociology and statistics. Accepted into the Biostatistics MS Program, she will be a graduate student in fall 2014. Originally from Beijing, China, she transferred to Cal State East Bay from Ohlone College in Fremont. A death in the family laid a heavy financial burden on Cathy, but the alumni association scholarship helps her focus on her studies. She is proud to be honored for graduating summa cum laude in statistics. on May 17.

Liu wants to make a contribution to this country as a professional, knowing that with her college degree she “will be able to help others in the future,” she said.      

Radford, a senior psychology major, is graduating in the spring of 2014. From Modesto, she attended Modesto College before transferring to CSUEB. A single mother of three children, Radford is determined to give back to the community. Her experience growing up has sparked a passion to help individuals from similar backgrounds. Kemisha aspires to further her education and obtain a doctoral degree in cognitive therapy.

This scholarship has made it possible for Radford to continue her educational journey and set an example for her children. “I have a passion for school and learning that I try to instill into my children,” she said.


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