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Ciara Dooley '16
Mechanical Engineering

Ciara is working towards a degree in mechanical engineering, grounded in her aptitude for math, chemistry and physics. Her enthusiasm for robotics is irrepressible. “There are so many different ways to use them,” she explains, “so many things robots can do to vastly improve life.”

But what really gets her excited is thinking about the very process of exploration. “During my first quarter here, I took a class on materials, and thought, ‘Wow…there’s a whole field dedicated just to materials!’”

Ciara’s zest for seeking out opportunities to grow and discover is very much in the spirit of UC San Diego’s founders, and proof that their vision of this university’s distinction persists to this day.

Ciara continued, “I can go to graduate school for materials science, and with my engineering degree, it would be a useful education that I could apply to robotics or anything else.”

But if it weren’t for the Triton 5K Chancellor’s Scholarship Ciara received, she might not have chosen to attend UC San Diego—the place she found her passion for developing robotic devices to help others.

Abdi Abdullahi '17
Human Biology

Abdikarin “Abdi” Abdullahi ’17 is currently majoring in human biology, and plans to enroll in medical school upon graduation. As a Chancellor’s Scholar, Abdi has already proven himself capable of meeting and exceeding the very highest expectations.

Abdi is no stranger to struggle. He grew up hearing his mother’s stories about her home country, Somalia, a region torn by civil war; its people wracked by starvation, thirst and inadequate medical care.

Both of Abdi’s parents immigrated to the United States, determined to secure a better life for their children. As they inspired Abdi and his 10 siblings to excel academically so they could one day go to college, they left silent the question of how they could pay tuition.

Abdi singles out the day he received the notification letter of his Chancellor’s Scholar award as the day where becoming a doctor went from something he talked about to something he believed in. The dream grew a new dimension, too; though he originally set his sights on becoming a doctor as the means to a materially stable future, he thinks more now about the good work his training will make possible.

Cheyenne Wright '16
Social Sciences

A two-hour drive can be a world away, especially for a first-generation college student. Cheyenne Summer Wright grew up in Banning, a small community halfway between Riverside and Palm Springs, where dusty open spaces give way to mountain views on clear days.

Cheyenne’s single mother has brought up Cheyenne and her brother on the salary of a school custodian determined that her kids get a college education. The Chancellor’s Scholarship has been pivotal for the family, says Cheyenne, “because I can’t get financial help from my parents.”

Cheyenne has explored the idea of being a physical therapist, volunteering at the VA Hospital and at a private practice, but she’s keeping her options open to other avenues closer to a Psychology degree.

Cheyenne works on campus in a student dining hall, and she’s broadening her horizons in ways she couldn’t in Banning: “I joined the sailing team,” she says. “It was scary at first, the way the boat leaned over, but I learned, I have a lot of control over this.”

Cheyenne is involved in a student chapter of the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC). She and her classmates travel south of the border to help at Los Angelitos, a small, private orphanage on the outskirts of Tijuana. She’s hoping to expand her international experience by finding a volunteer study-abroad opportunity.

“I know that with the scholarship, it’s the only way I can go to college. Without it, I wouldn’t be at UCSD, I wouldn’t have learned to sail or worked with the children at Los Angelitos.” Her motivation comes from her family: “I want to be able to help out my parents when I finish school, to get a good job to help support them.”

Henry Lee '18

Life-steering inspiration comes from all kinds of places, and for Henry Lee, inspiration jumped off the screen at him in the no-longer-extinct creatures of Jurassic Park. “Watching these scientists create something entirely new with preexisting components seemed almost completely science fiction. However, as I pored through articles, it was evident that one could biologically manipulate something to create a novel object. The implications were profound: One could fashion new tissue, produce new vegetation that required less pesticides, and construct a better microscopic vehicle for medicine.” With a thing for engineered dinosaurs and practical innovations, and talent for technology, biology and chemistry, declaring a major in Bioengineering/Biotechnology seemed logical.

Henry is acclimating to the campus culture by getting involved with student organizations such as the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Scholar Society of scholarship recipients, and by spending time with various mentors ranging from undergraduates and PhD candidates on up to Bioengineering Professor Emeritus Dr. Peter Chen. “We meet regularly and discuss on academic, professional and personal levels. It gives a personal touch to relationship when the world is focused on the screen through social media.” Henry also participates in his hobbies – basketball, volleyball and the internet – on his downtime.

Henry and his two brothers – one enrolled at the University of the Pacific and the other at Fresno State University – were raised in Fresno, California by parents who emigrated from China. Henry’s mom is employed in a factory that manufactures irrigation parts, and his father is a restaurant cook. “I’d like to thank my scholarship donor for helping out students in need like me. As a first-generation student, it definitely eased the financial costs of college and allowed me to attend a top-notch university like UCSD. Words cannot express how grateful I am for your philanthropy.”

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