A Gift That Spans Generations


What year did you graduate? Chances are the cost of attending UC San Diego has increased exponentially since you walked the campus’ eucalyptus-lined paths. Over the last two decades, the state of California has decreased its per-student contribution by more than 50 percent. That means that undergraduates are now tasked with paying more than $13,000 each year for tuition and fees, plus living expenses—an increase of nearly 400 percent in just 10 years. Graduate and professional school costs have grown even more.

With a gift to scholarships, you can help future generations of students achieve the same outstanding education you received—whether you graduated in 1975 or 2005. Your support is vital to motivated and ambitious students like these.

Edward Sommers, Marshall ’14
Edward Sommers wants to share his story with others: a tale of a promising foster child who discovered his potential and found his path at UC San Diego.

Sommers and his seven siblings were raised by his grandmother in South Central Los Angeles, until circumstances led to his placement in a group home. His future seemed unclear until he enrolled at a local community college, where a professor inspired him to pursue engineering and biology. Today, he is an undergraduate at UC San Diego majoring in nanoengineering, with hopes of someday developing a therapy to eliminate cancer.

Sommers is also working to reach out to others with similar struggles by establishing a Big Brother Engineering program to help guide foster youth on their educational journey. The program would facilitate university field trips, assist with college applications and help them find internship and career opportunities.

“I want to set an example for others and share my story with a bigger audience—to encourage others never to give up and to realize that they can go far,” says Sommers.

Sommers is the grateful recipient of the George Parker Memorial Scholarship, which was established to support UC San Diego students who were raised in foster care for three or more years. “I am so thankful,” Sommers says. “I believe in never giving up—education is my motivation to enable me to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Jasmine Varela Mares, Marshall ’16
Finishing up her first year at UC San Diego, freshman Jasmine Varela Mares already considers herself a community leader.

A graduate of The Preuss School UCSD—a charter middle and high school for motivated, low-income students on the UC San Diego campus—Mares has volunteered with children at the Early Childhood Education Center, interned with a University program that helps those with schizophrenia live independently, and dedicated her time to various community nonprofit groups.

She plans to study human development with the goal of helping others. But someone so busy could not have just a singular life goal. With a passion for music—she plays the flute, violin and guitar—Mares also dreams of pursuing a career in the music industry. Mares is the first in her family to attend a university and she is making the most of her time on campus. She has gotten involved with organizations to enhance the student experience including MEChA de UCSD, which focuses on empowering Hispanic and Latino students. In addition, she helped publicize Marshall College’s annual student carnival, Marshallpalooza.

Mares is also the grateful recipient of the Lytle Endowed Scholarship. “Coming from a low-income family, the scholarship has had a huge impact on my life.” says Mares. “Now, I have the ability to focus on my studies and interests, and figure out what I can do in the future that will leave a lasting impact on my community.”

Karen Levy, School of Medicine ’14
Karen Levy is the embodiment of perseverance. As a child, Levy worked every weekend at a local swap meet in Las Vegas with her mother. Still, Levy graduated as her high school’s valedictorian at just 16. She then held various jobs—convention model, veterinary technician and personal trainer—and saved enough to obtain her undergraduate degree. She subsequently was accepted to the UC San Diego School of Medicine, where she is pursuing her life’s ambition to become a medical doctor.

“My unique background facilitated unparalleled opportunities for personal growth that I feel will make me an even stronger physician and mentor,” says Levy.

Now a third year medical student, Levy volunteers at the UC San Diego Student-Run Free Clinic, which provides primary care to the underserved—work she feels strongly about because she grew up without access to healthcare. Levy also volunteers with inner city children to share her story and assist them in finding resources to help them better their lives.

Levy received the Bud Whipple Memorial Scholarship, which honors the life of Albert “Bud” Whipple, a third-year medical student whose life was cut short from a rare heart disorder. The endowment was established by several of Whipple’s classmates— including Jim Rice, ’77, M.D. ’81; Murray Reicher, M.D. ’81; Danielle Reicher, ’77, M.D. ’81; and Frank Longo, ’77, M.D. ’81, Ph.D. ’83.

“It is an honor to know that I am following in the footsteps of such a remarkable young man whose story continues to touch the lives of many. I can only hope that my story will someday be as inspiring to future physicians.”

Jade Griffin, ERC ’03, is a writer, and Erika Johnson, Muir ’11, is a marketing and communications coordinator in University Communications and Public Affairs at UC San Diego.