This grant will allow Mary to continue to pursue her study in a developing country in Liberia, Malawi, or Kenya. Mary’s preference is to work for a non-profit group, Liberty & Justice, utilizing her engineering skills to solve manufacturing problems while learning about this group’s unique business model aimed at empowering disadvantaged Liberian women. She would like to mentor engineering students at the University of Liberia to step into manufacturing engineering positions at Liberty & Justice. Mary would also like to work with Rotary projects that address basic human needs such as water, lighting, or clean cook stoves, where she can contribute her engineering skills and field experience.
Mary’s parents were both refugees of the Vietnam War who immigrated to Flint, Michigan, when she was one year old. Mary earned BS and MS degrees from UC Berkeley in Mechanical Engineering. She went on to work as a research and development engineer with Guidant Corporation and then taught physics for 1.5 years at Wenchi Secondary School in Ghana, West Africa. Mary has been a development engineer at UC Santa Barbara since 2002 where she started a chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB). With EWB she has implemented projects in Peru, Kenya, Thailand, Mexico, and Maili. Starting this fall, Mary will pursue a Master’s in Business Administration from Colorado State University in Ft. Collins.
While supporting EWB’s efforts over the past nine years, Mary developed a close working relationship with RCSBS in 2004. RCSBS helped support a number of EWB’s projects, most recently in Kenya. In 2007, RCSBS awarded Mary a Paul Harris Fellow, she was also sponsored as a Group Study Exchange team member to India in 2008. Mary is part of the RCSBS family and will always be welcomed to share her stories of her continuing journey. We are proud in what she has accomplished and know she will continue to make her mark on the world as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. Mary’s autobiography and “Statement of Intent” can be found on our website: clubrunner.ca/santabarbarasunriserotary. Ambassadorial Scholarships are awarded annually to grad students to study abroad for one year. Selection is based upon an interview/application competition.
Rotary Club Awards Graduate Assistance Grants to El Puente Community Students
On behalf of The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise (RCSBS), Rotarian Graham Guess awarded four outstanding El Puente students $500 each to put towards undergraduate education. The El Puente Graduate Assistance Grant began three years ago. The recipients of this year’s grants are: Francisco Haro, Abraham Ruiz, Abraham Rodriguez, and Chelsea Sandoval. Candidates wrote an essay on where they had come from, what they had learned from this experience, and how this applied to their future plans. Rotarians David Velarde and Graham Guess interviewed all candidates before making their selection. The four awards were presented at the June 10th Commencement Ceremony for the El Puente Community School Class of 2011, a total of 21 graduates.
RCSBS has supported the El Puente School for the past 10 years awarding Student of the Month awards as well as maintenance at the school. The special heroes behind the El Puente graduates are their parents, the 21 committed school teachers, and Honorary Rotarian and school Principal, Cecilia Molina, who stand behind the students to help them become “the best they can be”.