A Community Initiative in Support of MESA Students

By Savannah Lira, Program and Communications Associate

The Somerton Educational Grants Program provides any Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) student in good standing at College of Alameda or Diablo Valley College with an award of up to $500. The program is designed to help MESA students with their expenses for critical necessities which do not fall under other student aid programs, such as eye glasses, computer software, textbooks, supplies needed for coursework, and transportation expenses.

In 2018, we awarded 18 exceptional students and dedicated MESA members with a Somerton Educational Grant. Many of these students are proudly the first generation college student in their family, pursuing their dreams, and we at PVF are proud to support them. The renewed success of the Somerton Educational Grants Program is a testament to the value these students and educators place in the MESA Program, to support, guide, connect, and develop these students in their college careers.

Photo credit: mesa.ucop.edu/newsroom/newsletter

Here are a few examples of how the program has impacted lives:

  • A Pre-Med student used their grant to pay travel costs to take the MCAT exam.

 “I am beyond ecstatic and all this would not have been possible without the aid of the Somerton Educational Grant… Now I am one step closer to achieving my dream of becoming a doctor, and I am so excited.”

  • An Electrical Engineering student was able to purchase expensive software required for his degree.

 “The funds will be used to cover costs for programming software on my computer… This will be a tremendous help to study with my colleagues, usually tutors from MESA… The courtesy of the foundation has filled my day with joy.”

  • A Civil Engineering student was able to support the cost of their 30 mile daily commute to school.

 “This grant provides for me a means of transportation, in terms of gas money, so that my focus is not on how much money I have, but rather staying focused on the classes I’m taking. Now the money I do have I can spend on food throughout the week, books, and supplies for the semester without worry.”

The Somerton Educational Grants Program was established in memory of Professor Wilbur Somerton (co-founder of MESA) and Irma Somerton, in recognition of their commitment to young people.

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