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CSU, Chico News

University Honors Best and Brightest Students at Rawlins Merit Scholarship Reception

Date: 10-18-2013

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
Daria Booth, Advancement Director
College of Humanities and Fine Arts

Seventeen California State University, Chico students with major achievements in the classroom and community were honored at the 32nd annual Lt. Robert Merton Rawlins Merit Scholarship Reception Oct. 15.

The scholarship program is one of the largest and most prestigious at CSU, Chico and recognizes scholarship, extracurricular activities, and professionally-related and academic accomplishments. Faculty members nominate recipients, who receive scholarships of $3,000.

“We know these students are on a trajectory for success,” said Rick Ellison, vice president for University Advancement, during the campus presentation. “They share a diversity of interests and a sense of giving back, and are representative of what makes Chico State special.”

Rawlins Scholarship recipient Nikita Benson, nominated by Department of Economics Chair Freddie Shockley, is a double major in economics and mathematics. The head facilitator for Students for Diplomatic Solutions, an organization promoting dialogue on international affairs and current events, Benson is also a student ambassador for the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and a tutor for the economics department. She has also tutored children in math and science at El Shaddai Child Rescue in Goa, India.

Jose Cerda, nominated by liberal studies advisor Pamela Morrell and coordinator Esther Larocco, is another of this year’s scholarship recipients. Currently working toward his teaching credential, Cerda earned his bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with a bilingual and cross-cultural option from CSU, Chico earlier this year. For five years, he has served as a tutor with California Mini-Corps, a program aimed at increasing the success of migrant students. He has also served as a camp counselor in Russia and has volunteered as an English tutor at an elementary school in Costa Rica.

Other Rawlins scholarship recipients include John Brunk, an All-American track star who is active in several cancer research fundraisers; Alyvia Berryhill, a business student who volunteers extensively at an assisted living home; and Madison Garshasebi, a pre-med student who serves at a local health clinic and mentors school-age children in Oroville.

The Rawlins Merit Scholarships are named in honor of Lt. Robert Merton Rawlins, who died piloting a B-29 over Tokyo Bay during World War II. Wishing to leave a legacy in the name of her son, Mrs. Fern Rawlins established in 1981 the Lt. Robert Merton Rawlins Merit Award endowment.

Since the program’s inception, more than $1.4 million in scholarships has been awarded to more than 900 CSU, Chico students.