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Emeriti Award Student Scholarships

Dec. 4, 2014

Two women who give of their time to help others less fortunate are this year's recipients of Emeriti Association Memorial Scholarships. The students, recipients of $1,000 scholarships, were recognized this week during the organization's annual luncheon hosted by President Mildred García.

Vanessa Lopez of Compton is a graduate student majoring in social work. "I have always been interested in working with less resourced communities in terms of providing better and safer lifestyles," said Lopez, who serves as an intern with Child Protective Services. "My main interest is to make a positive change in the lives of children and youth, especially those who have fewer resources, little to no positive role models and no support system that guides them to succeed in life."

Lopez, who earned a bachelor's degree in both criminology, law and society, as well as in women's studies from UC Irvine, has served in a wide range of positions with organizations focused on children, including the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica and AmeriCorps.

Janis Alexa Smith of Mission Viejo is a junior studying human services. She returned to college after serving as a family law paralegal for 11 years. She has been a volunteer at Ashland Home, a 30-day, non-medical rehabilitation center, for two years.

"As I've matured, I understand that the valuable information we gathered as children, spouses, parents and citizens drives us forward as aging adults," said Smith. "More than ever, I feel compelled to mark the world for good and leave it a better place for all the humans who will continue to walk on it well after my demise."

The Emeriti Scholarship Fund was initiated in 1987 by the late Gertrude Reith, professor emeritus of geography. It is underwritten by voluntary contributions by members of the organization, as well as an association contribution for each member who has died. The association also contributes to the University's Guardian Scholarship Program and to the Pollak Library.

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