We are pleased to continue spotlighting this year’s graduating seniors. We, along with our donors, are very proud of them!
Sophia Lopez will graduate from Michigan Tech, Marea Otter from the University of California, Berkeley, Teresa Vega from Dominican College, Oscar Gamez, Jr. from San Francisco State University and Walker Livingston from George Washington University. Our committee has had the privilege of sharing the journeys of these young people throughout their college careers.
Marea Otter attended Santa Rosa Junior College from 2012 to 2014. Working full-time as an E.M.T. while completing her undergraduate requirements, her typical day involved interacting with “people who were most likely having the worst day of their lives,” as she put it. It became apparent to Marea that the mental health of E.M.T.’s was severely impacted, and her goal became to major in psychology. In 2014, she transferred to U.C. Berkeley; due to her challenging course of study, working full-time as an E.M.T. was not possible. She missed it! She realized that her true passion lies in emergency medicine. Upon graduating with a psychology degree, Marea plans to attend nursing school and continue to work as an E.M.T.
Oscar Gamez, Jr. will receive a degree in audio production and sound design. He completed his undergraduate course work at Santa Rosa Junior College while pursuing his ultimate goal—interviewing and recording local musicians—through an internship at KWMR. In 2014, he transferred to San Francisco State, where he collaborated with peers to develop sound production for small feature films. Where do you think this exposure to the “new world” of design and sound is leading him? Upon graduation, he will seek work with companies in the gaming industry.
Teresa Vega has always dreamed of becoming a nurse. “Nursing is more than just administering medication, taking blood pressure, etc.,” she writes. “It’s about showing compassion for the individual even when there is nothing one can say to make them feel better.” Part of her educational experience has been clinical rotations at San Francisco General, Kaiser Permanente and a retirement home. Last year she studied for a month in Yucatan, Mexico, taking medical terminology classes and volunteering in clinics—and seeing the differences in the American and Mexican health care systems. Upon graduation, she plans to find a nursing position in a hospital, hopefully nearby.
Sophia Lopez is a civil engineering major with a focus in structural engineering and a certificate in international sustainable development engineering. In her second year, she joined Engineers Without Borders: one of “the greatest decisions I've made,” she said. Sophia spent last summer studying in Panama. Her final senior project with her design team was to create a pedestrian bridge over the Santa Lucia River in rural, western Panama. Their design is now awaiting funds for completion. Now Sophia is heading to the Peace Corps, and will be traveling back to Panama in July to complete her 27 months of service. She will primarily work in health and sanitation. “I am so grateful for the Garden Club's support throughout my college career which has given me amazing career and life opportunities,” she said.
Walker Livingston spent an eventful four years at George Washington, where he majored in international affairs, with a minor in Chinese. A most memorable part of his educational career was his time in Shanghai last summer. There he studied the Chinese workplace, the history of Shanghai and, of course, the language. Walker also worked with a tour group, helping to launch new projects. Despite a rigorous academic program, working and taking part in the many extracurricular activities offered at the university, he managed to graduate in December and will walk with his class in May.
Jan Aston is a retired school secretary, mother of four and chair of the Inverness Garden Club Scholarship Fund.