2023 College Scholarship Program Winners

Student holding graduation capAs part of its commitment to investing in the communities it serves, California Water Service Group (Group) has awarded $75,000 in scholarships to 12 students living in its California, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Washington service areas for the 2023–2024 academic year. Whether studying chemistry at Harvard or aerospace engineering at Stanford, eight out of 12 of these scholarship recipients are first-generation college students, some having overcome physical and financial obstacles to make their college dreams a reality.

“These recipients are truly remarkable students who are already making their mark on the world, and they will undoubtedly inspire others to do the same,” said Martin A. Kropelnicki, Chairman, President & CEO. “We are proud to offer these scholarships to ease the financial burden of college for these students, who have so aptly displayed their commitment to improving lives around them.”

From 348 applications, three students were each awarded a $10,000 grand-prize scholarship based on academic achievement, community service, and financial need, while nine others received $5,000 scholarships. The top scholarship winners included:

  • Jeffrey Fung, of Los Altos, Calif., a fourth-year college student studying chemistry at Harvard College. Upon graduation, he hopes to work on cutting-edge therapies in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Naomi Kao, of Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., a first-year student, will study Human Biology at Stanford University with a two-part application, merging stem cell research discoveries for cancer cures, while fighting for greater legislative policy that would expedite the development of new treatments.
  • Mallory Sutherland, of Bakersfield, Calif., a second-year college student studying Agricultural Business at California State University, Fresno wants to be an advocate and educate people on the role that agriculture plays globally.

The remaining scholarship recipients received $5,000:

  • Jaden Banks, of Menlo Park, Calif., who will soon begin his first year of environmental engineering at University of California, Berkeley, as the first in his family to attend college.
  • Veronica Baralt, of Bakersfield, Calif., a first-generation college student and first-year college student, who will study electrical engineering at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
  • Anthony Bono, of Graham, Wash., also a first-year and first-generation college student, off to study business management at Montana State University.
  • Gabrielle Brock, of Willows, Calif., a first-year student who will study zoology at Humboldt State University.
  • Jacelyn Lau, of Pukalani, Hawaii, a second-year and first-generation college student, studying accounting at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
  • Raef Makrai, of San Mateo, Calif., a second-year college student studying data science and economics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also the first in his family to attend college.
  • Betsy Ramsell, of Rio Communities, N.M., also a first-generation college student, who attends the University of New Mexico and studies psychology and human services.
  • Joshua Salinas, of Bakersfield, Calif., a first-year student who will be the first in his family to attend college. Salinas will study engineering at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
  • Angel Villeraldo, of Los Angeles, Calif., a first-generation and first-year college student set to study aerospace engineering at Stanford University.

The annual scholarships are part of Group’s stockholder-funded philanthropic giving program and do not affect customers’ rates. The program is administered by Scholarship America, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. To date, Group has provided $675,000 in scholarships to students through the program.