Celebrating Tomorrow’s Changemakers: Highlights from the 2022 Virtual Fellowship Breakfast

Tuesday, March 1, 2022
one breakout room from the Virtual Fellowship Breakfast 2022

One breakout room from the Virtual Fellowship Breakfast 2022

The speakers at this year’s Virtual Fellowship Breakfast expressed their sincere gratitude to our community of donors and supporters who play a critical role in filling the widening gap in state funding of public education. In his keynote address, Jules Zimmer Dean Jeffrey Milem provided a historical timeline of the rise in UC tuition in order to put in context why privately funded fellowship support is such a critical factor in the success of the school. Fellowships are crucial for our students who are poised to become the next leaders and changemakers in education and applied psychology.

“The University of California was established in recognition of the need for a vibrant public university to serve the state,” Milem explained. In 1868, tuition was $0 and remained that way for 53 years. “Incidental fees” were introduced in 1921 to cover services not related to instruction but the price tag remained relatively affordable until, in 1970, when the UC made a symbolic shift away from free tuition for residents by requiring all in-state students to pay an “educational fee.”

Then in 1978, Prop 13 put a cap on California property taxes and consequently crushed the state’s education budget. By 2012, students were the largest source of funding in the UC budget. “There is a big price to pay,” Milem remarked, “and it’s been a game of musical chairs to figure out who will be left to pay it. So far, the students are the ones standing when the music stops.”

Recognizing the challenges faced by current students, Gevirtz School donors have consistently stepped up to the plate. During the 2021-2022 academic year, 59 students received funds from 25 different fellowships awarded to students in all areas of the school: the Department of Counseling, Clinical & School Psychology (CCSP), the Department of Education, and the Teacher Education Program (TEP). Overall, privately funded fellowships provided more than $250,000 in awards.

“Receiving the Gale and Richard Morrison Fellowship helped fund an important part of my dissertation,” said Ryan Arellano, a doctoral student in Education and one of the morning’s four student speakers. “I was able to recruit the participants needed and did not have to take on another part-time job to do so.”

Ana Mercado, this year’s recipient of the Dr. Sabrina Tuyay Memorial Fellowship, spoke about passion for creating change within her community: “Upon earning my multiple subject credential and bilingual authorization, I hope to return to LA to teach in a Dual Language classroom. I want to go back to my community and help students realize the value in their cultural knowledge and everything they bring into the classroom every single day.” She shared her pride in carrying forward the legacy of Dr. Tuyay who was a beloved member of the TEP faculty and a dedicated educator always willing to push the boundaries to advocate for all students.

Isabelle Fleury, CCSP student who received a Ray E. Hosford Memorial Fellowship, and Mateo Ochoa, a recipient of the Dr. J Student Teacher Fellowship, spoke about embodying the changes they wish to see in their respective fields. “As a young student, I did not see the minority communities that I am a part of being adequately represented in the field of education,” Ochoa remarked. “A big reason the teaching career called to me is that I want to fill that gap I noticed as a child.”

“The fellows we are here with today are exceptional,” said Milem, looking around the virtual room at the 90 or so guests in attendance. “I appreciate their commitment to something bigger than themselves. They are positioned to be change makers of the highest order. I believe in my core that we need to do whatever we can do to support these changemakers.”