Meet the Scholars

2013 SCGA Youth on Course Scholars

SCGA Youth on Course Scholarship Program is designed to help youth continue their education in college or vocational school. This year, $110,000 will be distributed to 34 students for tuition, room and board, and educational supplies.

Meet the 2013 Scholars

Reece Akana

Freshman, Harvard University

Reece is taking his talents to Harvard University, where he will be studying Pre-Med and continuing his love for music. Reece created the “Composing Music for Kids with Cancer” program at Rady’s Children’s Hospital where he meets children, composes an original song with lyrics and surprises them with a CD of the collection. On the course, Reece was captain of his high school team and won the South Bay League Championship twice. “I realized that golfing helped my confidence grow stronger.”

Carolane Gariepy

Freshman, California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo

Upon graduating from Vista Murrieta High School, Carolane will head to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to join the women’s golf team and study mechanical engineering. Her goal is “to create something that makes an impact on the world." Carolane was one of 30 junior female golfers to play in the Kraft Nabisco Legends Junior Challenge, where she was competing for the final amateur spot in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. She finished her high school career with a CIF Championship victory in the team event. She reflects, “I learned how competition and countless hours at practice with determination drives towards success as obstacles are only temporary.” She helps her community with these obstacles by volunteering as the chairman for the Vista Murrieta High School Blood Drive.  

Kari Gordon

Freshman, University of Redlands

Kari is the organizer of Lunches with Love events for Key Club at Mira Costa High School and says, “I feel that I have a purpose in life; I know I can make a difference for a future generation.” At the University of Redlands, she will play on the women’s golf team while obtaining a degree in Liberal Arts. Kari credits her strength in public speaking to the VAULT program events she was a part of. “Five years later, after a few public speeches and some end of the day reflections, I feel much more confident about presenting myself in front of a large crowd.”

Raquel Gordon

Freshman, University of Redlands

After being introduced to SCGA Youth on Course through The First Tee program, Raquel was asked to be one of the founding members of the VAULT program. She has represented Youth on Course at many events, including the annual summer kickoff where she spoke about her involvement in the VAULT program to other junior golfers and parents. Raquel, along with her twin sister Kari, will play on the women’s golf team at University of Redlands. As a four-year scholar athlete, Raquel plans to combine those passions by representing her school on the golf team while earning her teaching credentials.

Sachi Hamada

Freshman, California State University, Long Beach

Sachi will be studying Graphic Design while playing on the 49ers women’s golf team this coming fall. She hopes her passion for graphic design will lead her to creating her own golf clothing company or be able to join a company like Nike or Adidas. Her golf career began at the Tiger Woods Learning Center in 2006 and she became one of the first VAULT members. Sachi has been heavily involved in Youth on Course events for many years, including playing in the annual Golf Marathon. “After signing up for the program my hours of golf practice hit an all-time high and my game was flourishing with the help of YoC.” Sachi hopes to give back to her community after college and coach junior golfers.

Savannah Knox

Freshman, California State University, Long Beach

Savannah will join fellow first-time scholar recipient Sachi Hamada at CSULB to play on the women’s golf team. She will study business and hopes to own her own company one day. After knee surgery in 2010, Savannah came back stronger than ever by defending her title as Eastern League Player of the Year, competing in the 2013 Nature Valley First Tee Open and winning three junior golf tournaments the next summer.  Savannah notes, “Golf, to me, had been a sport. The First Tee and SCGA Youth on Course introduced character to the game.” 

Torrey Munoz

Freshman, Palomar College

Torrey plans to major in geography, with a goal to work for the CIA. One of Torrey’s true loves in life is giving back to his community by volunteering his time with Key Club and Build a Miracle. He has participated in house building trips to Tijuana almost every month for the last year and a half.  A noteworthy accomplishment of Torrey’s was when he rode his bike from Yuma, Arizona to the Pacific Ocean in six days while he was on spring break in fifth grade.

Sathya Peri

Freshman, Bentley University

As one of the most active users of the Youth on Course Golf Pass, Sathya has been able to grow within the game of golf and had the opportunity to play exclusive courses such as Bel-Air CC and The Los Angeles CC through the VAULT program. He will play on the golf team at Bentley University in Mass. this fall while studying entrepreneurship and finance. He hopes to use his degree to continue to “nurture his passion for becoming a world-renowned financial manager in order to help others achieve their own goals.”  Sathya is constantly nurturing these interests by trading stocks and developing innovating products to advance modern society.

Said Shaba

Freshman, UC Berkeley

Said will graduate from Crawford High School in San Diego this June and plans to study political science at Cal. Politics has long been a part of his life as Said has been actively involved in Crawford’s ASB holding.  His goal is to make a difference in the world and give back to his community. “I want my pursuit of the highest forms of education to benefit the people around me.” Said has been actively involved in reviving school programs and initiatives to better his classmates’ high school experience.

Alec Spencer

Freshman, University of La Verne

Alec will head off to University of La Verne this coming fall where he plans to study business and play on the golf team. He had an impressive high school golf career where he was nominated for Male Athlete of the Year three times. Alec will look to make an immediate impact for the La Verne Leopards. His dedication to the game expands off the course as well, where he has been director of the Terry Spencer Golf Memorial tournament since 2011. He attributes Youth on Course for helping him respect the course and the game that he is fortunate to play.

Eugene Yang

Freshman, UC Berkeley

Eugene will attend Cal with the goal of ultimately obtaining a Master’s Degree in Finance and one day be a CFO of a company. Eugene joined Pro Kids when he was in seventh grade and volunteered his time ever since. “Having the chance to interact with these kids has given me the satisfaction, knowing our future generations are in good hands.”  He credits Youth on Course for allowing him to grow his skills within the game of golf and reinforcing the values that have made him the young man he is today.


Meet the 2013 Returning Scholars

Sophomore, UC San Diego, SCGA Presidents Scholar

Jorgeo plans to major in Electrical Engineering and join the golf team in his sophomore year. Jorgeo is an active member of the Pro Kids Academy in San Diego as well as being an active Youth on Course participant. “I had already been playing golf for a long time, prior to the Youth on Course program. However, thanks to the program, I was able to play more golf and improve my game. I cannot thank SCGA Youth on Course enough.”

Scott Coonis

Sophomore, Santa Barbara Community College

Scott has just completed his first year at SBCC. In the near future, he is planning to transfer to University of California, Irvine and study Video Game Design. He hopes to focus his efforts specifically in the field of Creative Development. Coonis, who has overcome many obstacles in his life, has shown that he has been able to succeed despite life’s challenges. “I want to thank SCGA Youth on Course for awarding me a scholarship. The generosity has taught me to always believe in myself and to aim high.”

Desiree Dominguez

Junior, California State University, Fullerton

Desi will be transferring to Cal State Fullerton in the fall where she will be majoring in Criminal Justice. Desi was introduced to golf through the Tiger Woods Learning Center her freshman year of high school. She feels that golf has taught her many things including patience, self-improvement, manners and discipline. An active volunteer with SCGA Youth on Course, Desi says, “Volunteering is one of the best things a person can do in life.” Desi has now started to work at the Pico Rivera Golf Course helping with the new Youth on Course instruction program there. 

Sharon Don

Junior, California State University, Fullerton

Sharon is majoring in Advertising and enjoys writing, acting and graphic design. She wants to pursue a career as a creative director. As a past participant and current volunteer for the Tiger Woods Learning Center, she credits TWLC for “fueling her interests.” By getting involved in the Computer Clubhouse, she has built her skills in graphic designing. In addition to working with the Tiger Woods Learning Center and volunteering at the SCGA and Friendship Circle, Sharon completed her first 5K this year while also maintaining a 4.0 GPA and earning Honorable Mention for her commercial entry in the “Why Soda Sucks” campaign.

Long Duong

Sophomore, UC Santa Cruz

Long is attending University of California, Santa Cruz where he is majoring in Business Management Economics. He has been a member of the Pro Kids Academy in San Diego since the 7th grade and was drawn in when a member of its staff spoke at his middle school. “Seeing him hit a chip from 30 yards away into the hole amazed my friend and I. It was an amazing shot that got me hooked on golf.” Along with playing golf, he is also a four-year varsity tennis player and was team captain. While in college he has joined many clubs and is running to be a Vice President of Administration for Circle K International. 

Wally Gonzalez

Junior, University of Hartford, Livingston Foundation Scholar

Wally is majoring in Business Management while also playing for the Hartford Hawks golf team. He competed in 11 tournaments as a freshman and placed third in the Connecticut Cup Tournament in October. In addition to school and golf, he volunteered with the First Tee of Connecticut to teach kids about the game he loves and the life skills that it can teach. He hopes that after graduation he can open his own golf business. He said, “I want to do this because I want to be close to the game of golf, which I am so passionate about.”

Andrea Granados

Sophomore, Fullerton College

Andrea is attending Fullerton College and playing on the golf team. She is an active member of the Tiger Woods Learning Center and when asked about the effect it has had on her, she said “It was the most important day of my life when I entered the building in 2008 … I felt very comfortable and knew it was an amazing place.” Andrea was a four-year golfer in high school, where her team won the Orange League championship twice and played in the C.I.F. Championship three times. She explained that golf has taught her “respect, integrity, honor and character” and has had a strong impact on the person she is today.  Andrea continues to volunteer at the Tiger Woods Learning Center, SCGA, and her old elementary school. 

Kristin Grimes

Junior, Southern Illinois University

Kristin has transferred to Southern Illinois University (SIU) and is the first African American to compete on their women’s golf team.  She plans to major in Global Management (International Business Management) and is in the process of applying for internships and study abroad programs. She says, “with the skills I have learned from my family, golf and teachers, I will be able to succeed in my chosen field of study." She has been playing golf since 2002 and says golf was a “family sport.” She has also been a participant in the First Tee of South Los Angeles since 2003, where she feels that “golf has helped her through everyday challenges, shaped her into a respectable young woman and given her the acknowledgement that she can accomplish anything.”

Alma Gutierrez

Senior, California State University, Fullerton

Alma is majoring in Anthropology, with a focus on Cultural Anthropology. Alma will be spending her last semester in college studying abroad in Italy through the Academic Programs International.  Her goals after school are to join the Peace Corps and eventually earn her Doctorate in Anthropology, focusing on globalization. “I want to change the world into a better place and the SCGA is helping me do that by giving me a chance to attend college," she says. Even while being in school, she still continues her work with the Tiger Woods Learning Center. When asked about her passion for working at Tiger Woods Learning Center, she explained that, “I am a role model to the students and that makes me feel good because some of those children do not have roles models they can look up to.” Alma is part of the TWLC Leadership Team and tutors their students.

Ryan Herd

Junior, California State University, Northridge

Ryan is graduating from Cypress College with an Associate’s degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences and will be transferring to Cal State Northridge in the fall. Ryan has volunteered in many of the SCGA events such as the fundraiser at Wilshire Country Club and kickoff at Pico Rivera Golf Course. He explained about his involvement in golf and SCGA Youth on Course that, “it has taught me how to take all my potential for the game and use it in good ways.”

Victor Jackson Jr.

Sophomore, Morehouse College

Victor will major in Biology/PreMed and has hopes to play on the golf team. As a member of the First Tee of South Los Angeles, he has worked as a volunteer instructor, using the skills he learned as a three-time varsity golf captain at his high school. He also served as the President of the Young Black Scholars Leadership Council, where he organizes and leads YBS workshops. Having participated in SCGA Youth on Course events such as VAULT Play Days, he explained that, “being involved with the SCGA has made me a better person and golfer, both on and off the course.”

Ezequiel Jauregui

Sophomore, UC San Diego

Ezequiel is attending University of California, San Diego, where he plans to major in neuroscience and physiology with the intention of attending graduate school. He has been a member of the Tiger Woods Learning Center for the past five years and, even though he joined initially because of his golf interest, it has become so much more to him. “The center quickly became my second home, a place where I learned more about myself and could explore different career paths through hands-on activities.” He has also been very active with the SCGA Foundation and told us that “the Foundation has prepared me both academically and individually to plan ahead and accomplish my goals.”

Madilena Mendiola

Junior, Mount Holyoke College

During the fall semester, Madilena completed on Mount Holyoke College’s golf team where she earned Liberty League Player of the week four times while being co-captain. Outside of golf she was the chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and she has joined the research group headed by Janice Hudgings, Chair of the Physics Department. She had declared her major as a Physic major and a philosophy minor. In regard to her future after graduation, she stated that, “I want to pursue a career in which I can contribute to the improvement of human life.” She was an active member of Pro Kids Golf from 2004 until 2011, where, in 2009, she was recognized as the All-Academic Athlete of the Year.

Grisel Medina

Junior, Chapman University

Livingston Foundation Scholar: Grisel is majoring in Psychology with an emphasis on counseling and minoring in Spanish. She says in her career statement that she “intends to dedicate myself in my career where I am able to benefit my surrounding community. I will work myself up and dedicate my time to be a psychologist and apply it to my everyday life, where I can also learn from others.” In the fall of 2013, Grisel is going to be studying abroad in Seville, Spain where she will be applying for an internship abroad as well as volunteering through many opportunities that the Spanish Studies Abroad has to offer. Grisel, who says she is a beginner in golf, is “aware of the traits that the game can build within me and it involves a lot of focus." In addition to her volunteer work with SCGA Youth on Course, she has worked with the Boys and Girls Club of Anaheim as a mentor.

Eduardo Muñoz

Junior, Allegheny College

Eduardo has studied abroad in Germany during fall 2012 where his entire curriculum was focused solely on the mastery of the German Language as well as German culture, modern history, art history, and politics. He is glad to be back taking science classes again and pursing his major in Biology. He is planning on taking the MCAT at the end of his third year in college and is going to enroll in Medical School after graduating. “I want to continue my pure love of science by continuing research in the manner I am doing so now and pursue other projects with other labs through these internships and hopefully the joint M.D./Ph.D. program.” Eduardo is a research assistant and volunteers regularly at the Meadville Medical Center through a program called the Patient Advocacy Program. 

Kenneth Punyasavatsut

Senior, UC Irvine

Kenny is majoring in Nursing Science “in order to save the lives of many patients and have the chance to care for his parents." Kenny currently interns at the St. Francis Medical Center in the Surgery Department on a weekly basis. “As of today, I took an interest of becoming a RN in the Surgery Department after interning in here for the past nine months.” Kenny started playing golf when he was just five years old with the hope “to be like his sister." Since 2007, he has been involved with the Tiger Woods Learning Center, where he works every Saturday and is a frequent volunteer at many SCGA Youth on Course events. Most recently, he played in the 2012 Golf Marathon at Arcadia Golf Club, raising $1,275 for the scholarship program. He was also named this year’s SCGA Foundation Volunteer of the Year.

Elise Polk

Sophomore, UCLA

Elise is attending UCLA where she is majoring in Biology. Having overcome many obstacles in her life, she earned a 4.22 GPA in high school while also building an impressive golf resume. She competed all four years while earning team MVP honors four times, team captain twice and first team all-conference honors three times. A member of the Pro Kids Academy in San Diego, she was introduced to the game of golf in 2005 at a camp held at their facility. She has continued to be a fixture at the facility, volunteering every Friday to help with homework as well as golf.

Eduardo Rivas

Junior, Lewis & Clark College

Eduardo is currently a double major, studying Psychology and Hispanic Studies. When asked about his future, he replied that he “hopes that throughout his years in college, he will grow to become a better leader, learner and thinker and apply what he learns to the goal of helping other people in need." Rivas has had an impact in his community through his many volunteer roles and says, “I care about my community because I feel comfortable living here, and I want to make a change so it can be a better place." Eduardo dedicates a lot of his time to a club called MOSAIC which stands for Multicultural Organization Seeking an Inclusive Community. 

Roberto Rosas

Senior, Columbia University

Roberto is working towards his Economics degree and has just added Hispanic Studies as his second major to prepare for his semester abroad in Barcelona. He was introduced to golf though Pro Kids Golf Academy in San Diego. He said that, “becoming a part of the Pro Kids community was truly an amazing experience. Members looked far beyond racial difference and economic backgrounds because we were all tightly connected by a passion for golf.” He is the first person to go to college in his family and was able to teach himself English in middle school. He says, “The one thing I know for certain is that I want to start my own business after graduate school, and to make an impact in Latin America.” He recently completed an internship at Macquarie Securities Group in New York and plans to work with Qualcomm this summer in San Diego.

Vivian Shoemaker

Junior, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater

Vivian will be transferring to University of Wisconsin at Whitewater where she will be competing on the golf team in the fall. So far she has earned two Associates degrees and played two very successful seasons of college golf at Mt. San Jacinto College. This past year she had found her passion of American Sign Language.  “I fell in love last semester and that’s why I decided to become a Speech Pathologist.” She joined the MSJC ASL Club and attends Deaf Events quite regularly. In the future she is thinking about becoming an interpreter as a stepping stone career while she earns a Master’s degree in Speech Pathology.  She has volunteered at multiple SCGA Foundation events, including the 2011 Golf Marathon, Mission Hills CC with Dr. Keenan Barber, and the Kickoff at Pico Rivera. 

Titus Wu

Junior, USC

Titus has completed two years at Cypress College and transferred to USC in the spring of 2013 to study Business. He has been involved with the Tiger Woods Learning Center for four years and volunteers there to help students with homework and academic support. He was also a volunteer for this year’s Junior Blind Golf Clinic. Wu says this about golf: “In life, there are always obstacles blocking you from attaining your goals, and in golf, there is always a bunker before you reach the hole. You have to persevere through the obstacle and hope you can get the ball into the hole.”

David Yambao

Sophomore, Irvine Valley College

David is attending Irvine Valley College, where he originally planned to study either Biology or Nursing. But taking different course in college, he has found a passion for math and computer science.  David has a passion for the game of golf. Although he has only been playing for a few years, through hard work and help from the Tiger Woods Learning Center, he hopes to be able to play in college. Not only did the Tiger Woods Learning Center help him with golf, but it has also taught him how to set goals and work hard to achieve them.  In addition to all his classes, David has a part-time job in the pro shop at the local Youth on Course-certified golf facility, Lake Forest Golf and Practice Center.