Meet the Scholars

2011 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 2011 Scholars

Thao Le

Senior, University of California at Los Angeles

Le, a graduating senior at the University of California at Los Angeles, was introduced to golf through Pro Kids Golf Academy in San Diego when she became an intern at their golf course and Learning Center. She has found that golf networking has opened many doors for her including an internship with Qualcomm, Inc. the past two summers. Le is a sociology major who has a passion for making an impact in the community. She says, “My goal is to graduate and then come back to my neighborhood (City Heights) and hopefully influence kids who were just like me who grew up in a community where others doubt your abilities and question your intelligence. I want to be a mentor and encourage other kids to want more out of life the way Pro Kids has helped me." Le will be graduating this June and is hoping to get a job with Qualcomm, Inc. and live close to friends and family in San Diego.

Cameron Scott

Graduate, University of California, San Diego

A scholar recipient since 2008, Scott was the first SCGA Foundation Scholar to fulfill graduation requirements and graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in Visual Media Arts. He was introduced to golf through Pro Kids Golf Academy in San Diego, where he still works while exploring his career opportunities. Last year, he held an internship with Groovy Like a Movie, where he was able to gain experience in production and videography. He says, “Now that I have successfully completed my college education, I hope to continue my involvement with potential Pro Kids scholars by providing them with my current college perspective from which they can learn to better prepare for their own college experience.”

Gary Nelson

, Mount San Jacinto College

Nelson currently attends Mount San Jacinto College and is working toward a degree in Kinesiology. He also works at Soboba Springs Golf Course and is a mentor for the younger junior golfers at Grandfathers for Golf, a golf and life skills program in Hemet. He would like to become a Physical Education teacher or start a program for children with special needs like himself. He says, “I love teaching and I love golf. There is nothing else that makes me happier than teaching someone and then when they get what you are teaching them; that really puts a smile on my face!” He is planning to transfer to Cal State San Marcos in the spring of 2012 to earn a Bachelors degree and was recently added to the President’s Honor Roll for his grades.

William Chryar

Freshman, Arizona State University

Chryar, a freshman at Arizona State University, is earning a degree in Business Sustainability. He played in his first golf tournament at the age of seven when he became involved in the Western States Golf Association. He is now a mentor for younger golfers at The First Tee of South Los Angeles and says, “Mentoring the younger generation is the best way I can think to give back to the community all that it has given me.” His ultimate dream would be to become a professional golfer and play on the PGA tour, but until that happens, he plans to pursue a degree in business so he “can earn an honest living in society.”

Mark Taylor

Sophomore , San Diego State University

Taylor, a sophomore at San Diego State University, is planning to major in Kinesiology and hopes to become a Physical Therapist. First introduced to golf by his father, he later became a member of Pro Kids Golf Academy in San Diego where he is still a volunteer assisting with fieldtrips, golf tournaments and administrative support. When addressing his first year in college he shares, “I had to mature and realize that being a full-time student isn’t just about fun and games. It’s about being on time to class, taking solid notes, reviewing those notes, preparing for the quizzes and exams and being ready for any unplanned event. As a recipient of this award, I will take full responsibility of this opportunity and will make sure that I stay focused in my studies of becoming a physical therapist.”

Wesley Levanduski

, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Levanduski attends the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and is in the Professional Golf Management program. His goal is to one day be a head professional or work for the First Tee.  In addition to his achievement of Eagle Level at The First Tee of the Central Coast, he is also a 12-year Eagle Scout and one of his most memorable projects was to collect, sort and create junior golf sets for other youth in the program. In addition, he was able to garner additional community support to create plaques with each of The First Tee’s core values for their golf course. Levanduski also works at the UCCS Family Development Center through the work study program and plans to spend the summer working at Maroon creek Club in Aspen,CO.

Alma Gutierrez

Freshman, California State University at Fullerton

Gutierrez, a freshman at California State University at Fullerton, is majoring in Political Science and working at the Tiger Woods Learning Center while she goes to school. Gutierrez, who played golf for Western High School, says, “I enjoy golf because it’s a great sport and it relieves stress.” About her job at Tiger Woods Learning Center, she says, “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. As to her academic goals, she hopes to become a lawyer and defend women’s rights. “I want to change the world into a better place and the SCGA is helping me by giving me a chance to attend college," she says.

Desiree Dominguez

Freshman, Fullerton College

Dominguez, a freshman at Fullerton College, was introduced to golf though the Tiger Woods Learning Center her freshman year of high school. She was the captain of the varsity golf team and feels that golf has taught her many things including patience, self improvement, manners and discipline. She says, “I think golf has made me a better person because it has made me try harder in school. If I don’t’ get good grades, then I cannot play golf.” Next year, she plans to transfer to Cal State LA to pursue a career in Criminal Justice and minor in Forensics. Dominguez, an active volunteer with the SCGA Foundation, says, “Volunteering is one of the best things a person can do in life.” She joined the Fullerton College Latina Leadership Team last year and has had an opportunity to work on various volunteer projects with them.

Ryan Herd

Freshman, Cypress College

Herd, a freshman at Cypress College, is intending to major in history with a focus in U.S. History. He plans to transfer to San Diego State, where he’d like to earn his teaching credentials. He says, “I want to make an impact on someone’s life and feel this is the best way to do it.” He says about his involvement with golf, along with the game of golf, that "the Tiger Woods Learning Center has taught me how to take all my potential for the game and use it in good ways. They taught me what it is like to give one hundred percent all the time and not just some of the time.”

Kenneth Punyasavatsut

Freshman, University of California Irvine

Punyasavatsut, a freshman at the University of California Irvine, is majoring in Nursing Science “in order to save the lives of many patients and have the chance to care for his parents." He has been involved with the Tiger Woods Learning Center since 2007,however he started playing golf when he was just five years old “to be like his sister." Kenny also volunteers weekly at the UC Irvine Medical Center, has volunteered with the SCGA Foundation and has donated his time to the IRS’ VITA program to assist low income families in preparing their tax returns.

Roberto Rosas

Freshman, Columbia University

Rosas, a freshman at Columbia University, plans to earn a business degree with a focus in Economics. He was introduced to golf though Pro Kids Golf Academy in San Diego and says, “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 was the captain of his varsity golf team at Parker, is the first to go to college in his family, taught himself English in middle school and has a 3.7 college GPA. He says, “My educational goal is to grasp a complete understanding of business and economics so I can enter the workforce after a four-year college experience and then enter graduate school after having some experience in the field of business." He recently interned at Macquarie Securities Group and has had the opportunity to observe different sellers and traders. He plans to stay in New York and work for them this summer.

Scott Coonis

Senior, Santa Ynez Valley Union High School

Coonis, a senior at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School and member of the First Tee of the Central Coast, is planning to attend Santa Barbara City College in the fall. He is interested in Video Game Design and would like to transfer to UC Irvine and minor in Animation. He hopes to focus his efforts specifically in the field of Creative Development. Coonis, who has overcome many obstacles related to his being diagnosed with Autism, has shown that he has been able to succeed despite life’s challenges, earning a 3.8 GPA in high school. He plans to learn to live independently as a college student.

Sharon Don

Senior, Savanna High School

A senior at Savanna High School and member of the Tiger Woods Learning Center, Don will be attending Cal State University of Fullerton in the fall. She plans to major in communications and enjoys writing, acting and graphic design. She is the Editor-in-Chief of her school newspaper and says, “as long as I could remember I loved to write stories, which is why I joined the school newspaper.” She credits the Tiger Woods Learning Center for “fueling her interests” and has been involved in the Computer Clubhouse building skills in graphic designing over the years.

Wally Gonzalez, Livingston Foundation Scholar

Senior, St. Augustine High School

A senior at St. Augustine High School, Gonzalez will be attending The University of Hartford in the fall where he will be playing on the golf team. He has been a member of Pro Kids Golf in San Diego for almost 10 years and says Pro Kids has meant a lot to him and has afforded him many unique opportunities such as being selected to play in the Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach twice and life skills such as interviewing and communication.  He has served as a Big Brother and retreat leader for his school, supported the Pro Kids summer camps and has volunteered to help feed the homeless in the San Diego, where he regularly gives back to the community. He plans to major in environmental science, civil engineering or landscape architecture.

Kristin Grimes

Freshman, Long Beach City College

Grimes, a freshman at Long Beach City College, plans to major in Business with a focus on International Business. 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 participated in the First Tee of South Los Angeles since 2003, where she feels that “golf has helped her through everyday challenges, formed her into a respectable young woman and given her the acknowledgement that she can accomplish anything.” Grimes was recently named an SCGA Foundation Founding G.A.M.E Club Member, where she is helping to support the SCGA Foundation and its program expansion plans. She has also been a youth ambassador for the SCGA Foundation and will be playing in the Golf Marathon.

Grisell Medina, Livingston Foundation Scholar

Senior, Katella High School

A senior at Katella High School and member of the Tiger Woods Learning Center, Medina plans to attend Chapman University in the fall and major in Psychology. She says in her career statement, “I intend 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.” Medina, 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." Her focus has helped her with her six core AP classes and 3.8 GPA.

Madilena Mendiola

Senior, Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego

A senior at Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, Mendiola has been an active member of Pro Kids Golf since 2004, where she was recognized in 2009 as the All-Academic Athlete of the Year. She is attending Mount Holyoke College in the fall and says this about her academic goals. “I want to pursue a career which encompasses my interests in civil engineering and environmental sustainability”, Mendiola said. She also plans to major in either mathematics or science. She has been the captain of her varsity golf team, graduated with a 4.0 GPA and is now looking forward to playing on the Mount Holyoke golf team.

Eduardo Muñoz

Senior, Savanna High School

Muñoz, a senior at Savanna High School in Anaheim and member of the Tiger Woods Learning Center, will be attending Allegheny College in the fall. He is a first generation student to attend college and “has his heart set on becoming a physician and feels this will combine his love for science and furthermore help Man in general." He is also a Savanna Student Ambassador and says he has “significant influence in extending the student voice to the community." Muñoz believes in the “pay it forward theory,” and has raised heath care awareness by way of an organization called, The Hearts that Believe and the Hands that Achieve (HOSA).

Eduardo Rivas

Senior, Savanna High School

A senior at Savanna High School, Rivas is a member of the Tiger Woods Learning Center and will be attending Chapman University in the fall. He is not sure of his career or major yet, but says he,” hopes that throughout his years in college, he would grow to become a better leader, learner and thinker and whichever major he chooses, he will be applying it to the goal of helping other people in need." Rivas has had an impact in his community through his many diverse 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."

Vivian Shoemaker

Freshman, Mount San Jacinto Community College

A member of Grandfathers for Golf and a senior at San Jacinto High School, Shoemaker hopes to become a large animal veterinarian. She will be attending Mount San Jacinto Community College and plans to transfer to UC Davis. She is a member of the Future Farmers of America, is avid in Desert Racing and plays Varsity High School Golf where she was recognized as the 2010 Most Valuable Player of the Mountain Pass League. She says about her family and golf, “It’s not very often that an entire family can go out and play the same sport and have some good competition going on, and I am so appreciative that I get that opportunity.”

Titus Wu

Freshman, Cypress College

A freshman at Cypress College, Wu says his education priority is to transfer to UCLA as a Business Economics major and hopes to one day create a non-profit golf country club where club memberships will be for students who want to attend college but have financial needs. 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 preservere through the obstacle and hope you can get the ball into the hole.” Wu has been involved with the Tiger Woods Learning Center for three years and volunteers there to help students with homework and academic support.