Skip to content

Scholarships and Awards

History – Scholarships

The mission of UFC includes fundraising initiatives that support an endowed scholarship at UC Merced. When UFC was founded, then Chancellor Steve Kang and his wife, Mia, provided the initial funding, establishing the University Friends Circle Scholarship Fund. This fund has continued to grow from generous individual gifts, fundraising events, and the support of our recent Giving Tuesday campaigns. From its inception through 2023, $97,000 in scholarships has been provided to 44 recipients.

Each spring, eligible UC Merced students are invited to apply for the scholarship and recipients are chosen by a volunteer committee of UFC members. Because the endowment has grown significantly, UFC is able to offer an increasing number of scholarships in both quantity and value. Recipients are recognized at the annual Scholarship and Awards Reception each May.


In addition to the individual scholarships, the University Friends Circle honors campus student organizations with the Community Service Award to a student organization on campus. Student clubs that engage in significant community service projects are encouraged to apply for the annual $1,000 award. These awards are announced at the UC Merced Student Leadership Awards Ceremony and the group’s leadership is invited to attend the UFC Annual Scholarship and Awards Reception in the spring. Over the last 14 years, $15,000 has been provided in awards to student organizations that have had an impact. 

If you are a UC Merced student, you will find award information HERE.

2023 Award Winners

Community Service Organization Award:

  • Latinx Student Union
  • La Familia
  • RadioBio

Distinguished Volunteer Scholarship – 4 Recipients:

  • Delaney Nunes
  • Kyle Chun
  • Kimberly Barillas
  • Avreen Bal


Each spring, the UFC Scholarship and Awards Committee partners with UC Merced staff to solicit applications, select recipients, and disperse the awards.

The Committee carefully sets criteria, evaluates applications, conducts interviews, and selects recipients for both the Scholarship and the Award. Recipients selected exhibit leadership skills to organize meaningful service to others, demonstrate an active and ongoing commitment to the Merced Community, and have had a significant impact in the community as a result of a key project.

Get Involved

If you are a student who wishes to apply, you'll find a link here in early spring each year.

If you are interested in serving on the Scholarship and Awards Committee in the 2024-25 academic year, and are a current UFC member (or plan to become one!), please complete this form to share your interest. 

Make a contribution to the UFC Endowed Scholarship Fund

Make a contribution to the Student Impact Fund

A 2015 Winner is Presented

Prior Scholarship and Award Recipients

Since 2009, University Friends Circle has recognized the following UC Merced students and organizations:


Community Service Organization Award:

  • Student Alumni Association
  • RadioBio

Distinguished Volunteer Scholarship – 6 Recipients:

  • Avreen Bal
  • Kimberly Barillas
  • Hunter Prout
  • Cesy Ixcoy
  • Kyle Chun
  • Anayelli Ascencio


Community Service Organization Award:

  • Phi Delta Epsilon
  • RadioBio

Distinguished Volunteer Scholarship – 6 Recipients:

  • Gehad Elhanafy
  • Andrew King
  • Joshua Jones
  • Adrian Bultron Boada
  • Nickolas Morales Guillen
  • Emily Lichlyter


Community Service Organization Award: 

  • Quantitative Project
  • RadioBio

Distinguished Volunteer Scholarship – 6 Recipients:

  • Bridget Rosales-Ortiz
  • Eddie Phosalath
  • Julisa Arreola Renteria
  • Karla Leon-Aguilar
  • Holly Auyeung
  • Genesis Flores Renteria


Community Service Organization Award: 

  • Microfinance Club
  • RadioBio

Distinguished Volunteer Scholarship – 5 Recipients:

  • Valerie Moss
  • Cruzangel Nava
  • Maria Ocegueda
  • Brenda Castaneda-Castaneda
  • Nataly Rios Martinez


Community Service Organization Award: RadioBio

Distinguished Volunteer Scholarship – 7 Recipients:

  • Gagandip Singh
  • Gurbinder Singh
  • Brenda Castaneda-Castaneda
  • Dannavie Faye Abenojar
  • Zhane’ Mejino
  • Tamunotubo George
  • Jessica Lopez Lara


Community Service Organization Award: Society of Women Engineers

Distinguished Volunteer Scholarship – 4 Recipients:

  • Alexus Garcia
  • Andrea Gurrola
  • Asmaa Mohamed
  • Monica Perales


Community Service Organization Award: Ingenieros Unidos

Distinguished Volunteer Scholarship: Marqose Saephan


Community Service Organization Award: Ingenieros Unidos

Distinguished Volunteer Scholarship: Dalton Rogers


Community Service Organization Award: Science Alliance

Community Volunteer Leadership Scholarship: Merlyn Perez


Community Service Organization Award: Energy Conservation Corps

Community Volunteer Leadership Scholarship: Noel Justin Lee Gomez


Community Service Organization Award: Rho Omicron Chapter of Kappa Sigma Fraternity

Community Volunteer Leadership Scholarship: Gabriel Rodriguez


Community Service Organization Award: Alpha Phi Omega

Community Volunteer Leadership Scholarship: Shane Kavanaugh 


Community Service Organization Award: Rotaract