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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.

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 in the spring.


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 Annual Scholarship and Awards Reception in the spring.


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 interested in serving on the Scholarship and Awards Committee, and are a current UFC member, 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

Scholarship and Award Recipients

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


Community Service Organization Award – 

  • Microfinance Club
  • RadioBio

Distinguished Volunteer Scholarship –

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


Community Service Organization Award – RadioBio

Distinguished Volunteer Scholarship – 

  • 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


Distinguished Volunteer Scholarship – Marqose Saephan

Community Service Organization Award – Ingenieros Unidos


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