Two MiraCosta College students, Josue Luna and Sarah Schwab, have been awarded the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship to cover the final two or three years necessary to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Not to exceed $40,000 annually, the scholarship will pay the student’s educational expenses including tuition, living expenses, books and required fees. As the largest private scholarship for two-year and community college transfer students in the country, only 47 recipients were selected. MiraCosta College has had five other recipients in the award’s 18-year history: Jamie Cook (2012), Travis Williamson (2014), Omer Azizi (2017), Farshud Sorourifar (2017), and Vanessa “Van” Reynolds (2017).
Out of thousands of applicants nationwide and the only two from San Diego County, Josue Luna and Sarah Schwab were selected based on a focus on academic ability, persistence, leadership, and service to others.
As recipients of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, Luna and Schwab will have the opportunity to apply for the Graduate Scholarship, equating to $50,000 toward educational costs to pursue a graduate degree.
Josue Luna, a first generation Mexican-American, grew up in the Vista community.
Originally attracted to MiraCosta College for financial reasons, Luna explains his decision better prepared him for transfer to a four-year university. At MiraCosta, Luna became involved in organizations like the Honors Scholar Program and MEChA and found a passion for giving back to his college and greater community. Luna focuses his attention on helping children and communities, or groups of people, who are underrepresented in education.
Music and fitness are key components in Luna’s life. He’s played the acoustic and electric guitars for five years, sung in his church choir, and remains active as a former Cross Country and Track & Field athlete.
Luna plans on transferring to UC San Diego, where he will complete a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering only to follow with two master’s degrees and finally a PhD in aeronautical engineering. “I hope to become a lead researcher for our defense industry and enhance current military projects, such as fighter jets or drone technology, to provide the best for our soldiers who serve and protect our country.”
Sarah Schwab, born and raised in Southern California, grew up in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, where she spent her childhood in surf contests and doing tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding and steel work with her father. Thinking a four-year university wasn’t for her, while in high school, Sarah focused on a job as a lifeguard and EMT. Her father, a MiraCosta alumni, encouraged her to explore the many opportunities MiraCosta had to offer. Upon the completion of her first calculus class, Sarah fell in love with math.
Schwab’s immediate goal is to transfer to UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, or University of Southern California, where she will complete a dual major in biochemistry and chemistry.
When asked about her career goal, Schwab explains, “It’s kind of gnarly, in surfer terms, but I really want to get a PhD/MD. You do a dual graduate degree where you go to medical school for two years, get your five to eight-year PhD degree, and then finish two years of medical school. I really want to apply my education to emergency medicine and invent and design new devices to help people prolong their life in emergency situations.”
From rebuilding the engines in cars to inventing medical devices that may save lives, Sarah Schwab’s passion to positively impact the world is apparent in all that she does.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private, independent foundation dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Because they believe that high-potential, low-income students will excel educationally when given the resources to develop their talents, the foundation supports exceptional students from elementary school to graduate school through scholarships, grants, direct service, and knowledge creation and dissemination. Founded in 2000 by the estate of Jack Kent Cooke, the foundation has awarded $175 million for over 2,300 scholarships and $97 million in grants to organizations that support its mission. www.jkcf.org.