Three MSJC Students Earn Prestigious National Scholarships

May 6, 2015

A Mt. San Jacinto College student received the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship for 2015 and two other MSJC students were named Gates Millennium Scholars.

Ursula Simonoski, an Honors Enrichment Program student at MSJC, was one of only 90 recipients of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship in 2015. Simonoski, of Beaumont, was selected from a pool of 2,061 applicants nationwide.  Simonoski plans to complete her bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences at Cal Poly Pomona and then go to medical school.

Simonoski credits the honors faculty for challenging students to think critically and push themselves to do better.  She said winning this scholarship will serve as an inspiration to her family, too.

“It means that I can keep telling my kids to always do their best regardless of what they do because they will see how my life is going to change for the better, and theirs can too if they always follow their dreams and never give up,” Simonoski said.

Learn more about Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship programs at

See Also: Cooke Foundation Awards 90 Scholarships to Exceptionally Gifted Community College Students

San Jacinto High School seniors Jose Zamora Zeledon and Giovanni Gonzalez, dual enrollment students at Mt. San Jacinto College, have been named as winners of the 2015 Gates Millennium Scholarship. The prestigious scholarship is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and aims to remove financial barriers to higher education.

Zamora Zeledon participates in the Educational Talent Search program at MSJC.  Gonzales participates in the Upward Bound program at MSJC.  Both Talent Search and Upward Bound are TRIO Programs – Federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Zamora Zeledon has applied to University of California Berkeley and his goal is to become a Chemical Engineer/AstroPhysicist.

Gonzalez has applied to University of Irvine where he plans to major in Mechanical Engineering.

The Gates Millennium Scholarship is a full, four-year college scholarship to any U.S. accredited college. The scholarship is awarded based on academic achievement, leadership and community service. Learn more about the Gates Millennium Scholars Program at

Robert Hill, director of MSJC’s Talent Search Program, said he was thrilled to see Jose and Giovanni received the scholarship and called it a life-changing event for them. He also praised two staff members, Sebastian Rivera and Eva Aceves, for their support of these students.

Roger Schultz, superintendent/ president of MSJC, echoed Hill’s statement that the awards will change these students’ lives.

“I am so pleased that these scholarships are giving our students the opportunity to not only achieve their dreams, but perhaps even exceed their dreams,” Schultz said. “The scholarships recognize Ursula, Jose and Giovanni for their hard work and exceptionalism and I am so proud of them. Achievements like these happen when you have a great faculty and staff, like we do at MSJC, who are dedicated to helping our students succeed. I hope that after these three students complete their goals for higher education, they can return to our region to help improve the quality of life in the communities that helped them get their start."

Ursula Simonoski of Beaumont received the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship for 2015.

Giovanni Gonzalez, a dual enrollment student at Mt. San Jacinto College, received the 2015 Gates Millennium Scholarship.

Jose Zamora Zeledon, a dual enrollment student at Mt. San Jacinto College, received the 2015 Gates Millennium Scholarship.