Achieving the Dream

September 17, 2012

Computer science and linguistics major Megan Vassey
(Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

Gifts to UCSC support scholarships for high-achieving students, like Megan.

Megan Vassey
Crown College ’13

Hometown: I come from the small town of Valley Springs (pop. 4,000) in Calaveras County.

Major: Computer science and linguistics.

Why I chose UC Santa Cruz: I came to cheer camp at UCSC and thought the campus was so pretty, plus it was the perfect distance from my hometown. But I also received a huge package from the ACCESS program for high-achieving, financially disadvantaged students. Besides a $10,000 scholarship for the first two years, I was put in a learning community where I got to know other engineering students. We all lived in quiet housing at Crown and had the same mindset. It was a way to form community and also get help when I needed it.

Obstacles I faced: I was a straight-A student and third in my high-school class, but my family wasn’t able to provide much financial support for college. Besides the ACCESS scholarship, I received the Amy Beth Snader Memorial Scholarship, which was named in honor of an alumna in Computer and Information Sciences. The scholarships made all the difference so I could get an education at a UC campus.

Future ambitions: I want to go to grad school and eventually work as a speech pathologist.

A new challenge: I’ll be working as a research assistant for Marilyn Walker (professor of computer science) to create programs that will design dialogue, based on variables such as speaker personality and interaction history for use in video games.

Why philanthropy is important: Without the generosity of other people, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to come here to learn. I have loved my time at UCSC and, if I have the ability, will definitely give back to the university.