This year, six SDEF Scholars graduated! Of these, five received undergraduate degrees and one received a teaching credential. Congratulations to Alberto Vega Hernandez, Mackenzie Kelly, Oliver Balanzar Flores, Chris Cheng, Brandon Kennedy, and Linda Chung Rodriquez! 

During June, we interviewed and accepted nine new Scholars, so we have 40 Scholars  who will attend college in the Fall of 2020. These students are attending college locally – SDSU, UCSD, USD,and San Diego County community colleges. All are graduates of high schools within the San Diego Unified School District and are between ages 18-22. These bright young men and women, studying for a STEM or Teaching career, receive a bi-annual scholarship stipend to help with their educational needs including tuition, books, fees, technology, transportation and emergency needs – whatever fits best for their circumstances.


This past spring, we asked what life lessons our Scholars learned as a result of living during the pandemic and quarantine. Their wisdom, compassion, resourcefulness, determination, and proactive answers were a testament to their commitment to obtain an undergraduate degree in these difficult times and make the world we share a better place. Below are excerpts from some of the responses.

  • It’s crucial to listen to science and follow the advice given by medical professionals
  • The standard of what it means to be productive changed dramatically; it’s okay to be still during such chaotic times
  • I shouldn’t take the loved ones around me for granted
  • Being prepared and able to adapt to rapidly changing situations is an important skill
  • With all the distractions, it’s important to have a good study space and I feel more productive now I reorganized my work space
  • I learned I should not procrastinate and just get my homework done
  • In order to be successful you have to adapt to the changing environment quickly, and taking classes online has been a great benefit
  • It can be stressful especially if you’re not handy with technology
  • You never know what each day brings you and you just have to be responsible adults and be prepared
  • I’ve discovered old hobbies and learned new ones
  • When people are scared we can’t blame them for thinking of themselves first so I hope people can be more considerate of others not just now but always
  • I have to put a lot of effort into structuring my life so it’s easier to go through the day
  • Be mindful of what’s around us listening and remembering those who are vulnerable like children and the homeless
  • Enjoy yourself, explore your talent, and try new hobbies

These students told us how they have accepted the responsibility of moving forward during difficult times. This work would not be possible without the generous support of the people, businesses, and foundations in our community. Thank you for your support of these remarkable young people.


SDEF EIN is 95-6095413


The San Diego Education Fund, established in 1954, provides scholarships, mentoring and counseling to first generation, ethnically diverse college students to become teachers, scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians in San Diego.

SDEF believes that education provides the basis for individual opportunity and economic vitality. As Thomas Jefferson and Horace Mann argued, free access to public education and the health of our democracy are inextricably linked. To remain a strong democracy, public education must provide the nation's youth with the knowledge, the foresight, the vocabulary, and the analytic skills that responsible citizenship demands.