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Portraits Scholarship Recipients

Top row, left to right: Judi Abegania, Agustin Arredondo, Delia Cortez, Leigh Ann Haley, Patricia Jardack. Bottom row, left to right: Miriam Llamas-Cardenas, Krista Loretto, Geno Mehalik, Christina Montano. Not pictured: Claudia Sosa-Hernandez. 

"I'm so thankful to the UCLA Retirees Association for investing in my professional development as a UCLA staff member. These donations bring new life to the work that staff do every day." - Geno Mehalik, scholarship recipient

UCLA staff are the glue that holds the University together. Some 31,000 strong, staff are professionals, administrators, technicians and other hands-on employees in all fields of endeavor - the support team that enables UCLA to excel in its mission of teaching, research and service. To recognize and support current staff, UCLARA has established a Staff Development Scholarship endowment fund to provide annual awards to those who wish to attend conferences or take educational courses to further their careers. UCLA Staff Assembly administers these awards. 

Since 2013, UCLARA has funded at least four staff scholarships annually, adding additional awards when the operating budget permitted. In 2022 UCLARA funded ten scholarships, the highest number yet. The 2021-22 scholarship recipients are Judi Abegania, Agustin Arredondo, Delia Cortez, Leigh Ann Haley, Patricia Jardack, Miriam Llamas-Cardenas, Krista Loretto, Geno Mehalik, Christina Montano and Claudia Sosa-Hernandez. Here's a look at their plans:

Judi Abegania, an assistant biosafety officer in Environment, Health & Safety, is pursuing Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. She plans to take the PMP exam preparation course at UCLA Extension.

Agustin Arredondo, a counselor in political science, has already been accepted into UCLA’s Educational Leadership doctoral program. He plans to use his award toward tuition and books. 

Delia Cortez is a palliative care social worker. She is pursuing a capstone project in her leadership program in the  NYU Silver School of Social Work, studying the experiences of Latino patients with palliative care. Her award will help fund her capstone. 

Leigh Ann Haley, a project manager in Public Health, is also pursuing Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. She plans to use her award to take the PMP exam preparation course at UCLA Extension. 

Patricia Jardack, a nutrition services manager for the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, wants to be board-certified in oncology nutrition. She plans to use her funds for study materials and the exam fee. 

Miriam Llamas-Cardenas is an employee & labor relations consultant for Campus Human Resources. She begins the Master of Legal Studies program at UCLA Law in the fall. The scholarship will help pay for her books.

Krista Loretto, a graduate student affairs officer for Health Policy and Management, has decided to pursue an M.Ed. degree while working. Her goal is to be a better student adviser with a strong social justice perspective. Her award will be put toward tuition. 

Geno Mehalik is an outreach and programs manager for the Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness Center. He wants to attend the American College Health Association 2022 Annual Conference in San Diego, in part to learn about administering new professional development programs. 

Christina Montano, a rental events associate in Theater Management Services, is pursuing an emergency management and homeland security certificate through UCLA Extension. She is working on emergency action plans for Royce Hall and other performance venues. Her award will help with fees for her final course. 

Claudia Sosa-Hernandez, a medical assistant at UCLA’s Department of Medicine, is taking GE classes to qualify for the registered nurse program at Pasadena City College.

Support Staff Development Scholarships

Your tax-deductible gift helps ensure that these scholarships will be awarded in perpetuity. Gifts of any amount are appreciated.

Click here to make your gift today or send a check, made payable to "The UCLA Foundation" and referencing "Fund #82013E, UCLARA Staff Endowment Fund" on the front of the check. Thank you for helping to advance the careers of deserving UCLA staff members!

Mail your gift to:
The UCLA Foundation
P.O. Box 7145
Pasadena CA 91109-9903

Past Recipients

The 2020-21 scholarship recipients were Melissa DeGravelles, Natalie Irons, Rachel Lam, Jenny Lee, Mark Kim, Miriam Sims, Helen Tran and Rigoberto Resendiz.  

The 2019-20 scholarship recipients were Mitzi Bandera, Pat Brennan, Abdallah Daboussi, Min Kim, Parag Kshirsagar, Cherry Lai, Constantine Maureas, and Riana Olsen.

The 2018-19 scholarship recipients were Jessica Bishop, Eileen Garcia, Fanny Hoang and Teresa Valenzuela.

The 2017-18 scholarship recipients were Saira Almeida, Emily Knox, Cindy Oshiro, and Marina Soliman. 

The 2016-17 scholarship recipients were Kristine Jan Espinoza, Patricia Jardack, Johnson Lay and Manjula Wickramasinghe.

Email the Retirees Association at

Or phone the UCLA Emeriti/Retirees Relations Center at 310-825-7456

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