2017-18 Named Scholarships for Continuing Students

Nellie recipient Michelle Ramirez Martinez ’20 is double majoring in psychology and Chicano-Latino studies. She is a consistent Dean’s List recipient, a member of the Claremont College Rugby team—where she was recently recognized with the Rookie of the Year honor—and serves as the president of the Latinx affinity group, Café con Leche.

Ramirez Martinez has spent time over the past year researching individuals’ perceptions of immigrants with the help of Claremont Colleges faculty. Additionally, she works to improve college access to low-income, first generation students through Scripps College Academy. In speaking about her work with the organization, she says, “[This] positive experience solidified my belief that giving back is the most important thing to do.” Ramirez Martinez is grateful to Scripps and this community for all she has learned.

Bemnet Gebrechirstos ’19 is the 17th recipient of the Samella Lewis Scholarship. They have a deep commitment to writing, media, justice and liberation, much of which was built with support from the Black Scripps community and from working at the Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment (SCORE), where they have been working as an intern for five semesters. Gebrechristos’s understanding and practice of leadership shifted while at Scripps due to discussions and workshops around interconnected systems of oppression. They learned, taught, and shared resources with community members from students on campus, faculty and professors, to folks off-campus, and around the immediate Pomona area.

The effect of their leadership has been a collective effort with other peers, community organizers, and elders who have honored legacies of Black resistance, futurity, and preservation of life. It has been Gebrechirstos’s close-knit support system of Black students at Scripps, faculty members of color, and staff mentors from SCORE, that they were able to draw energy to fight institutional violence and grow with a commitment to community organizing for the betterment of those who have been historically oppressed. This has also manifested in participating (for five semesters) in the Scripps feminist, anti-racist zine collective and semesterly publication Our Sound.

Gebrechirstos honors this merit scholarship not only in the name of their community, family, and Samella Lewis, but also to Tatissa Zunguze ’18, who passed at Scripps in March 2017. Zunguze was the 16th recipient of the Samella Lewis Scholarship, and it is with her beautiful spirit, her legacy of resistance and in her memory—as well as in the intergenerational fight for Black agency and autonomy (in and outside of these institutions)—that Gebrechirstos accepts this scholarship. With this scholarship, Gebrechirstos will continue work that further serves the liberation and freedom of the world against racial capitalism and cis-heteronormative patriarchy. Additionally, they sincerely hope to see Scripps do the same work, especially in forms other than scholarships where students of varying needs are forced to compete for resources already readily available to a majority of the Scripps student population.

Bekki Lee Memorial Endowed Scholarship recipient Michall Singleton ’18 is a psychology major on the pre-medical track. She recently participated in UCLA’s Pre-Medical Enrichment Program, a six-week, non-residential program designed to strengthen the ability and readiness of pre-medical and pre-dental students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

After graduation from Scripps, Singleton plans to attend graduate school for business before beginning her medical degree. She reflects on her future plans as a physician: “I hope to open my own practice in south Los Angeles to give back to my community.” Outside of her academic work, Singleton is a residential adviser, goalkeeper for the Claremont FC Women’s Club Soccer team, an Admission ambassador, and founder of Nsight—a college access program that partners with Pomona High School and whose members serve as mentors to the young girls interested in college.

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