Alumni Endowed Scholarship Fund

Created, funded and directed by fellow USD alumni, the USD Alumni Endowed Scholarship Fund was launched in 2006 to provide much-needed scholarships for USD students.Recipients of this scholarship are current USD (including graduating seniors) students with financial need, strong academic merit and who give back to the USD and local community.

Over 90 percent of the gifts to this fund are annual gifts between $10 to $250. With the collective power of thousands of USD alumni, we have the ability to ensure future Toreros a USD experience. In 2012, the USD Alumni Association Board of Directors rallied alumni to help make this $1M endowment.

Make a difference today. Give to the Alumni Endowed Scholarship Fund

Apply by Feb. 27th to the Alumni Endowed Scholarship. Find the essay question, eligibility criteria and online application at

Meet the USD Alumni Association Alumni Endowed Scholars for 2015-2016: 

Conor McLaughlin '17
Conor P. McLaughlin is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Leadership Studies, researching identity and leadership in student affairs professionals. Conor works on campus at the Center for Inclusion and Diversity, and has been involved in Rainbow Educators, SOLES Ambassadors, and SOLES Graduate Student Association during his time as a student at USD, while also serving as a faculty member for the Social Justice Training Institute Student Experience and an organizational development consultant. Conor hopes to continue to work in higher education as an administrator or a faculty member, teaching and practicing leadership with students, faculty, and staff.

Conor says, "I am deeply honored that you have accepted me as an Alumni Scholar for the 2016-2017 academic year. I greatly appreciate the support you have given me, and hope to make you proud by continuing to work toward a deeper understanding of the practice of leadership and the cause of justice in our world."

Katie Donoho '17
Katie Donoho is an upcoming senior pursuing a dual-degree in Business Economics and Accountancy.  She plans to work at PwC as an Assurance Associate after graduating in May 2017.  She currently holds leadership roles in the Alcalá Club, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and Accounting Society.  Throughout her time at USD, she has also been involved in the Preceptorial Assistant and Honors programs as well as having served as an intern in USD’s Human Resources Benefits department.

Katie says, "I would like to say thank you to all the USD Alumni and donors who have made this scholarship possible.  I am very grateful to be a recipient of this award as it will allow me to pursue a rigorous education from the University of San Diego."

Monserrat Lopez '17
Monserrat is entering her senior year at USD as a music major and business minor, she's a full time student, full time mother, and she works part time for the department of Residential Life. Monserrat is involved with several musical ensembles on campus, as well as Student Support Services and Torero Renaissance Scholars. Additionally, she helped establish USD's first Latina based Sorority, Alpha Pi Sigma. Following her undergraduate career at USD, she plans to pursue a Master's degree in Music Therapy.

Monserrat says, "Thank you for helping me continue my journey here at USD. I am financially strained and your donations make my education a possibility."

Chaise Brown '17
Since Chaise Brown was in elementary school, Mathematics has been her passion. Being a student at the University of San Diego has further enhanced and expanded upon these talents and allowed her to challenge herself as both a student and mentor. From her first year at USD, she’s become extensively involved in recreating the same successes she's had mathematically with students throughout San Diego Unified School District-- participating in and volunteering her time and experience to tutoring and mentoring elementary, junior high, and high school students. It’s because of these experiences that she is now pursuing a career as a Mathematics teacher at the secondary education level.

Chaise says, "Thank you very much to the USD alumni and donors who made this scholarship possible and for choosing me to receive this outstanding award. It is because of these contributions that I will be able to pursue my career goals with limited financial burdens."

Lan Yang '17 (MA)
Lan Yang is currently working on completing her MA in USD's Higher Education Leadership program and simultaneously serving as a Graduate Assistant in the Center for Inclusion and Diversity. The majority of her work focuses on supporting marginalized populations including, but not limited to, American Indian and first-generation students. She envisions herself in a number of different careers including Higher Ed, coaching, consulting, etc.. Wherever she ends up, she insists that it must include some piece of helping others with personal development.

Lan Says, “Thank you so much for your contribution. This scholarship will definitely help me finish my second year (and degree) on a strong note."

Toni Martinez '17 (MA)
Toni Martinez moved to Washington, D.C. shortly after graduating from UC Davis in order to pursue a career in law. After spending five years on the East Coast, it dawned on her that her true calling was to become a mental health counselor. This decision changed the trajectory of her life. She moved back home to California where she began studying mindfulness and alternative medicine as it relates to mental health. Toni just finished her first year in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program and is a member of the Wellness Advisory Board and a SOLES Student Ambassador. After graduation, she plans to start her supervision requirements and become a licensed professional clinical counselor in California. Toni's end goal is to open a wellness center and offer mindfulness meditation and yoga to her clients.

Toni says, "My sincerest gratitude to the USD alumni for this generous scholarship!"
Iris Pena '19
Iris Pena will be a sophomore in the fall. She plans to major in Environmental Studies with a double minor in Economics and Leadership, supporting her ultimate goal of becoming involved in the movement towards 100% renewable energy in San Diego by the year 2035. She is a member of Student Support Services and USD’s Alpha Delta Pi chapter. Iris is also a Core Member of the Student Alumni Association at USD, served last semester as the Programming Intern at the Office of Sustainability, and is a member of the marketing team at Campus Recreation. In 2015 Iris held the titles of Miss Oceanside Princess and Vista Strawberry Queen- she currently holds the 2016 Miss Oceanside Princess title, serving her community for the second consecutive year as a good-will ambassador for the city of Oceanside.

Iris says, "I am extremely thankful to be selected as a 2016-2017 USD Alumni Association scholar. This scholarship that was made possible from generous donations made by alumni and donors will allow me to continue my education at one of the most acclaimed Universities- USD. As a first generation college student, acquiring this scholarship will continue to make my family proud, help me pursue my goals, and get me one year closer to a earning a diploma and degree. One day I will be an alumni myself contributing in ways that will impact USD students of future generations."

Jessica Roe '17
Roe is a Biology and Spanish double major with a Chemistry minor, and her hope is to become a doctor who serve low income communities. She's currently a Co-Captain of the Women’s Club Soccer Team, the Vice President of Programming for Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity, and a Fitness Center Supervisor at the McNamara Fitness Center in the USD Department of Athletics. Through her community involvement at ACCESS Community Center, she's developed a passion for helping others, promoting education, and the Spanish language.

Jessica says, “I am so humbled and appreciative to receive the Alumni Endowed Scholarship. Thank you to all of the USD alumni and donors who enable me to continue my education at this wonderful university! I am so lucky to be involved in so many diverse and rewarding opportunities here at USD, and it is with your help that I am able to continue to work with such brilliant, compassionate, and like-minded faculty, staff, and students. Thank you again for your generosity and for giving me the gift of higher education!"

Michael Burrafato '17
Michael Burrafato is an upcoming senior with a double-major in Finance and International Business. After previous summer internships with Henry Crown & Co. and the Stepstone Group, this summer he will be interning as an Investment Banking Summer Analyst with Lazard in New York City. He currently serves as the President of the Honors Student Board and previously served as the President of Rotaract (Rotary International). After his undergraduate studies, he hopes to work in investment banking or private equity, and plans to eventually earn his JD/MBA. Additionally, he's an aspiring entrepreneur, having established his own global brand development company, MJB Internationale.

Michael says, "I am incredibly humbled and grateful for the endowment of this scholarship. The generosity, support, and encouragement from alumni like you are what brightens the white and deepens the blue of what it means to be a Torero. Thank you to the Alumni Association for this investment; it is an investment that will foster exponential profits in insight, maturity, and friendships through academia and beyond.

Miriam Luna-Ochoa '17 (MA)
Miriam was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. She graduated from San Francisco State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in International Affairs at USD. She was a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate for the Center for Community Solutions before starting her graduate program. Currently she works part-time for the CCS in a victims shelter. Some of her passions include environmental responsibility, education, gender equality, politics, and international affairs.

Miriam says, "I am sincerely honored to have been selected as a recipient of the USD Alumni Endowed Scholarship for the 2016-2017 academic year. Thank you for your generosity, which has allowed me to continue focusing on completing my Masters Program in International Affairs, while I work part-time in our community to end relationship and sexual violence. As I complete my education at USD, I'm very thankful for receiving your thoughtful gift. Because of this scholarship, I will be able to continue researching on gender violence and international affairs, seeking social justice in our communities. Thank you again for your thoughtful and generous gift."

Giselle Vallejo '16 (MA)
Giselle was born and raised in Chula Vista, CA and graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelors in Religious Studies. She's currently volunteers at the American Red Cross serving military families and at the Elizabeth Hospice Center as a group facilitator for grieving children. Currently, she's a third year grad student in the Clinical Mental Health Masters program at USD and she's been placed at the Veterans Village of San Diego for practicum. She hopes to continue serving military families throughout her career.

Giselle says, "I am deeply grateful and truly appreciative of the USD alumni and donors who made this scholarship possible. I truly appreciate the dedication you have for helping students achieve an education such as yours."

Samantha Strauss '18
Samantha Strauss is an International Relations major with a minor in Leadership Studies. Some of her involvements throughout the 2015-2016 academic year include interning at USD’s Office of Sustainability, serving as a Resident Assistant for the Sustainability LLC, guiding trips for Outdoor Adventures, and working as a USD Tour Guide. This summer she'll be conducting research at an EcoPark in India, and hopes to continue advocating for the environment in the future.

Samantha says, "I am so grateful to the USD alumni and donors who contributed to this scholarship, for it enables me to truly take advantage of my time here at USD studying and learning how to best do my part in creating a better world."

Sarah Reynolds '17
Sarah Reynolds is a Behavioral Neuroscience major and Biomedical Ethics minor. Since transferring to USD in the fall of 2016, Sarah founded and became the President of Active Minds at USD. She's also a member of both Mortar Board and Psi Chi National Psychology Honors Society. Sarah has acted as an academic mentor for middle school students and has volunteered both abroad in Peru and at various charities in her home community. She is currently a research assistant in the Brain Development Imaging Lab at SDSU and at Rady Children's Hospital. Sarah hopes to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

Sarah says, "I would like to thank the USD alumni and donors who made this scholarship possible. It is because of generous people like you that students such as myself are able to afford an outstanding education at an amazing school like USD. Your kindness and generosity are appreciated by all who receive this scholarship. Go Toreros!"

Simone Batiste '19
Simone is a Biology Major on a Pre-Med Track with a goal to earn my bachelor’s degree in science and advance to medical school, where I will graduate as a reconstructive surgeon. My goal and aspiration for college, my career, and life is to push myself to be the best I can be so I effectively give back to my community in a meaningful and more educated way. I am on the Executive Boards for National Society of Black Engineers, Black Student Union, and have had the opportunity to create a new organization on campus, Students of Color in STEM/M.

Simone says, "To USD alumni and donors who made this scholarship possible, I extend my sincerest gratitude. Receiving this scholarship relieves some financial burden on myself and my family, in addition to giving me an opportunity to be more invested in my studies and USD activities."

Catriona Da Silva '17 (MA)
Catriona Da Silva is currently pursuing her Masters in Counseling, specialization in School Counseling with Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) credential. Prior to attending USD, Catriona worked with homeless adolescents and young adults at a transitional living program in downtown San Diego. Along with her studies, Catriona works as a substitute teacher within two school districts in San Diego county, and volunteers as a mentor within a school specifically for students who will be the first in their families to graduate from college. Within USD, she is a Merit Scholar, SOLES Student Ambassador, and team leader for the Action Research in School Counseling Initiative. Catriona hopes to work as a school counselor within a high school in San Diego upon graduation.

Catriona says, "I send my sincere appreciation to the USD alumni and donors who make this scholarship possible. Thank you for taking the time to look beyond the words on my application and recognize the devotion I have taken in my activities. Recognition like this helps drive my passion for the field, only increasing my motivation to impact the lives of youth. This type of financial assistance helps ease the stress of my financial obligations and allows me to better focus on my academic endeavors."

Cris Bravo '17 (PhD)
Cris Bravo is an international student from Costa Rica currently pursuing his doctoral degree in Leadership Studies. Cris is actively involved in promoting social change and awareness through USD ́s Rainbow Educators and through his research interests in social entrepreneurship and transgender leadership.

Cris says, "I am extremely grateful towards the USD Alumni Association for honoring me with this scholarship. Your generosity makes a difference in the lives of so many students, and in the lives of the people that we are able to transform through our degree from USD. I will not forget the difference that your gift has made for me, and I vow to continue the generosity towards other USD students. Again, thank you very much for this honor."

Paige Ferguson ‘19
Paige Ferguson is a Sophomore majoring in Philosophy and minoring in History. During her freshman year, she lived within and participated in the Space, Place and Sound learning community. She's an active member of the Philosophy Club (Everthinkers) and a competitor in USD’s intramural soccer league. Paige is also a student worker with Campus Card Services and she's participated in a variety of other clubs including People of the Islands and PRIDE Club.

Paige says, "Being a recipient of the Alumni Endowed Scholarship is an honor and I’m grateful for the financial assistance afforded to me. I am filled with gratitude for the USD alumni and donors who made this scholarship possible! Through the process of application for the Minneapolis Torero Regional Scholarship, I have increased my awareness of philanthropy, the rewarding experience of being a Torero and embracing being a Changemaker."

Gequasha Collins ‘19
Gequasha Collins is a Sophomore double majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience and Spanish. She belongs to multiple organizations on campus, some of her favorites being Kappa Kappa Gamma Greek chapter and the International Student Organization. She just started participating in research and hopes to attend medical school in the future. Her dream job is to become a Neurosurgeon.

Gequasha says, "From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank the USD alumni and donors who have made this scholarship possible. I am so blessed and thankful for the support and cannot wait to contribute in this way when I have the opportunity."

Raquel Markham '19
Raquel Markham is a Biochemistry major and a Mathematics minor, who plans on one day becoming a pediatrician. Since arriving at USD, Raquel has been involved in research as a 2015 Pre-Undergraduate Research Experience scholar. She has also been involved at the Mulvaney Center for Community, Awareness, and Social Action through her jobs as a tutor and mentor in a local low-income elementary school where she also acts as the site-coordinator for an after school program. She has spent hundreds of hours volunteering in a children’s hospital back home in Salt Lake City, Utah, which has inspired her dreams to attain her medical degree and her passion for making a difference in the lives of others.

Raquel says, "I am so thankful towards the USD alumni and donors, who have allowed me this opportunity to receive this Alumni Endowed Scholarship. This scholarship means so much to my family and I in lessening the financial burden that comes with attaining this great education. I hope to one day be able to return this gift to the USD community, to help in furthering the education for others, as you have done for me."