The Rodney Fernandez Leadership Fund Scholarship program awarded a total of $23,500 to student recipients

The Rodney Fernandez Leadership Fund Scholarship program awarded a total of $23,500 to student recipients

The Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation (Cabrillo EDC) recently recognized 14 graduating high school seniors and college students for their academic achievements and pursuits with Rodney Fernandez Leadership Fund (RFLF) Scholarships.

The RFLF was created in 2011 and honors the legacy of Rodney Fernandez, Cabrillo EDC’s founder and Executive Director for 30 years (1981–2011). The scholarship continues Fernandez’s legacy of community building by cultivating the leadership of residents to attain their goals and empower themselves to take action to improve the quality of life in their communities.

“This scholarship opened up the doors for me to do what I love,” said Alexa Gruener, student recipient of the RFLF Scholarship. “As a freshman in college, this scholarship has helped me pay my tuition for both semesters, allowing me to take on fewer work hours and thus seek out research and internship opportunities. Currently, I am volunteering at Westminster Free Clinic and working for the Boston University Medical School’s MANOS project, which does research on chronic kidney diseases in field workers from Central America.”

The RFLF Scholarship awarded a total of $23,500 to its recipients, with $10,000 provided by  Edison International (Southern California Edison), $10,000 provided by MUFG Union Bank,  and $3,000 from individual donations. The Edison International funds are divided among students with STEM majors, while Union Bank and individual donations are divided among students of any major. 

“This award has helped me financially to continue my undergrad education at UCSB,” said RFLF Scholarship recipient Denise Castro. “My goal is to become an international teacher and contribute to educational reform so that every student has a chance to receive a quality education and a mentor who believes in their potential to succeed. I am immensely grateful for the financial support because now I am one step closer to achieving my career goals.”

“I am continuously in awe of each of our scholarship recipients’ passion, commitment, and determination for learning and higher education, said Margarita H. de Escontrias, Chief Executive Officer at Cabrillo EDC. “With Cabrillo EDC’s community-building mission, we are always delighted to help make an impact and support the goals of our youth, and we look forward to seeing all that they will accomplish. “ Applications for 2021 recipients are now open for Ventura County low-income student residents, with Cabrillo EDC residents given priority. To apply, visit

(left to right) Line: Alexa Gruener; Anthony Campos; Bladam Gomez; Daniella Hernandez; Line 2: Denise Castro; Jocelyn Garcia; Mireya Avila; Ramie Klocko; Line 3: Sara Saffari; Shane Bess; Tania Salceda; Trisha Martinez.

Full List of RFLF Scholarship Recipients

MireyaAvila MejiaBS/MS NursingCSUCI
ShaneBessBA PsychologyCSUCI
AnthonyCamposBA Political ScienceSaint Mary’s College of California
DeniseCastroGlobal StudiesUCSB
JocelynGarciaBA PsychologyCSUCI
BladamGomezBA Public AffairsUCLA
AlexaGruenerBS Health ScienceBoston University
JuanHernandez Masters in Science, MathematicsCSUCI
RamieKlockoEnvironmental Science/Resource MgmtCSUCI
MaximilianoLaraBachelors in BusinessUC San Diego
SarahySaffariMathematicsCal Lutheran
TaniaSalcedaPolitical Science & Ethnic Studies (Pre-law)UC Berkeley