Scholarship Students Share How Philanthropy Powers Their Paths

During times of crisis, philanthropy can make an even more profound impact on those affected. Generous donor support, from sources like emergency funds, endowments and scholarships, is helping power the people and programs of UC Davis through new challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although classrooms and many residence halls have emptied, faculty and staff are working hard to keep the university running. Students are learning remotely, and most importantly, our health care providers at the UC Davis Medical Center are saving lives every day.


This week (May 11–15), the UC Davis Foundation’s “by philanthropy” initiative highlights the work that has been made possible by the generosity of others. The by philanthropy website features videos and stories, along with an interactive campus map, showing what has been made possible by philanthropy and where.

One of the key ways philanthropy benefits students is through scholarships. Here are five examples of ways donor support enhances student experiences across the university:

Aiding animal lovers

Sean Gadson, D.V.M. ’21, didn’t let personal hardships stand in the way of his love for animal care and ambition to become a veterinarian. At UC Davis, he is fulfilling his dream while excelling in both his studies and student leadership positions. The Schumacher Veterinary Student Scholarship was a welcome acknowledgment of his hard work.

Kicking to the top

A hallmark of UC Davis Athletics is prioritizing academic integrity equally with competitive play. Most importantly, women’s soccer head coach Tracy Hamm said, student-athletes receive the resources to feel empowered and supported in whatever they do. Much of this is provided by donor support that helps ensure student success both on the field and in the classroom. Watch Hamm share how philanthropy positively impacts her team.

Propelling young doctors

Scholarships raised at the UC Davis School of Medicine help support the next generation of doctors by enhancing their education and experience during their studies — a crucial investment for the future health of our communities. Watch how a scholarship allowed John Mark, M.D. ’22, to focus on his education and prepare for a career in medicine.

Raising the bar for advocates  

School of Law student Janaki Jahannath ’11, J.D. ’20, chose UC Davis for its diverse faculty and student body. As an environmental justice activist, she knows that diversity and representation of perspectives are the keys to strong movements. A scholarship confirmed that her inclusive approaches to environmental justice are shared values of the UC Davis community.

Global perspectives for change-makers

Kiana Nava ’22 had the opportunity to study biology in Ireland through the College of Biological Sciences’ Dean’s Circle Study Abroad scholarship. Stepping out of her comfort zone helped her grow as a student and made her realize how her studies could impact society.  Watch how international experience revived her passion for biology, giving her a new perspective on the subject and herself.

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