Scholarship Recipient Profile: Elizabeth Fernandez

Elizabeth Fernandez.jpgWhen Elizabeth Fernandez decided to attend Lassen Community College following her high school graduation, she was undecided about what she wanted to study and also a bit hesitant to leave home. The 2011 Lassen Union High School graduate was hoping her time at LCC would expose her to new ideas and create new experiences that would inspire her toward a certain career path. 

As the only child of a single mother, she was determined to earn her degree by paying for her education on her own. Fernandez received several scholarships that helped her pay for her education at Lassen. Although she changed her major three times in two years, it allowed her the time to find her passion for Art History, in which she earned an associate’s degree. She also earned two more associate’s degrees in General Studies and University Studies. 

During her time at LCC, she participated in student government, both locally and at the state level, by serving as a student senator for the Student Senate of California Community Colleges (SSCCC). She was a student senator for two years before transferring to the University of California at Davis in the fall of 2014. 

“Being involved in student government at the college level is an experience that still helps me today,” said Fernandez. “Without meeting the various students and learning their stories, I don’t think I would be as passionate in helping others realize their goals as I am now.” 

Fernandez also participated in the Extended Opportunity Employment & Services (EOP&S) program at Lassen College that offered academic and support counseling, financial aid and other support services. 

At UC Davis, she studied Art History and graduated in the spring of this year with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Italian, with a minor in Native American Studies. 

Fernandez is currently working as an Administrative Support Assistant for California Indian Manpower Consortium, Inc., or CIMC, Inc., a non-profit organization that helps Native Americans, Native Alaskans, and Native Hawaiians find employment, and provide other support assistance. 

She plans on adding a few years of job experience to her resume and then attending graduate school, where she wants to pursue her other passion, Native art and artifacts with a focus on the effect museum exhibitions have on the art and artifacts. 

Fernandez credits the support of her family and friends, specifically that of her mom, stating, “It has been me and my mom forever, and she has always supported me and where I wanted to go. She is such a strong, independent woman that I have looked up to all my life, and I know without her unconditional support and love I wouldn’t be the person that I am today, or at the place I am.”


Scholarship Recipient Profile: Spencer Cole

Spencer Cole.JPGSpencer Cole describes himself as a nerd. Actually, the sophomore math major calls himself a “full-on nerd.” However ask any of his professors and classmates, and most likely they’ll use words like inquisitive, adventurous, motivated and really smart. 

Cole is a 2017 graduate of Mt. Lassen Charter School as well as a 2017 Lassen College Foundation Scholarship recipient. He graduated from Lassen Community College last Friday (May 26, 2017) with his Associates of Science at the ripe old age of 17 years old and plans to attend the University of Nevada at Reno to study Mechanical Engineering in the fall.

“For most of my time in high school, I was taking classes at Lassen College,” said Cole. “I graduated a year early from high school and now I will do the same at Lassen College.”

Cole enrolled in his first class at LCC when he was 14 and has taken every math class offered at Lassen, except for Statistics. He has worked in the math lab since for enrolling at Lassen three years ago, and figures he tutored nearly 20 students on a consistent basis.

Cole attributes his love of engineering, math and physics to his childhood and growing up with a dad that loves to tinker with engines. His dad never hired mechanics, though in Cole’s opinion, there were times he probably should have. That interest of machines has spawned into a love of motorcycles, a hobby that his entire family enjoys together and can often be found riding to Taylorsville on the weekends.

“I love the people at Lassen,” said Cole. “The teachers have been great … even in the subjects I’m not particularly interested in. I’ve made a lot of friends. It’s definitely the people that make this college as good as it is.”

Cole said he would like to return to Lassen County and find a career in mechanical engineering following graduation from UNR, but is also interested in going to work for NASA’s JPL, Jet Propulsion Lab located in Pasadena, where they conduct research and development. He’s also looking at Tesla’s Gigafactory outside Sparks, NV, where the electric car manufacturer produces lithium batteries.

Cole credits Ross Stephenson and Natalia McClellan for making the biggest impact while he was at Lassen College, “Both have helped me particularly in math and physics. Their style of teaching really worked well with me. They went above and beyond to get me interested.”

Cole plans to spend the summer working to save for tuition at UNR and exploring the area via motorcycles with his family.