Club Honors 20 With Mukai Scholarships

The Club’s Joannie Mukai Scholarship Program for 2018 awards $500 to 20 members of the Club family.

Joannie Mukai

The Club is pleased to announce the winners of the Club’s annual Joannie Mukai Scholarship Program for 2018. 20 Club Members and those related to Club Members have been awarded stipends.

The Club’s Scholarship program was named for the late Joannie Mukai, the former Club Board Member who passed away in 2010.

“We are honored to award these incredible young people,” said John Hawkins, Club CEO. “Reading about all their achievements has reminded me again of how truly special our Club Members and their families are. I wish all the success in the world to these awesome people, and to all those who applied.

“Keep working hard, keep achieving … the world depends on you.”

Those eligible included Club Members, their spouses and their children who are in college or will be attending an accredited college or university in Fall 2018.

Congratulations to the awardees, and the Club wishes the best success to all those who applied.



Jimmy Davenport
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Jimmy plans to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa this fall. His major is undecided.

Jimmy was a serious baseball player in high school, only to change his view of the future due to an injury.

“I accepted that my dreams of pitching and continuing to be a part of the brotherhood of baseball had ended,” he wrote. “Last summer, I traveled with my mom for her job to Washington, D.C. Visiting the monuments of Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt was inspiring, and I realized that the leaders of our country overcame adversity to make changes to better the nation. While I cannot compare my injury to what they encountered, I can relate to the feelings of disappointment and the sense that obstacles can bring positive changes. I do not know what career path I will take as of yet, but I know that I want to make a difference.”

Jimmy is the son of Susie Davenport, California Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing.

Dah-Vee Baker
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Dominique is studying nursing at Arizona Western College, a community college, and taking classes at Northern Arizona University concurrently. She has been on the Dean’s list and a member of the Arizona Western College Honors Program and Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society.

Being accepted into the Northern Arizona University nursing program “is a huge step forward in my career,” she writes. “One day I hope to earn my Master’s degree and become a neonatal nurse practitioner.

“Any position in the medical field will be difficult, but I plan to pursue this career and my education.”

Dah-Vee is the daughter of Mel Baker III, CHP.

Ebonee O’Bryant
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Ebonee is a junior, studying creative writing with a minor in cinema at San Francisco State University.

By winning speech tournaments in high school, she learned to have confidence in her abilities. “I want to share my stories with people,” she writes. “It does not matter to me which medium I do that through. There are many ways that I could share my vision with the world. I want to write a collection of short stories, a novel, a play, or a script for a movie. I believe that I have limitless possibilities. College is helping me create a path that leads to my success.”

Ebonee is the daughter of Gina O’Bryant, California Dept. of Education.

Kao Xiong
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Kao is a senior studying English at the University California, Davis and hopes to continue her education after graduation and perhaps teach. “It would be a thrill to inspire young minds,” she writes.

Her parents immigrated to the United States from Vietnam with just their clothes and a shoebox of spoiled milk and pictures. She did not think much about pursuing her dreams in school until she “happened upon Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women. What jumped out at me was that she had an opinion, and she unapologetically proclaimed it. I fell in love with the written language.

“I am the youngest of seven children, and am the first in my family to pursue a college degree. My parents did the best they could. As I do the best I can. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to have an opinion, work hard, and unapologetically reach for my goals in this great nation; that I may have a small piece of the American dream and give back to my community.”

Kao is related to Tou Lia Xiong, California Dept. of Water Resources. Tou Lia was awarded a Club Scholarship last year.

Chelsea Ostrout
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Chelsea is a registered nurse at Ventura County Medical Center. She plans to continue her education toward a Bachelor’s degree in nursing at Cal State, Channel Islands this fall.

“I am currently orienting to be a part of rebuilding the new pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at the Ventura County Medical Center,” she writes. “I have a lot to learn as a new nurse, but am grateful for the opportunity to be part of Ventura County’s on PICU.

“And on top of all the new adventures in my life, I am engaged to my boyfriend. My hopes for the future are to complete my Bachelor’s program, succeed in my new career, and live out my fairy tale with our wedding June 29.”

Chelsea is the daughter of Lisa Ostrout, California Dept. of Motor Vehicles.

Katelyn Ogas
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Katelyn is a psychiatric technician, working for the California Dept. of Corrections. She plans to move to part-time work and pursue her registered nurse degree at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton this fall. “While working as a psych tech, I’ve worked alongside many registered nurses, and I’ve loved what they did,” she writes.

“I want to be able to physically help out those who need it and be able to say I made a difference in someone else’s life, even if it was a small one. I like the feeling you get when you help someone out.”

Katelyn works for the California Dept. of Corrections.

Rio Jose Ramiscal
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Rio Jose graduated from Stockton Early College Academy and plans to attend San Joaquin Delta College in the fall, pursuing a degree in technology or medicine.

Rio Jose immigrated to the United States from the Philippines and is the first in his family to go to college. “After graduating high school, I believed I was finished with education, but I was wrong,” he writes. “Now, instead of just finding a job, I am devoted to finishing my studies in community college with the hope of getting either an advanced knowledge of engineering, or a doctorate, to prove that I can do good and that there is still sanity left in the world. My future is still obscure and has not been set in stone.”

Rio Jose is the son of Maria Theresa Ramiscal, California Dept. of Health.

Angelica Zapata-Monge
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Angelica attends Cal State, Northridge, studying toward her Bachelor’s degree in biology, with a minor in chemistry. She earned three Associate’s degrees in biology, mathematics and science, and physics from Antelope Valley College, where she was on the President’s List.

“I will begin the credentials program to become a biology teacher for high school,” she writes. “My goal is to teach in a way that keeps students from hating the subject, to loving it, and having fun while learning. After that, I hope to go back to school, either to complete a Master’s degree or take the classes remaining to apply to medical school. Another goal is to open my own business and give jobs to those who don’t get the opportunity. I also want to open a scholarship to help students like me continue their schooling and have the chance to be successful one day.”

Angelica is an intern for the Employees Club of California.

Isabella Martinez
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Isabella plans on studying criminal justice at Cal State Dominguez Hills this fall.

“People always ask in today’s day and age why I want to be a police officer,” she writes. “My answer is because it has always been my dream job. My whole life I have been a leader to others, and I want to protect and serve my community.” She has practiced her leadership skills in high school and as part of the Torrance PD’s Police Explorers programs. “I really feel I came out of the program as a different person. It was hands down the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.” She was nominated as program class president.

“In the long run, I just want to make my family proud.”

Isabella is the daughter of Lena Mokdad, LAPD.

Eli Lopez Ortez
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Eli attends the University of California, Davis, pursuing a degree in medicine. He hopes to become a surgeon.

“I aim to help people, because I believe we can create a positive chain reaction that will help this world become more peaceful,” he writes. “I hope to help anyone around the world who cannot afford surgery. Low-income families are the ones that cannot afford surgery and not have accessible healthcare. I would love to be there and assist them in any way possible.

“I am going to continue to dream big.”

Eli is the son of Cesar Valdez, Transportation.

Ja-Nia’ Veal
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

In 2017, Ja-Nia’ had the honor of achieving the highest GPA for all African American female students in her high school in Carson, so it was not surprising when she was accepted to study at UCLA this fall. Her summers were filled with activities in L.A.’s City parks where Ja-Nia’ played basketball, softball and attended the summer camps in the parks.

Ja-Nia’ attends UCLA this fall and hopes to pursue a Bachelor of science degree in business economics. “In time I desire to also start my own business of natural skincare and cosmetics products, especially designed for the African-American woman,” she writes.

“Through the application of scholarships, I hope to lessen the financial burden that stands between me and my degree at the UCLA.”

Ja-Nia’ is the granddaughter of Zeno Veal, Retired, Rec and Parks.

April Durazo
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

A keen sportswoman, April credits her student athlete basketball career with many positive learning experiences. She was part of the Bishop Amat High School girls basketball team for four years. “It’s almost impossible not to be a team player on a basketball team, but it wasn’t always easy,” she writes.

April completed volunteer work at her Catholic elementary school and parish of St. Martha’s. “I enjoyed helping out, but the most rewarding part was the relationships I was able to keep with my old teachers and the new friendships I made with the students.

“As I plan to attend Azusa Pacific University, I am determined to keep up and even improve my academic excellence.”

April plans to major in biology and attending medical school after completing her Bachelor’s degree.

April is related to Guadalupe Durazo, Personnel.

Aimee Dennis
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Aimee’s dream was to work with animals, and her college program allows her to do just that while also studying. She attends Moorpark College and is on the EATM program – Exotic Animal Training and Management. While she studies there, she also gains hands-on experience attending to the animals at the teaching zoo on campus.

Aimee gained experience in this field with an internship at Wildlife Safari in Winton, Ore., last summer. “My role was to educate guests about the animals, as well as provide animal husbandry and conduct training behaviors.

“My community service and passion to work with animals have pushed me to pursue my dream of becoming a zookeeper and working within the education department as an animal ambassador.”

Aimee is the daughter of Natalie Valenzuela, Harbor.

Kwamesha Ross
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Kwamesha is the first of her family to attend college. She writes: “I wanted to prove to myself and my family that I can and I will do this.” She graduated with an Associate’s degree from Los Angeles Southwest Community College in June 2017 and then transferred to Cal State, Long Beach. She works as a security officer.

“I am really enjoying classes that pertain to my major (criminal justice). I have always known that I wanted to do something in the criminal justice field.” Upon completion of her Bachelor’s degree, Kwamesha wants to start her career as a forensic specialist.

“I look forward to helping victims and their families get closure by providing evidence.”

Kwamesha is the daughter of Alexis Jones, Public Works/Street Services.

Louis Armstead
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Louis plans to attend Cal State, Los Angeles this fall.

Louis is a music lover and is most often found wearing headphones. He got his first turntable at 14 and did some DJ-ing at his school dances. In 2016, Louis got his first software license and MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) and has been on a music journey ever since, spending nearly all his free time perfecting his craft.

He writes: “I always thought the creation of music was magical. I have participated as a counselor in training at Ojai Valley School for the past three years as well as volunteering at my local YMCA. Working and leading kids and teenagers, I have made connections with all of the people through music and the effect it has on people.”

Louis is the son of Camille Armstead, LAPD.

Oman Lopez
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Oman plans to attend Cal State, Dominguez Hills this fall.

Oman has always had a passion for video games and writing, and he was able to combine both at “Hackathon,” an event which gave high school students the chance to try out coding and experience state of the art technology.

“While I was there, I learned a lot about the mechanics that came along with coding, and I was able to create my own game,” he writes. ““Hackathon’ was amazing and it helped me in joining robotics and even taking part in Academic Decathlon.” His game won a couple of prizes: a trip to SpaceX and a tablet, which he uses for coding. Winners also had to write their own story to go with the game and that has meant writing is also in Oman’s future.

Oman is the son of Jessica Davila, California Dept. of Social Services.

Raul Perez
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Raul is studying for his Bachelor’s degree in environmental science at Cali State, Channel Islands, and he expects to graduate in this spring.

In the past three years, he has kept his 3.7 GPA while gaining research opportunities, internships and participating in student leadership roles. His proudest achievement has been in becoming the vice president of the campus Governing Student Body. “I am the liaison between the faculty, staff and administration and ensure student voices and concerns are being heard and met,” he writes.

Raul plans to attend law school after he graduates, to pursue a law degree in environmental policy. “I would like to work in a law firm dealing in environmental injustice and restoration working to better the environment for future generations.”

Raul is the son of Desiree Nunez, LA County.

Karen Yip
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Karen plans to attend the University of California, Irvine this fall.

Karen took AP courses in environmental science, and it proved to be a fascinating introduction to the subject, and one she wants to study further. She writes: “I want to become an engineer, so I can research more renewable energies and design facilities that have environmentally sustainable strategies.”

Her interest has had an affect on her personally as she now uses reusable water bottles. She even helped her family install drought-resistant landscaping in their backyard and insisted they upgrade to a more energy efficient air-conditioning unit. “My personal research has taught me it is impossible to create change overnight; it must happen little by little,” she adds.

Karen is the daughter of Daisy Cheung, DWP.

Shamar Humphries
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Shamar attends Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.

Shamar had dreams of being a great running back like his heroes Emmitt Smith, Ezekiel Elliot, Bo Jackson and Latavius Murray. However, the last game of the pre-season in Horace Mann Middle School quashed that particular dream.

“I was two yards from scoring when an opposing player came and hit me,” writes Shamar. “I thought my knee was badly sprained.” However, at LA Harbor Hospital he was told it was an ACL injury. There followed months of recovery, in physical therapy, learning to walk again. Now he can participate in sports, but Shamar has switched his goal. As he was recovering he learned he was good at studying and is now majoring in exercise science with an emphasis on sports performance.

Shamar is the son of Aswad Humphries, DWP.

Erica Molio’o
Recipient of a $500 Joannie Mukai Scholarship

Erica attends Cal State, Dominguez Hills with an interest in pursuing psychology or social work as her major.

With more than 460 hours of community service, Erica has found herself doing a plethora of things: cooking, collecting books, making jewelry, simply being there for the less fortunate. It has all shaped her personality. She writes: “I have learned many valuable life lessons, which I would never trade. I’ve lived by the saying: ‘service above self’.”

Her most exciting service project was when she was on the District Board, where different schools’ community service groups all came together to make WAPIs (water pasteurization indicators) to send to Migori, Kenya. “We ended up making over 100 WAPIs.”

Erica is the daughter of Eric Hoff, DWP.