Motivated to Achieve More by philanthropy

Aidan Sandhoefner
Aidan Sandhoefner '19 says he's always motivated to achieve more.

By Ashley Han

A packed schedule does not faze Aidan Sandhoefner ’19. The graduating senior says he’s motivated and committed to doing his best in everything he does – an impressive list that includes rowing on the UC Davis men’s team, working at the Activities and Recreation Center, studying cognitive science, participating in the Honors Program, conducting research at the Center for Mind and Brain and finding time to apply for scholarships.  

“I come from a big family and we’re not super well-off or anything, so filling out a few more applications can maybe help take the financial burden away,” Sandhoefner said.  

Sandhoefner’s efforts have paid off. He was awarded the Thomas E. Bruzzone Scholarship during his junior year and the Herbert Gladys Smith Undergraduate Scholarship this year.  

The Bruzzone scholarship supports outstanding students doing important work in the sciences and the Smith scholarship awards students in the health sciences. Friends of the university, Bruzzone and the Smiths admired UC Davis’ mission and wanted to support students in need.

“I was relieved and happy to receive these scholarships because it’s allowed me to do research at the Center for Mind and Brain and continue my extracurriculars with ease,” Sandhoefner said.

Last summer, Sandhoefner was an unpaid research assistant at the center working with two- and three-year-olds to conduct memory tasks disguised as games. He’s completing his senior thesis about how the language parents use around their toddlers affects children’s cognitive abilities. He is considering attending graduate school to further his research in child development.

When Sandhoefner thinks about philanthropy, he says helping people comes to mind and he’s inspired by examples around the university community.

“Even on the rowing team, I’ve seen alumni who rowed for four years and 20 years later, they’re still donating to the team,” Sandhoefner said. “Seeing that just gives you a feeling that you’re part of something bigger and all these people affiliated with the university care about enriching our college education.”