Student Leadership by Philanthropy

Zachary McGaugh
Zachary McGaugh. Hometown: San Diego, Calif. Major: Political Science

By Ashley Han

One day after Zachary McGaugh ’21 moved into his dorm room, he attended an interview at the Cal Aggie Alumni Association (CAAA) that would help support the next two years of his college career. McGaugh won this year’s Blue and Gold Leadership Scholarship, which recognizes incoming freshman or transfers from California, Oregon or Washington who have demonstrated leadership in extracurricular activities, community activities, employment or a personal situation. As the recipient, McGaugh will receive $10,000 distributed over two years.

“Both my parents are teachers so this money really helps me focus on my education,” McGaugh said. "Additionally, I felt a lot of my high school extracurricular activities, like boy scouts and marching band, were just for my own benefit and for developing leadership skills, but it was nice to be recognized for my hard work with this important scholarship.”

McGaugh is studying political science and African American studies at UC Davis. He plans to teach in marginalized urban communities, with long-term goals of spearheading education reform.

“I came to UC Davis because my grandparents both went here, so I heard a lot of good things about it,” McGaugh said. “The political science program has a public service emphasis, which is unlike any other UC. Other UCs tend to focus more on the science and theory of politics rather than application and policy, so UC Davis was the best option for me.”

The Cal Aggie Alumni Association has been awarding scholarships to talented students like McGaugh since 1934, thanks to donors and alumni volunteers, who serve as scholarship readers and are committed to making a difference in students’ lives.

“I’m very excited for the next few years here,” McGaugh said. “I absolutely appreciate everyone, including the donors who made the scholarship possible and all the people at the alumni association who have made the UC Davis community so welcoming. I offer a huge thanks to them.”