Volunteer Work Made Possible by philanthropy

Miranda Gilbert
Miranda Gilbert '19 plans on earning a masters in genetic counseling to help people make informed health decisions.

By Ashley Han

Miranda Gilbert ’19 treated applying to scholarships like a job throughout her undergraduate years, earning the support that allowed her more time to volunteer and pursue her studies in genetics.  

For the last three years, Gilbert, who is from Redding, received the McArthur Modoc Scholarship, established by the late Frank McArthur in 1948 to assist graduates of high schools in Lassen, Modoc, Shasta or Siskiyou counties.

“I was given so many opportunities at UC Davis that I didn’t even know what I was missing out on,” Gilbert said. “I’m the only one in my family to attend a UC and study STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics].”

Gilbert is also a Community Service Award bronze winner who has volunteered in classrooms and the pediatric emergency room at the UC Davis Medical Center, overcoming many challenges like navigating college on her own and graduating with a well-rounded education well beyond her major. The scholarship allowed her to help students as a biology teaching assistant and study genetics and genomics with a minor in education. 

To show her gratitude, Gilbert attended the Aggie Thank U event, which allows students to write a handwritten thank-you note to the donors who have supported their scholarships.

“I was really excited that somebody had faith in me -- that I could do something with my life,” Gilbert said. “Donors are giving money because they believe we can go on and achieve something great if we’re given a little bit of help.”

History of giving back

Gilbert’s love for volunteering began at her local church and the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, a museum and public garden in Redding. As a child, she helped educate her community about facts and stories, and continued in college.

“I was able to find many opportunities on my own at UC Davis because of how easily accessible they were,” Gilbert said. “I especially enjoyed volunteering at the emergency room because it was the best of teamwork and medicine together.”

The graduating senior plans on earning her masters in genetic counseling to help people make informed health decisions. She also hopes to be a scholarship donor herself one day.

“I was raised to always give back to the community,” Gilbert said. “In the future, I would love to give back to students just like me who need a little extra help to pursue their educational goals.”