Backed for the future

Every day at UC Davis, students benefit from the generosity of donors via scholarships and awards that allow them to pursue their goals. Meet just four of the thousands whom donors help thrive.

Jericka Morrow Cred. ’23, M.A. ’25

Program: Master of Arts in Education

Hometown: Susanville, CA

Why UC Davis? I picked UC Davis for my teaching credential because I like the emphasis on creating an inclusive learning experience. Being Native American, I’ve never felt really welcome in school, so the fact that UC Davis has a program focused on creating inclusive learning environments and having empathy for others and diversity is very important to me. Other schools have that as part of the curriculum but at UC Davis it’s fundamental.

What inspires you? My children. I grew up in a low-income household on a reservation where we didn’t have a lot. I want to make sure that my kids have everything they need. They are my inspiration to make sure what I’m doing in life is meaningful.

Why do you want to become a teacher? I want to be the teacher that I’ve never had. I will be there for students who are struggling and need somebody to push them to succeed.

How has your scholarship supported you? Scholarships have allowed me to provide for my children while pursuing my dreams. When I started my credential program, my daughter was a perfectly healthy 8-year-old—then she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Without scholarships, I would not have been able to stay in school, pay for medical bills and support my daughter.

What has this support meant to you? I am proof that donor contributions not only make a huge impact in college students’ lives, but also the lives of elementary school students. This support has allowed me, a single mother of two, an ambitious Native American girl who grew up on her reservation, to defy the odds and continue my educational journey.

Xaviera Azodoh ’25

Major: Electrical engineering

Hometown: Born in California, raised in Abuja, Nigeria

Why UC Davis? I attended webinars to learn more about UC Davis and everyone was so friendly. I knew that this was the community I needed that would have many resources to help me.

Favorite study spot on campus? The LEADR (Leadership in Engineering Advancement, Diversity and Retention) Student Center.

Why did you choose this major? Back home in Nigeria, there isn’t a very good or reliable power system. I chose electrical engineering because I want to understand it and help make it better.

What inspires you? Working to increase the diversity in STEM really inspires me to keep going, even when I’m struggling. I work with the organization Ujima GIRL (Girls in Robotics Leadership) Project, to promote STEM and mentor African American girls from middle and high school. I want to inspire the future generation because they never know what can be done until someone does it.

How have scholarships supported you? Scholarships have been a great help for me and my family—I don’t think I would have been able to put myself through school without them. My parents are in Nigeria and support my three other siblings. Scholarships really helped me be able to focus on my studies and not worry about things like where I am going to live or how I am going to feed myself.

Lena Svanholm ’21, M.S. ’23, Ph.D. ’26

Program: Ph.D. in chemistry and chemical biology

Hometown: Hoersholm, Denmark

How many languages do you speak? Three: Danish, German and English.

What is it like to be an international student at UC Davis? I came to the U.S. by myself when I was 18 to play college basketball. I come from a small country and it was a big transition speaking a new language and living in a different culture, but I found a support system with my teammates, coaches and academic advisors. There were a lot of people willing to help me out and help me navigate the challenges that I faced.

Why are you studying chemistry? I really like the problem-solving and critical thinking skills that are needed in chemistry and I want to apply them in the world.

What has been your experience on the women’s basketball team? My experience here has been a unique and very positive one. In the recruiting process, I connected with the basketball team and coaching staff, especially Coach Jennifer Gross. They have managed to create a positive and healthy environment where we can all work well together.

How does your scholarship support you? Without scholarships that have helped pay for my academics I simply would not be here, about to enter my fifth year at UC Davis. They have made this whole adventure possible, from living in a new country, meeting new people and getting out of my comfort zone to being at a school that challenges me academically and athletically.

Felipe Gutierrez ’25

Major: Cognitive science and computer science

Study Abroad Program: Americans in Paris Summer 2022

Hometown: Imperial Valley, CA

Why did you choose these fields? I’m very excited about how technology like AI can be implemented in all sorts of ways to benefit human cognition in the future.

Why did you want to study abroad? It fulfilled a writing requirement for my major, but also I got to explore a new part of the world I had never seen before.

Best part of your experience? I loved how people in Paris value the small things in life. It really opened me up to the feeling of enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

How did scholarships support your study abroad? If I didn’t receive the multiple scholarships that I got, I wouldn’t have been able to go. I’ve been on my own financially since I left home. Having all of my expenses covered was really liberating and it allowed me to explore Paris and integrate into the daily life of a citizen there.

What inspires you? I am a first-generation college student. Thankfully, my older sisters advised me to pursue higher education, so what really inspires me is that my family believes in me and I want to believe in myself, and reach my full potential.