The Ripple Effect – Drezner Family Scholarship Fund

The Ripple Effect – Drezner Family Scholarship Fund

Julie and Rob Drezner have always sought to make positive change. Julie, former VP of Community Impact at the CFMC, has her MSW and a passion for social justice and Rob has his PhD in psychology. Both used their careers and volunteering to make a difference.

The ripple effect these scholars provide as they move forward with their careers will benefit their communities and families for years to come.”
— Rob and Julie Drezner

After his retirement, Rob taught at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) and saw a spark in the students who wanted to further their education but didn’t have the means. There was a pressing need for scholarship support specifically for students transferring to a four-year program.

With the generous support of their families, they created the Drezner Family Scholarship Fund in 2017 to benefit community college students “who want to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in their communities.” Since then, they have funded 35 scholars from MPC and Hartnell College with up to $10,000 for two-years to complete their bachelor’s degree and woven in a mentoring component to help with the transition.

Nearly all recipients are first-generation students. They aspire to be doctors, psychologists, educators, nurses, social workers, lawyers and affordable housing professionals. “This scholarship gave me the opportunity to focus on my education path and goals to make a difference as a positive role model for future generations,” said Annabel Negrete, B.A. Education, CSUMB.

Julie (far left) and Rob Drezner (far right) are pictured above at a Drezner Family Scholarship reception.

Drezner Family Scholarship Fund Grantee Profiles

The following are brief profiles of just a few of the Fund’s Grantees, a representation of all of the deserving scholarship recipients.

Elizabeth Madrigal, awarded 2017
Hartnell College Transfer
Graduated from University of California, Berkeley, Spring 2020
Major: Political Science

Elizabeth grew up in Gonzales, CA, the daughter of migrant parents and was the first in her family to graduate from high school. She believes it is important to work for equity and justice and advocate for families like hers who have few resources. Since graduating from UC Berkeley, she has worked with nonprofit organizations on access to affordable housing in the Bay Area and Central Coast.

Jesus Carrillo Rodriquez, awarded 2018
Hartnell College Transfer
Graduated from University of California, Davis, Spring 2021
Major: Linguistics

Jesus grew up in Greenfield, CA. He aspired to become an educator who inspires youth in his disadvantaged community to overcome economic and social limitations and pursue their dreams. After graduating with honors from UC Davis, Jesus worked as an aide and counselor in the Greenfield Union School District. He is now pursing a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology with a goal of becoming a “life-changing bilingual clinician” serving families in his home community.

Priscilla Amao, awarded 2019
Hartnell College Transfer
Graduated from CSUMB, Spring 2022
Major: Psychology
CSUMB’s Masters of Social Work Program, May 2024

Priscilla Amao’s journey began at Hartnell College, where she laid the foundation for her academic success. Through dedication and hard work, she successfully transferred to California State University, Monterey Bay, earning both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in May 2024. Navigating the challenges of single parenthood while pursuing higher education required resilience beyond measure. However, with the support of scholarships like the Drezner Family Scholarship, Priscilla was able to overcome financial barriers and achieve her academic goals. Today, with over 15 years of experience in social work, including two years of clinical expertise, Priscilla continues to uplift her community and advocate for social justice. Her story serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring others to grow in the face of adversity and demonstrating the profound impact of scholarships in unlocking doors to opportunity. With gratitude for the support she received, Priscilla remains committed to paying it forward and making a difference in the lives of others.

Sheila Morales, awarded 2020
Monterey Peninsula College Transfer
Graduated from University of California, Los Angeles, Spring 2022
Major: Political Science

Sheila was a child of Mexican immigrants living in Seaside, CA, when she found her way through life’s struggles in athletics. She became a taekwondo Junior Olympic medalist at age 13 and then took on women’s soccer, where she was the lead scorer on her high-school team and while at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC). During MPC’s last game in 2010, Sheila suffered a serious accident that led to the discovery of a life-threatening brain cancer that forced her to drop out of college. Years of aggressive treatment with irreparable side-effects left Sheila wheel-chair bound and unable to perform basic tasks. She needed to relearn how to talk, write and care for herself. In 2016, Sheila decided to return to MPC and redefine herself and her goals through education. Sheila graduated from MPC in 2020 with high honors and a record of school and community leadership, including serving as Vice President of MPC’s student body and co-founding a grassroots advocacy group in Seaside named Seaside Latinx Unidos for Change. With the Drezner Family Scholarship, she attended UCLA during COVID and obtained her BA in 2022. Sheila is now working as Director of Social Services for the Life Steps Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles dedicated to meeting the needs of people experiencing mental, developmental and physical disabilities.

Rosa Garcia, awarded 2021
Hartnell College Transfer
Graduated University of California Santa Cruz, Spring 2023
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology

As a young child, Rosa’s indigenous Oaxacan family migrated to Greenfield, CA, in search of a better life. When she was 12 years old, her sister was airlifted to UCSF Children’s Hospital for a serious heart problem where Rosa served as translator for the hospital staff and her parents, who only spoke their native language of Triqui. Seeing the medical care her sister received awoke in Rosa an interest in both the science and the art of doctoring. After her sister’s hospitalization, she began working in the fields with her parents to help pay the medical bills. Ever since that experience, Rosa relentlessly pursued her goal for higher education and ultimately working in the medical field. While at Hartnell as a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) student, she studied Biology, Chemistry and Physics, was an active member in Phi Theta Kappa, the Physics Club and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). This was accomplished while living in poverty with substandard housing.  After transferring to UC Santa Cruz, Rosa went on to earn her bachelor’s degree with honors in Molecular and Cell Biology. She is currently working as a Fellow at UCSF’s Mission Bay Bioengineering department as she continues to explore the field of medicine.

Make a Gift

Please join us in this important work. There are many ways to support the Drezner Family Scholarship Fund.

  • Donate directly and securely online or click on the “Donate Now” button below.

Donate Now

  • Send a check made payable to “Community Foundation for Monterey County” or “CFMC”
    Note: “Drezner Family Scholarship Fund” in the memo line
    Mail to:
    Community Foundation for Monterey County
    2354 Garden Road, Monterey, CA 93940
  • To make a gift of stock, IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution or other assets, please contact Christine Dawson, Senior Vice President Philanthropic Services, at 831.375.9712 x126.

Donations to the Drezner Family Scholarship Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC) are tax deductible. The CFMC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Tax ID #94-1615897.

Thank you for your support!