Press - 04/23/2013

More than 275 Students will be Awarded MiraCosta College Foundation Scholarships

Cerena Cooper

When Cerena Cooper was growing up, her parents weren’t keen on higher education. At 17 she got married and was expected to devote herself to her family and her faith to the exclusion of pursuing an education beyond high school. 

“I had always dreamed of going to school but thought that it was an impossible dream,” she says.

Cooper’s parents later disowned her when she left her marriage and her church, and she was forced to strike out on her own. That’s when she decided to pursue her college aspirations. Now in her 30s, she’s a plant biology and horticulture major at MiraCosta College.

“Financially, it has been a great struggle. I have to work two jobs in order to afford books and the cost of going to school,” she says. “It has been a very difficult journey, but the most rewarding one. Going to MiraCosta has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Michael Basham agrees. He also found the path to success at MiraCosta College.

Michael Basham
Raised in Oceanside by a single mom who worked long hours in more than one low-paying job, Basham was often left to his own devices. With many of his friends joining street gangs, Basham could have just as easily gone that route as well. Instead, Basham dedicated himself to education, which he says he knew would “liberate his family’s future.” His tough financial situation led him to enroll at MiraCosta College as a jumping-off spot for his educational journey. As a biotechnology and biochemistry major, he now hopes to transfer to UC San Diego and eventually work as a biotechnologist researcher.

Cooper and Basham are just two of the 275 students to be honored with a total of $238,000 in scholarships at this year’s Scholarship Awards Celebration, to be held Friday, May 10, 4:30-6 p.m., in the college Concert Hall. These awards represent about one-half of the more than $450,000 the MiraCosta College Foundation administers for the benefit of MiraCosta College students each year.

The invitation-only ceremony will feature addresses by honorees DeAngelo Brown, a Marine Corps Veteran and 2013 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Bronze Scholar; and Shayna Yong, one of five MiraCosta College 2013 Medal of Honor recipients. The Medal of Honor is MiraCosta College’s highest academic award.

At the ceremony, scholarship donors will be acknowledged and will have the opportunity to publicly present their scholarship to student recipients. Emcees will be Dick Robertson, MiraCosta College Vice President of Student Services and MiraCosta College Foundation board member Ken Noonan. 

President’s Circle members Balfour Beatty Construction, Harris and Associates, and Blue Coast Consulting will underwrite the formal awards ceremony.

To learn more about how you can transform lives with a gift to one of our scholarship funds, or about how you can set up your own named scholarship at MiraCosta College, visit or contact Linda Fogerson at 760.795.6775 or

To speak to any of the students mentioned in this release, please contact Cheryl Broom at 760.795.6612.

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