Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards

2017 Martin Scholars

We are pleased to introduce the 2017 Martin Family Foundation Scholars!

Two Martin Family Foundation Honors Scholars were selected in September 2017. The Martin Family Foundation Honors Scholarship enables Washington State Community College students of exceptional ability and outstanding achievement to complete their baccalaureate degrees at the University of Washington Seattle Campus. Individuals selected for the 2017 MHS are beginning their studies at UW in fall 2017. The next deadline for the MHS will be in July 2018.

Four Martin Family Foundation Achievement Scholars were selected in May 2017. The Martin Achievement Scholarship selects student early in their community college career and will fund, encourage and support their study and eventual transfer to the University of Washington-Seattle Campus. Individuals selected for the 2017 MAS will continue at their respective colleges to complete their courses of study and eligibility credits for specific degree work and will transfer to the UW in 2018. The next deadline for the MAS will be April 2018.

2017 Martin Honors Scholars:

Taylor Moreno, Grays Harbor College

Growing up and into his first years of high school, Taylor was very focused on the here-and-now. His future seemed too distant to concern himself with, so he remained content with doing well academically and helping those around him in his church and community. With career choices ranging from web designer to astronomer, Taylor hadn’t found a clear life focus. He just knew that he wanted to do something that would impact people’s lives.

A few days after celebrating his 15th birthday in January 2013, Taylor’s mother was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the course of nearly three years, she battled that cancer four times. During these times, Taylor acted as her full-time caregiver and stayed with her at virtually every hospital and clinic she went to. He thus gained the opportunity to talk with many different healthcare professionals as well as many cancer patients, their families, and their caregivers. After learning the stories and motivations behind so many patients and practitioners alike, Taylor realized that a passion for the medical sciences had grown in him and decided to focus on it.

On September 21, 2015, his first day of college became his last day with his mom. Although the whole experience was incredibly painful, Taylor says his faith, family, and friends helped get him through it and consequently gain the motivation he has today. Taylor is now transferring to major in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology in order to prepare for a career in medical research. The academic journey ahead will be a long one, but he is looking forward to it as he explores the impacts he can make to better himself, help those around him, and one day hopefully join the fight against cancer.

Max Steiner, Seattle Central College

Born in Boston, Max grew up in Austria before ultimately moving to Seattle after his twentieth birthday. Based on his background in music, he initially aspired to develop behaviors, cultivate a mindset, and make connections that would allow him to advance his musicianship. In that pursuit, Max spent five years on practicing, rehearsing, recording, performing and touring while covering finances with part-time work.

Through a recent string of experiences abroad, Max’s focus shifted to the natural sciences, in particular chemical engineering. He quickly realized that it offered many aspects he appreciated: collaboration between experts of different fields, direct application of skill toward a specific project or product, opportunities for independent research, relevance in a larger societal context. He was hooked. In one form or another, Max had encountered these qualities in music as well but had never been able to fully develop them on his own. With chemical engineering, however, he seemed to have found a definitive pathway to exercise those principles he deemed important personally as well as professionally.

The two years Max attended Seattle Central College taught him more than what the required coursework had to offer. He was inspired by the diversity of the student body and each of his cohort’s unique background. It pushed him all the more to reach out to get involved: he worked in student leadership, tutored chemistry, and math at MESA, assisted as a TA in a Research Writing class, participated in a chemistry research project, and was employed as an assistant laboratory technician in the SCC chemistry labs. Max’s studies and experiences undoubtedly shaped his long term intent as a chemical engineer: he plans to contribute to advances and applications of clean energy technology. This path is intimately related to environmental sustainability issues in which he hopes to gain a voice. Max feels that completing his undergraduate degree at UW is a significant step toward achieving that goal.

2017 Martin Achievement Scholars:

Erin Herman-Kerwin, Olympic College

Erin is a driven woman motivated by her past and inspired by what she can do for her community as a future doctor and statistician. she is a woman who refuses to be defined by her personal struggles of overcoming domestic violence and chronic Hep-C. She believes it is important to speak honestly and openly about these experiences to destigmatize domestic violence and blood borne diseases. Her doctors were an integral part of Erin recovering from Hep-C and restoring her human dignity. This experience opened her eyes to the potential of compassionate care but also underscored the profound inequality in health care access in Washington State. After she and her doctors fought together to secure treatment she has vowed to commit her life and academic career to breaking down boundaries between patients and the care they desperately need. She believes safe and affordable health care is a human right but often considered a luxury.

Her dream of increasing access to health care with statistics and medicine would not be possible without a strong education. Olympic College offered Erin a rare opportunity to rebuild her academic foundation. After community college, she is attending the University of Washington to major in Statistics. There she will learn the tools necessary to be involved in the medical solution, redesigning and evaluating clinical trial results in preventative health care and affordable medications.

Today her experiences inspire her and push her to reach beyond herself and into community service. She volunteers at a women’s health clinic as a health advocate, tutors developmental mathematics, and volunteered at the 2016 Seattle King County Community Clinic. Her pursuits in academia are so much more than a degree or a career. It is a validation there is a life after crisis and the key exists within healthy communities, and education.

Sharon Jang, Tacoma Community College

Sharon is currently attending Tacoma Community College and plans to transfer to the University of Washington in the fall of 2018. Her ultimate educational goal is to receive a terminal degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences with a specialization in audiology or speech-language pathology.

There are several reasons why she finds this field of study fascinating and inspiring. One reason close to her heart is the Deaf community’s development of strong resilience in a world filled with hearing individuals. Similarly, what she finds most inspiring about audiology and speech-language pathology is knowing that her interventions will help facilitate an individual’s process of communication and that those skills will help them throughout their everyday life.

Along with her tenacious dedication and motivation to this field, Sharon’s affinity for a sustainable focus in extracurricular activities led her to demonstrate the continuous ability to step out of her comfort zone. This includes starting a club that works on a small scale to increase raising awareness of the North Korean humanitarian crisis by defining North Korea by its people rather than its politics. At the same time, she is enthusiastic to continually advance her leadership skills as she takes on an officer position in Phi Theta Kappa. Sharon took this opportunity to implement the leadership skills she is learning with a network of fellow scholars and servant leaders and to expose herself to another facet to increase productivity and cultivate her school community. She is beyond thrilled to continue advancing and strengthening her leadership skills as she imagines the greater number of opportunities she will be open to when transferring to UW.

Tam Mai, South Seattle College

Tam Mai was born and raised in Viet Nam, a developing country, for 18 years. Her family moved to the United States two years ago. Living in a different country has not been easy for her. As an immigrant, Tam has had to face many challenges and difficulties such as differences in culture, language, finances, the education system, etc., but the most difficult thing for her is the language. When Tam started school in the US, she didn’t understand anything or anyone. She felt like she didn’t belong to this country. However, she learned never to give up on her dream. That’s why she decided to take ESL classes for one year and just focus on English. After a year working hard to learn the language, she is able to attend her college classes and do well. She feels this experience has taught her that persistence will always pay off eventually.

Working on computers and learning about programming is Tam’s favorite thing to do. That’s why she is getting an Associate of Science degree at South Seattle College. Then she plans to transfer to the University of Washington to get a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. With one more year before transferring, she is working hard to maintain good grades. She also spends a lot of time volunteering at South Seattle College and within her community to create a good environment where she and her family live. In the future, Tam wants to use her knowledge of Computer Science to create new education applications for children, so they can study wherever and whenever they want, which will give them the opportunity to develop their perceptions and personalities.

Tekhong Meach, South Seattle College

Born and raised in Cambodia, Tekhong Meach immigrated to the United States in 2014. He started working as a food assembler before he began his educational journey at South Seattle College in Winter 2016. Despite his language barrier, he decided to go back to school because of his passion in science classes. Eager to get involved and learn more about resources available on campus, he joined the TRiO Student Success Services program, the AANAPISI program, the Women in STEM club, and the Ready Set Transfer Academy. Those resources have helped advance his academic understanding and encourage him to keep working hard to achieve his goals. With his outstanding academic performance, Tekhong is also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Tekhong is working two part-time jobs while attending school full-time. Besides his off-campus job on weekends, he also works as a peer tutor at TRiO, where he has the opportunity to work with his peer students. He helps explain and share his knowledge of math and physics to his peers who have difficulties understanding the lectures in class. He helps them to better understand the subjects, gain academic and educational support, and become more self-reliant students. With his desire to help improve his community, Tekhong also volunteered as a study zone tutor at KCLS library. He worked with kids and adults and helped them improve their math skills. Tekhong is majoring in Computer Science. His interest in the field of Artificial Intelligence inspires him to explore and learn about programming languages. He constantly expands his curiosity through research in the AI field. He is looking forward to participating in undergraduate research at UW to obtain more knowledge in AI. He wants to use his knowledge in AI to explore more innovations that will positively impact and help improve the community.