Isabel “Izzy” Quistian, a Gavilan College theater arts major and active member of the Associated Student Body, was awarded the Karl S. Pister Leadership Opportunity Program Scholarship.
Quistian, who rose to the rank of sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps and was injured in active duty before attending Gavilan College, will receive $10,000 for his first two years at UC Santa Cruz, where he will also be assisted in finding a paid summer job in a field that complements his studies as well as receive guidance from an academic networking program.
Quistian will be presented with his award at 5 p.m. May 31 during a Gavilan College Scholarship Ceremony in the Social Science Building, Room 214, on campus.
In his scholarship application, Quistian won over judges as he wrote: “Neither my mom, not anyone in her family are English-speaking, and nobody in her family has ever attended college or even thought about attending a prestigious UC. Every day that goes by and I get closer to graduating with my AA degree from Gavilan College, I know I am making history for me and my family.”
The scholarship, designed by former Chancellor Karl S. Pister, was established to help the most promising students from 13 regional community colleges transfer to UCSC. Scholarship recipients must “have made a demonstrated commitment to assisting and improving the lives of others, who have overcome adverse socioeconomic circumstances, and who might not otherwise be able to attend UCSC for financial reasons.”
Candidates were nominated by the presidents of each of 13 regional community colleges, and recipients are selected by the UCSC Chancellor in consultation with the Leadership Opportunity Awards Program Screening Committee.
In his written recommendation for Quistian, theater instructor John Lawton-Haelhl wrote: “Isabel (Izzy) Quistian III is as exceptional and remarkable a student as his name suggests - an ex-Marine who is a theater arts major, a veteran who has faced the hardships and atrocities of war in Iraq and the difficult readjustment into civilian life, yet is a caring, thoughtful and considerate soul who works tirelessly to better the lives of those around him.”
Quistian, a first-generation college student, served as a senator, vice president and student trustee for Gavilan College’s Associated Student Body. He helped spearhead the “College Hour” initiative, a block of time during the week when few classes are scheduled in order to enable student clubs and activities to flourish.