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California State University, Long Beach
E O P Insider, A Newsletter by the Educational Opportunity Program
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Scholarship Dreams Do Come True!

Tanisha Washington

Tanisha Washington

Educational Opportunity Program student, community college valedictorian and management information systems major Tanisha Washington is one of 11 students selected from across the country to receive a $5,000 scholarship from the United Negro College Fund and Google Scholarship Program. Washington is fascinated with computer technology and describes herself as hardworking, compassionate and friendly. She transferred from Los Angeles City College and is the first student in the California State University system to receive this outstanding award.

The UNCF website states that “UNCF and Google share a common and critical goal to ensure that America has the requisite scientific and technological talent to compete in today's global economy. As part of Google's ongoing commitment to advancing computing and technology, they have partnered with UNCF to provide scholarships to encourage students to excel in their studies and become active role models and leaders. The UNCF Google Scholarship Program will help to remove the financial barriers that cause so many African-American students to abandon their pursuit of a computer science or computer engineering degree.”

Like many students, Tanisha researched scholarships on-line and took the time to apply with the hopes of being a competitive candidate. “I was stunned to silence by the great news and was barely able to walk across the lab to inform my sister, who is also a student at CSULB.” Tanisha told the Daily Forty-Niner. Not only has she been honored with a monetary award, but she was also offered an internship at Google!

EOP recently asked Tanisha about her background, experiences and plans for the future.

How did you learn about the UNCF Google scholarship and what did it take to apply?

I learned about the UNCF Google scholarship on the Fastweb scholarship search website. A link on www.fastweb.com took me to the UNCF website where I completed an application and submitted it online. The application required me to submit college transcripts, financial information and information about my work experience, community service activities and honors I have received. I also composed an essay on leadership in the community.

What organizations or activities are you involved in on and off campus?

This year I was invited to join the CSULB chapter of the Golden Key International Honor Society. When I'm not busy studying, I spend my time off campus learning Mandarin and studying for my CCNA (Cisco Certified Networking Associate) certification.

I also set aside time to advocate for students who face financial hardships due to the high cost of education. After graduating from Los Angeles City College in 2007, I was honored to assist the Los Angeles City College Foundation by speaking to donors about the plight of students who can't afford books and end up dropping out of college because of the cost. I was able to speak to Mike Gleason, the regional head of Wells Fargo Bank, at his beautiful home in the Hollywood hills and to other donors.

Another memorable evening was an event at the Globe Theatre, where I spoke to a large audience that included, among other influential people, the LA City Council President Eric Garcetti. In addition to speaking at the event, I was also featured in a short video. Another alumnus of LACC, Morgan Freeman—one of my favorite actors—was also featured in the video!

Are there any challenges you have faced and overcome that you would like to share?

I've faced many challenges in my life. The first and most tragic was when my father died. Things were very difficult for my family and we had to bear financial hardships that made the pursuit of education even more difficult. As a family we struggled through each day. Currently, both my sister and I are on our way to completing our bachelor's degrees. All the struggling has paid off and now a very bright future lies ahead for us.

What accomplishments do you feel you have achieved?

I have accomplished all the educational goals that I have set for myself, which has made my mother very proud. I began at Los Angeles City College not knowing much about computers, but I soaked up everything my professors taught me and graduated with my associate's degree in computers and as class valedictorian.

Sometimes it is hard for me to believe that I have come so far in my educational journey. I actually won a scholarship from Google! In addition to the scholarship award, Google offered me an internship and is flying me to Google headquarters this spring to attend a retreat. It is all so unreal!

How have you taken advantage of your participation in EOP?

EOP has been of great assistance to me throughout my college education. Deciding which classes to take and when was an overwhelming pressure and responsibility and I didn't know where to begin. Thanks to the wonderful EOP counselors, I was able to understand the campus catalog and configure a class schedule that has put me on track to graduate on time and with all the knowledge that I need to realize a lovely future for myself and my family. In addition, when my computer bit the dust, I was able to make great use of the EOP Laptop Loan Program.

What are your future/career goals?

My future goals are to graduate from CSULB with honors, and then begin my career with a major company, such as Google. After establishing myself inthe workplace, I would like to attend graduate school and earn my master's degree. My sister is also an MIS major, so we would like to eventually start our own computer company. The possibilities for the future are endless—CSULB has given me the confidence that I can accomplish anything!