Partnership assists students and junior faculty members
Steve Zimmer of Sony gives Edward Sommers part of his technology award. Photos by Erika Johnson.
Five UC San Diego students who are former foster youth were recently chosen to receive state-of-the-art Sony Electronics products. Two junior faculty members were also awarded digital tools to enhance their innovative teaching and research projects. This is the fourth year that Sony has partnered with UC San Diego and other campuses nationwide to provide scholars with equipment that will allow them to succeed in a technology-driven learning environment.
This year, the equipment awarded includes a Sony VAIO E-series laptop, digital recorder, Xperia tablet, PlayStation Vita and Alpha NEX-7 digital camera. With offices nearby in San Diego, Sony began the program as a means to give back to the community. The company was drawn to the research and community service efforts at UC San Diego, as well as the university’s Guardian Scholars Program, which provides resources and support for students who are former foster youth.
Edward Sommers, a transfer student at UC San Diego’s Marshall College was one of the award recipients who will benefit from the Sony gift. From South Central Los Angeles, Sommers and his seven siblings were raised by his grandmother, until circumstances led him to be placed in a group home. Soon after, he dropped out of high school.
Several years later, Sommers turned his life around by returning to school, and later enrolled at a local community college, where he was inspired to pursue engineering and biology. Today he is continuing his education at UC San Diego as a NanoEngineering major, with hopes to someday develop a therapy to eliminate cancer.
From left, Ben Doller, Caprecia Camper, Raul Enciso, Steve Zimmer, Taylor Burgdorf, Vice Chancellor Penny Rue, Erol David Kerestecioglu, Matthew Fulkerson and Assistant Vice Chancellor Mae Brown
Sommers also plans to create a Big Brother Engineering program for foster youth in Southern California to help guide students on their educational journey. The program would facilitate university field trips, assist with college applications and help them find internship and career opportunities. “I want to set an example for others and share my story with a bigger audience,” said Sommers. “I want to encourage others to never give up and to realize that they can go far.”
Student award winners Raul Enciso, Caprecia Camper, and Taylor Burgdorf explore their Sony packages.
Sommers feels like he is on the path to achieve great things at UC San Diego. “I am so excited,” he commented about receiving the equipment package from Sony. He remarked that the new equipment will allow him to complete essays, communicate with professors through email and help him focus on his academic goals.
Along with Sommers, four other UC San Diego students, as well as two junior faculty members, received the Sony award packages.
“These tools will enable both the students and faculty members to do something unique within a digital media framework,” said Steve Zimmer, business development manager for Sony’s San Diego direct- to-consumer business. He cited the interdisciplinary aspect of the technology, which can be utilized for both research and creative projects, no matter the field of study. Student recipients of the technology packages include:
Student award winners Raul Enciso, Caprecia Camper, Taylor Burgdorf, and Erol David Kerestecioglu explore their Sony packages.
Two junior faculty members at UC San Diego were also chosen to receive technology packages to support their academic research and teaching.
To learn more about how you can make a difference with a gift to UC San Diego, please visit giving.ucsd.edu.