Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) student James Crawford has been awarded a 2021 Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.
The 19-year-old Hemet resident is one of only 72 high-achieving community college students nationwide to receive the highly competitive scholarship, which provides students with up to $40,000 a year to complete their bachelor’s degrees. Crawford is majoring in Political Science and Liberal Arts-Social & Behavioral Sciences.
“I am so grateful, and surprised, for this recognition by the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship Foundation,” said Crawford, who plans to graduate from MSJC on May 27 and transfer to UC Berkeley.
“I’m even more thankful to the amazing faculty members at MSJC who have believed in me, guided me, and who have offered me some really impactful opportunities at being a leader. I truly do need to publicly thank Professors Nicholis Zappia and Stacey Searl-Chapin, and SI Coordinator Janice Levasseur.”
“I think it’s so easy in this fully virtual environment to lose a sense of oneself and become unmotivated,” he said. “This recognition really has confirmed to me that I am on the right path for myself.”
Dr. Roger Schultz, Superintendent/President of Mt. San Jacinto College, commended Crawford on his successes while at MSJC.
“This is an amazing accomplishment and James is very deserving of this award. We’re so proud and can’t wait to see what he accomplishes at UC Berkeley and beyond,” he said. “Achievements like these happen when you have great, supportive faculty and staff like we do who are truly dedicated to helping our students succeed.”
At MSJC, Crawford is a member of PTK and the Political Science Club, and serves as a mentor for the Honors Enrichment and Supplemental Instruction programs. He also serves as a student representative on the MSJC Curriculum Committee.
In the community, he serves on the executive board for the Democrats of Hemet-San Jacinto, where he’s part of the scholarship subcommittee and was on the voter registration and voter outreach subcommittee, and the youth outreach subcommittee. He was awarded the 2020 Bosworth Award by the Riverside County Democratic Party for his community leadership in California’s 71st Assembly District. He has also helped on several political campaigns, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign.
In 2020, he was named a 2020 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar.
Crawford plans to transfer to UC Berkeley to earn his bachelor’s degree in political science, and eventually earn a doctorate in political theory. He said he hopes to become a professor at a community college and continue actively participating in various political campaigns and organizations.
More than 1,300 students from 370 community colleges applied for the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The funds from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation aim to increase the number of community college students completing their education at top four-year institutions.
Mt. San Jacinto College serves about 27,000 students in a district covering 1,700 square miles from the San Gorgonio Pass to Temecula, with campuses in San Jacinto, Menifee, Banning and Temecula.
In May 2020, Mt. San Jacinto College awarded a record-breaking 3,554 degrees and certificates to 1,958 graduates.