Program launched for foster students

This semester, Sonoma State University welcomes a new addition to the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) that promotes academic achievement. The Seawolf Scholars program devotes itself to students on campus who have lived in a foster home during any period of their life by supporting those students financially, socially and academically.

Part of the Seawolf Scholars program consists of awarding students a $500 Burton Book Voucher to each student once he or she has been confirmed as living in a foster home by Social Services. This voucher was put in place through a contract that Seawolf Scholars created with the campus bookstore. The voucher, once awarded, must be used to only purchase necessary textbooks from the bookstore. The verification process can take up to a week. The scholarship is awarded at the beginning of the fall semester and is valid for the entire school year.

“My books were very expensive this semester, I was worried about how I would pay for them,” said Jessie Jimenez who joined Seawolf Scholars this semester. “I wish this program existed my freshman year. I would have saved a great amount of money.”

Another perk to this program is that members get priority registration. This means that regardless of a student’s class, he or she has the privilege of registering before the general student population. 

However, in order to qualify for priority registration students must complete a mandatory advising session with the program director at least once a semester.

The idea of the Seawolf Scholars program originated from the Santa Rosa Junior College with the assistance and dedication of student representative, Danielle Hansen. 

She has served as an advocate for underrepresented foster youth throughout the surrounding communities, making her way to Sonoma State this year.

Currently, participants of Seawolf Scholars are working to put together a club for members, as well as interested students and faculty to participate in. 

The details of this club have yet to be shared, but participants have collaborated in selecting positions for the club and have assured interested students that the club is under way and will soon be open to students.

President of the Seawolf Scholars Club, Holly McNatt, confirmed the first meeting would be held Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the lakes on the Sonoma State campus. McNatt is a senior who is currently undeclared, but intending to study psychology.

“Please feel free to bring anyone of your friends, we are not just open to Seawolf Scholars, it could be people interested in knowing more about the foster care system, or want to build a community of friendship and start volunteering for the community,” said McNatt.  “Whatever case it may be, please feel free to invite people. Please bring any ideas you have for getting the club started, and a smile.” 

With help and support from the EOP program, Seawolf Scholars has transitioned successfully onto campus and has gained a tremendous amount of recognition through emails that EOP has sent out to students. 

Hansen has also sent out various e-mails to Seawolf Scholars, advising them to refer a friend who may be eligible for the program.

Students interested in participating in the Seawolf Scholars program are advised to visit Salazar 1060 to receive details on how to join the program, as well as upcoming events and meetings. 

The application process usually begins during the first visit to the program’s office. 

Anyone interested in the Seawolf Scholars club is encouraged to contact Holly McNatt at mcnatt@seawolf.sonoma.edu.