headshot - Melissa Garcia

Melissa Garcia

Melissa Garcia, a dedicated Ph.D. student in Organizational Development and Change at the School of Leadership Studies, received two prestigious Fielding scholarships. Melissa has been awarded the Janet Garufis Endowed Scholarship in Leadership and the Montecito Bank & Trust Scholarship in recognition of her outstanding academic achievements and commitment to community service.

Melissa’s journey in education exemplifies her passion for making a difference in the Santa Barbara community. With a schoolteacher background, she is now advancing her career as an education administrator, currently serving as Coordinator for Language Education Services at the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

These scholarships will enable Melissa to pursue her research interests in evidence-based literacy instruction, professional development in literacy, state literacy plans, and the American educational system’s nuances regarding literacy access.

“I aspire to expand my understanding of organizational development and change in service of educational equity by scaling consistent reading instructional experiences that expand access to literacy,” Melissa said. “I am so grateful to those who have contributed to the Janet Garufis Endowed Scholarship in Leadership, and the Montecito Bank & Trust Community Dividends Program that funds a Fielding scholarship. Having the support of fellow locals is more special and reinforces my commitment to investing further in my education, so I can bring my best to the Santa Barbara educational community. Thank you so very much.”

Fielding is thankful to Janet Garufis for inspiring and supporting advanced education at Fielding and in our community. The Montecito Bank & Trust Community Dividends annual grants support graduate studies scholarship for Fielding students who reside in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Thanks to these opportunities, adult learners like Melissa are now on a path to advancing their careers, pursuing the causes they are passionate about, and giving back to the community.

If you would like to give back and support meaningful research and projects for adult learners, please visit: https://www.fielding.edu/giving/ or contact Development Manager Marlen Bautista at giving@fielding.edu or 805.898.4029.

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About the Author: Marlen Bautista

Marlen Bautista, a recent first-generation graduate from UC Berkeley, majored in Public Health and was the recipient of various scholarships that fully funded her undergraduate education, including opportunities to study abroad in Paris, France, and Florence, Italy. Inspired by her journey, Marlen is dedicated to giving back to students from all backgrounds, regardless of socio-economic status, by serving as an Engagement Ambassador at UC Berkeley, where she shares her story of how donors made her educational dreams a reality. Now, as the Development Manager of Donor Experience at Fielding Graduate University, Marlen continues to pursue her passion for storytelling, ensuring that adult learners can pursue advanced degrees without the financial burden.

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