Alumni News

It takes a village. Scott Pine with the President’s Ambassadors and SMC President, Dr. Chui L. Tsang.
(Top left to right) Seyf Nasr, Scott Pine, Ernest Sevilla, Sierra McDonald, Valentina Seitz, Dr. Chui L. Tsang, Amy Rahimpour, Hoi Ching (Jo Jo) Lai, Nathalie Sanchez, Deirdre Weaver, Taynara Moura, Nadia Deen and Echo Tsai.


Alumni Support and Student Success

Through his journey to attain a Jack Kent Cooke (JKC) Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship nomination, Scott Pine illustrates how student success can be linked to alumni support.


Successful people accomplish their goals. As a young adult student, I have grand ambitions. I aspire to transfer from SMC to a top-tier institution like UCLA, attend graduate school, and have a prosperous career, among other goals. Last fall semester 2012, my goal was to be nominated for the Jack Kent Cooke (JKC) Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, the largest private funded transfer scholarship in the nation, worth up to $30,000 per year to pay for all college related expenses. My experiences at SMC have taught me that success is not a solo endeavor, but rather a collective effort to reach one’s goals. Indeed, my nomination for the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship was not accomplished solely by my own hard work, but with the help of numerous key players such as professors, mentors, and student colleagues. Notably, I received invaluable advice from SMC alumnus and current Jack Kent Cooke Scholar, Stephen Olsen. 

The minimum requirements for the JKC application were numerous and comprehensive. My challenge was to assemble the most competitive application that would best convey why SMC should nominate me over other qualified students. I turned to Mr. Olsen because he went through what I deem a painstaking, anxiety-laden process, two years ago. I believed I could learn something from his success.  Mr. Olsen kindly agreed to establish a conference call and answer any general questions I had about the Jack Kent Cooke foundation, and specific questions about the application requirements and process. We spoke for over one hour. After speaking with Mr. Olsen, I became confident in my ability to be nominated by SMC. 

A large part of my success at SMC is linked directly to the community of support I receive from professors, mentors, and peers. I understand that I am only one individual with limited talents, knowledge, and life experiences. However, where I may lack in one domain, a person may be rich in another. For example, my professors have profoundly more life experience than I do. My time with Mr. Olsen was critical in helping me assemble the best application for the JKC transfer scholarship. His insights about what the committee wants to see in student applicants and his detailed comments in my essays helped me assemble a competitive application. 

Heading into finals week, on December 8 at 12:47 pm, I received a message from SMC congratulating me for my nomination to be considered for the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship. I was beyond ecstatic! I experienced mixed feelings of intense joy, relief, and most importantly—gratitude. Before beginning my scholarship application, I knew success was a collective process. The help I received from everyone, including SMC Alumnus Stephen Olsen, reinforced my notion of success as a collective endeavor. Just to be nominated by SMC is an honor, and to be considered for the JKC scholarship is a wonderful opportunity.

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