SMC Student Wins Prestigious National Scholarship

Scott Pine Is One of 73 Students Chosen from 769 Nominees Nationally

Scott PineFor the second time in three years, a Santa Monica College student has been awarded a prestigious Jack Kent Cooke (JKC) Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, the largest private-funded scholarship of its kind in the nation.
This year’s recipient, Scott Pine, was one of 73 students chosen from 769 nominees from 377 community colleges. The award comes two years after Stephen Olsen became the first student in SMC history to receive the award.
The winners – chosen by a prestigious selection committee made up of 37 admissions professionals, mostly from selective four-year institutions – receive up to $30,000 a year to complete their bachelor’s degrees at four-year colleges or universities.

“I was happy, but not surprised that Scott Pine was the recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship,” said SMC President Dr. Chui L. Tsang. “He is extremely focused on getting an education and he is on a mission.
“Scott is a remarkable young man who is determined, goal-oriented and has distinguished himself as an outstanding student,” Tsang said. “They couldn’t have picked a more deserving person.”
Scholarship winners are chosen for their “exceptional academic ability and achievements, financial need, persistence, leadership, and a desire to help others,” according to the Foundation, which was started in 2002.
A psychology major, Pine has been engaged in original research in psychology, has had an article published by a trade journal and recently completed an internship at the Psychology of Social Justice Lab at UCLA. He is transferring this fall to UCLA.
"My experiences at SMC have taught me that success is not a solo endeavor, but rather a collective effort to reach one’s goals,” Pine said.
To help guide him though the daunting application process, Pine turned to former recipient Olsen, who was the first in his family to attend college.
“He went through what I deem a painstaking, anxiety-laden process, two years ago,” Pine said. “I believed I could learn something from his success.  After speaking with him, I became confident in my ability to be nominated by SMC.”
Olsen’s “insights” into what the committee wants to see and his “detailed comments” on his essays” helped Pine assemble a prize-winning application.
“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,” he added.
A varsity football player in high school, Pine sustained head blows so serious that his ability to read, write and speak was severely impaired. During his recovery Pine realized he needed to pay more attention to what was truly important – his education.
"Losing brain function revealed the importance for me to embrace my remaining talents and opportunities in school," Pine recalled.
Pine is one of 13 President’s Ambassador Students who help put a face on SMC, greeting guests at public events and conducting tours of the campus for prospective students and visitors. In addition, Pine participated in SMC's Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS).
As a Dale Ride intern, Pine will work at the American Psychological Association’s Public Interest and Government Relations Office in Washington, D.C. this summer.
He has been active both on campus and in the community, helping to raise $24,000 for the Venice Japanese American Memorial Marker.
“He is simply amazing and inspiring and kind and impressive and the best example of an outstanding graduate that I have ever seen at SMC,” said Kiersten Elliott, SMC’s Dean of Enrollment Services.
Scholarship amounts vary based on several factors, including costs at the institution the student attends and other grants and scholarships the student receives.
Recipients can use the award to pay for tuition, room and board, books and required fees and can pursue any area of study. They also gain access to the greater JKCF Scholar community.
“The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has long been committed to helping outstanding community college students transfer to and succeed at the nation’s top colleges and universities,” said Dana O’Neill, program manager of the Undergraduate Transfer Program at the Foundation.