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September 17, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop the need for scholarship aid for underrepresented students and it didn’t stop the Costco Scholarship Fund Breakfast from holding its 21st annual fundraising event. The Costco Scholarship Fund Breakfast, held virtually on Sept. 17, brought in almost $4.4 million from generous donors for scholarships benefitting students at Seattle University and University of Washington.
The event featured SU School of Law graduate Noe Merfeld, ’20, who emceed the event and introduced featured speaker Seattle U student Drew Sylva, ’21, who shared his own story of the impact the scholarship had on his academic career. Guests also viewed an alumni video, which highlighted Seattle U alumna Laura Escanola-Flores, ’06, and the difference she is making in the community.
In 2000, Costco co-founders Jim Sinegal and Jeff Brotman joined with Seattle University and the UW to create scholarships for highly qualified underrepresented students to make college more accessible and fill the financial gap. The College Success Foundation administers the Costco Scholarship Fund. (View the event on the College Success Foundation website.)
Since its inception, the Costco Scholarship Fund has raised more than $60 million for deserving students.
More about the Seattle U students
Noe Merfeld is the youngest of six children raised by a single parent. With the help of the Costco Scholarship, she attended the University of Washington and inspired others in her family to pursue higher education. In 2020, Merfeld earned her law degree with honors at Seattle University School of Law, was admitted to the Washington State Bar and will be a deputy prosecuting attorney for the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
Drew Sylva, who is studying sociology, grew up in Oakland, Calif., and found that self-development activities, such as the arts, were largely unavailable for low-income communities of color. Dedicated to uplifting his community, Sylva played a lead role in establishing The Conservatory of Vocal and Instrumental Arts College High School in Oakland alongside administrators, facility managers and government officials. He also spent an extensive amount of time tutoring within his community, building custom tutoring training programs for students to succeed.
Laura Escalona-Flores graduated with a degree in social work. Motivated by a desire to support youth and communities of color, she pursued graduate studies at Loyola University and received her master’s in social work in 2008. After working in a clinical setting for several years, Escalona-Flores found her calling as a school-based mental health consultant. She currently serves as a mental health therapist with NeighborCare Health in Seattle, providing care to patients as well as trauma-focused training to mental health care providers.
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