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Student Wins $25,000 Scholarship

UCR Student Awarded $25,000 Scholarship by Women's Group

Cited for exceptional devotion to academics and service

(October 6, 2006)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- ( -- Rachael Bedolla, a transfer student entering her junior year at UC Riverside to study special education, has been awarded a $25,000 scholarship from the California Women’s Conference Scholars program.

Bedolla, 27, was one of four young women honored as “exceptional California women devoted to academics and service” at the 2006 California Governor and First Lady's Conference on Women, considered the nation's pre-eminent women's conference, held this year at the Long Beach Convention Center.

“It was awesome,” Bedolla said of the conference, “I got to meet Maria Shriver and she was so down to earth and she handpicked our essays. She said she was very impressed by our community service.”

Those competing for the scholarship had to write essays on how they were affected by their community service work and the people they worked to help. Bedolla wrote about her experience as an Americorps volunteer at the Rosemary Kennedy Elementary School in Riverside.

“I worked with young people who faced language barriers whether they were caused by disabilities or the fact that they could not speak English.”

Bedolla, who has only been on the UCR campus a couple of weeks, said she wants to get a degree in special education then hopes to continue to get her master’s and doctorate.

She became interested in special education because of her family. “I had two brothers that needed help -- one had dyslexia and one was not diagnosed but had a lot of problems. I got interested by helping them.”

Bedolla said the $25,000 in scholarship money should cover her junior and senior years at UC Riverside but there was an extra benefit.

“In addition to the wonderful scholarship, they presented me with a Sony Vaio computer and I didn’t have a laptop — it’s going to be so helpful.”

There were also a few more perks. “I got my picture taken with the Dalai Lama, Sarah Ferguson, and (model turned business magnate) Elle MacPherson. It was an awesome opportunity.”

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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