UCI Cross-Cultural Center

Dr. Joseph L. White Scholarship

About the Dr. White Scholarship

UCI Cross-Cultural Center | Dr. Joseph L. White Scholarship | In celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Joseph L. White, this scholarship will support the success of low-income, first-generation undergraduate students.

The Dr. Joseph L. White Scholarship celebrates the life and contribution of a nationally admired and respected educator, mentor, advocate and scholar.  Recognized as the “godfather of black psychology,” Dr. White is esteemed as a pioneer and trailblazer in his field. Throughout his extensive career, he has been a proponent for educational access and opportunity for low-income, first-generation and ethnic minority students. Dr. White’s legacy of excellence in supporting and advancing equitable student success lives on through the endowment of this scholarship. The Dr. Joseph L. White Scholarship assists students through a financial award in the amount of $1,000 and will be applied throughout the 2019-2020 academic year.

Previous Cohorts : 2019-2020

Meet Our 2020-2021 Student Scholars!

Eryka Anderson

Eryka Anderson (she/her/hers)

Hi everyone! My name is Eryka Anderson and I am a first-generation 4th year student at UCI studying biology with a minor in anthropology in pursuit of a career in forensic pathology. I am passionate about the human body and the intricacies of the behavior/livelihoods of others and I am so blessed to be able to integrate those two passions on a regular basis here at UCI.

As a low-income minority student, I feel it is especially impactful to not only understand others but to also give back with an open mind. This is why I enjoy community service, and was previously on the executive board for the Red Cross Club at UCI as an external chair. I also work closely with the ​California Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation​ (​CAMP) program on campus, whose focus is to increase the amount of STEM degree recipients from underrepresented communities at UC campuses. Through the CAMP program, I was able to learn about and then pursue research, and they have sponsored me to attend a research conference (SACNAS) where I met so many inspirational professionals who looked like me, and had so many other valuable experiences. I have been doing microbiology research through the Whiteson Lab for a little over a year now, and you’ll often find me learning new code in “R” or doing wet lab experiments with pathogens pertaining to cystic fibrosis.

I am so truly honored to receive this scholarship, and while reflecting back on the incredible things Dr. White accomplished for the betterment of Black people psychologically as well as academically, professionally, and personally, I know it is a cause that is important to my heart (and of course part of my existence as an African American woman in higher education) and something I want to keep pursuing: living while trying to be the best that you can be and approaching different people with understanding in order to uplift them. Again, I cannot say thank you enough times for this meaningful scholarship!

Irene Morales

Irene Morales (she/her/hers)

Hello everyone! I am a fourth-year student double majoring in Criminology, Law, and Society and Education Sciences. As a proud first-generation college student, I excitedly embrace new experiences and opportunities. With a confident attitude in my undergraduate career, I have studied abroad in Rome, lobbied to increase state funding for higher education at the California Capitol, participated in a week-long service project at the U.S./Mexico border, taught high school freshmen and eighth graders on globalization and international relations, mentored first-generation college freshmen, and advised undergraduate peers on studying abroad.


I feel truly honored and blessed to have been selected as a Dr. Joseph L. White Scholar. As a champion for educational access and opportunity for minority students throughout his impressive career, Dr. White greatly inspires me to make a similar impact within my community.


Educational achievement disparities of Latinx students within the American K-12 public education system demonstrate the lack of cultural competence and critical need for educators who are culturally aware and representative of the student population they serve in public schools. I am motivated to become a bilingual Spanish social science high school educator with the hopes of making a positive difference in the lives of Latinx and other minority students. 

Nikesh Poudel

Nikesh Poudel (he, him,his)

Hi! My name is Nikesh Poudel and I am a second-year undergraduate student at UCI. As a low-income first-generation student, I am proud to represent my community and contribute to the advancement of minorities from low-income families in higher education. Dr. Joseph L. White Endowed Scholarship is special to me because immigrating to the United States from Nepal, I understand first-hand the adversities that students undergo when adapting to new environments, so as to provide access to opportunities, and reduce barriers through compassion and guidance have always driven me forward. I plan to commit myself to continue supporting ethnic minorities with the best of my abilities in every way possible.

Dr. Joseph L. White's dedication has inspired me and strengthened my goals moving forward. I am excited and honored to have been selected to receive the Dr. Joseph L. White Endowed Scholarship. I feel blessed to receive this award and many thanks to the Cross-Cultural Center at UCI. 

Sharen Moniqca

Sharen Moniqca (she/her/hers)

My name is Sharen Moniqca and I am going into my fourth year at UCI as a Political Science and Social Policy and Public Service double major! I am extremely thankful for The Cross Cultural Center in choosing me to receive the Dr. Joseph L. White Endowed Scholarship for the up coming school year, and even more thankful for the support of those on campus who have holistically supported me up until this point. During my first year at UCI I was a volunteer for The CCC and through that experience I was able to better understand my own interests and passions with student advocacy and community empowerment. I have taken the values instilled within the Cross; such as diversity, activism, social justice, and community, into every space that I go into on campus and I hope to continue doing so throughout my last year at UCI! I hope that with this additional support I am better able to commit my time into meaningful spaces and continue contributing my experiences to the UCI community while also representing all of the different communities that I am proudly a part of. 

Zachary Simons

Zachary Simons (he/him/his)

My name is Zachary Simons, and I am a fifth-year undergraduate in the School of Social Ecology as a Psychological Sciences Major and Philosophy Minor. I have been working full time to support myself since high school, and I am the first in my family to go to college. Because of this, I have had to maintain my own drive and define my own system of integrity. When I was young, I was invited into a closed-door martial arts studio which became a huge part of my life; and then I was running my own studio by the time I was 23. One of my greatest possessions is that of my personal integrity; I indelibly follow through on my commitments. 

Going back to school I focused on psychology and began writing again – something I had not done in quite some time. By creating my own worlds, I can dissect and better understand reality as it is. I have written two novels, and am currently writing more, each one exploring in its own way man’s mind and the questions we all feel regarding our place within the universe. I believe that through furthering human understanding about ourselves, who we are and what we are capable of, we as humans have the potential for some truly wondrous things.  I ended up meeting my wife after deciding to go back to school, and now, happily married for two years at 33, I realize that nearly losing my life in that fire was the greatest thing to ever happen to me. I wouldn’t change it for a thing.

I have never been prouder of where I stand, or where I am going – with the family I have earned the right to call my own. I somewhere along the line decided that I want to teach, and to write, and I plan to pursue at least one higher degree of an MFA in Creative Writing, and perhaps a PhD in Philosophy or Psychology as well. I realized that the only limits in life are those we paint around ourselves. It is truly a great honor to receive this Scholarship, and the recognition and aid that it offers will allow me to succeed at my goals. 

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Claudia Reyes

Bio coming soon.