Three LACCD Students Awarded Prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship

May 15, 2024

By Juliet Hidalgo

Three LACCD Students Awarded Prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship

LACCD Talent Shines Bright With Two West LA Students and One LACC Student Awarded for Exceptional Academic Promise

LOS ANGELES – Three Los Angeles Community College District students, two from West Los Angeles College (West) and one from Los Angeles City College (LACC), were among the 60 recipients nationally to receive the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship for community college students transferring to universities in the fall.

This year, there were nearly 1,700 applicants from over 380 community colleges across the country. The Cooke Foundation aims for their scholars to complete their undergraduate educations with as little debt as possible. The award can provide as much as $55,000 per student toward the completion of their bachelor’s degrees.

"LACCD congratulates these three remarkable students on their well-deserved achievement," said LACCD Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D. "Their dedication to academic excellence and their awe-inspiring commitment to their communities serve as a beacon of hope for us all. We are immensely proud of their accomplishments and grateful for the opportunities the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has provided them."

Three LACCD Students Awarded Prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship

Kent Cooke Scholars from West, Marilyn Chavez and Oscar Lopez, and LACC, Jose Ocampo Gomez

The three Jack Kent Cooke recipients are Marilyn Chavez from West who will transfer to UCLA to study Climate Change Science, Oscar Lopez from West who will be studying Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley, and Jose Ocampo Gomez from LACC who will be studying physics at Stanford University in the fall.

Marilyn Chavez took a break between high school and college to work and start a family. When she enrolled at West, Chavez intended to study dental hygiene to increase her income. But while at West, she got involved with the campus Center for Climate Change Education and realized she could make a difference in the world. Chavez interned with the Center and often served as a bilingual spokesperson. She played a key role in organizing major events, launching the Center’s social media (@climatectr_wlac), and attending seminars around the State.

“I definitely had an advantage at West,” said Oscar Lopez. “I had more interpersonal connections with my professors.” Those connections, he explained, led to professors alerting him to and recommending him for unique internships and scholarships. While at West, Lopez had internships with the High Performance Robotics Lab (HiPeRLab) at UC Berkeley, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Caltech.

“I originally came to LACC for the music program, but as I took more courses I discovered my passion for physics,” Jose Ocampo Gomez said. “As an undocumented student, I appreciate the support I received at LACC and the great variety of mathematics and physics courses. I would not have accomplished my goals without Dr. Jayesh Bhakta and LACC’s physics department.”

“This is the second time in three years that a student from West LA College has earned this elite honor – and this year we have two,” said Dr. James M. Limbaugh, West Los Angeles College President. “It is a testament to the caliber of students we attract and the quality of education provided by our faculty and staff.”

“The LACC community is thrilled that Jose Ocampo Gomez has been awarded this prestigious scholarship,” said Dr. Amanuel Gebru, LA City College President. “We are very proud that our students have participated and won Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships for the past several years.  Jose exemplifies the exceptional academic ability and achievement found at LACC.”

In addition to the financial support, Cooke Scholars receive comprehensive educational advising – guidance that is crucial for navigating their transition to four-year colleges and planning their career paths. The scholars also benefit from access to internship opportunities, study abroad and graduate school funding, as well as a dynamic network of over 3,000 Cooke Scholars and Alumni. 

LACCD extends its deepest appreciation to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for its commitment to supporting the academic pursuits and future aspirations of community college students across the nation.


West Los Angeles College is an ACCJC accredited California Community College that offers career certificates and Associate degrees as well as paths to transfer to competitive universities as a Junior. West also offers two Bachelor’s degrees in Dental Hygiene and Avionics. Students can enroll full-time or part-time, in-person or in the college’s award-winning online program. For more information, visit 

About Los Angeles City College

Established in 1929, Los Angeles City College is one of the oldest of the California Community Colleges. Located in the heart of Hollywood, LACC provides a dynamic innovative learning environment offering more than 100 vocational and professional programs including degrees, transfer programs and certificates to more than 18,000 students. Los Angeles City College is home to one of the most vibrant and diverse campuses in the country. The campus provides a wide range of professional and vocational programs at a fraction of the cost of state and private colleges.