2022 CSEF Skateboarding Scholarship Recipients


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Another year, another dollar they say, or in our case, it's $31,000! With the fifth year of CSEF upon us, we decided to go all out with the scholarships and doled the aforementioned amount to 14 lucky skateboarders for their academic pursuits. We continued our partnership with Exposure along with offering two new scholarships with the San Diego-based nonprofit Rollin’ From The Heart. Give a read-through to see the heaviest class to date for CSEF. —Joshua Rowe

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Monyell Sessoms (CSEF Dean’s List Scholarship)

Hailing from the great state of North Carolina, Monyell Sessoms is currently halfway through her studies. She’s working towards a degree in political science with a minor in history at the revered Howard University in Washington, D.C. Growing up as a political activist and engaged community member, her post-graduation goal is to gain experience as a political editor before entering the world of education as a professor. When she's not grinding away at school or working towards her goals, you can find her volunteering with mutual aid organizations across D.C. or helping at food banks back home in Raleigh. As for her skating? Well, Monyell is the president of the unofficial Howard University Skate Club, creating an inclusive environment for all—so ‘nough said.

 

Hitting all the checkmarks of what we want our scholarship recipients to represent and more, Monyell is one of two recipients of the first-ever CSEF Dean’s List scholarship. She will be receiving a check for $3,000, and we hope to get an invite to the next HU Skate Club event!

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Max Harrison-Caldwell (CSEF Dean’s List Scholarship)

EXTRA! EXTRA! Max Harrison-Caldwell, mag contributor and esteemed skate journalist, is getting a scholarship! Max not only started the community news section for his school newspaper The Occidental, but he’s also been nominated for the Society of Professional Journalists' Mark of Excellence for In-Depth Reporting. He completed a bachelor's at Occidental College, then Max headed north to start a career as a reporter for The Frisc in San Francisco. Through his experiences as a reporter, Max set his sights on furthering his skills through a Master’s in Journalism at UC Berkeley. Now entering his first year as a graduate student, Max will continue his journey as a writer in order to deliver journalism that will affect change on a greater scale. In addition to being a fantastic writer, he has volunteered for SkatePal and Free Movement Skateboarding, connecting with children in different parts of the world and bringing skateboarding to them. And while many will say the pen is mightier than the sword, Max’s sword—aka his skate game—is sharp enough to cut it with some of his favorite pros (we’re looking at you, Ryan Lay).

 

A ripper and scholar of this caliber is a prime example of what we look for in our applicants. Max is one of two recipients of the first-ever CSEF Dean’s List scholarship. He will be walking away with a cool $3,000 to kickstart the first year of graduate school.

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Danielle Haase (Exposure Scholarship)

Having just graduated from University of Southern California, Danielle is taking the next step forward by returning to USC to attend the Keck School of Medicine. She will start the official journey toward becoming a doctor. Her goal is to be a primary care physician focusing on community health. She hopes to support women from marginalized groups to overcome the multiple barriers in place in the healthcare industry. If that doesn’t already bring a tear to your eye, then the list of volunteer groups she’s been a part of will: VOICE, SCALE and Brain Exercise to name just a few. On top of that, she also supports women and queer skater meetups through Auntie Skate in the USC area. And you can also find her in the streets with the Worble crew! That impressive C.V. helped her land one of our Exposure scholarships, earning a nice $5,000 towards her dreams. Also, Danielle is the first applicant to provide citations in her essays. Hats off to you for that!

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Vanessa Crambell (Exposure Scholarship)

Chi-Town represent! Vanessa is currently chipping away at a Master’s in Social Work at Grand Valley State University. Growing up and realizing the lack of diversity and shared experiences in the social services space, Vanessa wants to be the change in the system. To this end, they hope becoming a licensed clinical social worker will enable them to advocate for and support the next generation in their community. They are already being the change at home by acting as a medical benefits navigator for LGBTQA+, BIPOC youth as well as facilitating skate meetups in Chicago. Seeing Vanessa already being the change they wanted to see in their community, it was no shock they were selected to receive $5,000 Exposure scholarship. This will help them finish their last year strong and we can't wait to see what's next!

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Alexia Lomeli (Rollin’ From The Heart Ian “Poods” Barry Scholarship)

Coming back for another scholarship with us is Alexia Lomeli. Entering her senior year at the University of California Santa Cruz, Alexia is wrapping up her degree in psychology and eyeing a career in neuropsychology. She has prepared for success with previous work in her hometown of Chula Vista as a paraprofessional with non-verbal and visually impaired elementary school students. When it comes to the old plank and four wheels, you can find Alexia hitting the bowls at Linda Vista or ripping through Washington Street like her favorite skater Lizzie Armanto.

 

We are proud to announce Alexia as the first recipient of the Ian “Poods” Barry scholarship in partnership with Rollin’ From the Heart. This scholarship was created to highlight and support skateboarders from the greater San Diego area who show exemplary activism within their respective communities. Known for being a true skateboarder that was down for any rail, Poods was maybe best known for the love he had for everyone he knew and the unwavering compassion extended to those he came across. With her longstanding history of giving back to the youth of Chula Vista and having the heart of Poods, Alexia will be receiving $2,000 to help her finish senior year strong and keep her on track to achieve her goals!

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Bryson Nihipali (Rollin’ From The Heart Zane Timpson Scholarship)

Bryson is studying communications and the cinematic arts at USC. What began as a passion for capturing images from the world around him eventually led to a knack for storytelling with an emphasis on sharing the stories of those who rarely get a voice. During the pandemic and a brief reprieve from school, Bryson was able to reconnect to part of his native Hawaiian-Filipino roots when he became a member of the Pacific Island Student Association and worked with the Pacific Island ethnic art. Outside of his studies and community work, Bryson is the man behind the lens capturing both photos and videos of his skate crew.

 

Bryson’s affinity and commitment to the arts and the ways they can highlight narratives to create positive social changes helped us select him as the first recipient of the Zane Timpson scholarship in partnership with Rollin’ From The Heart. As you may know, Zane wasn’t only an amazing skateboarder, but a multi-disciplinary artist with a bachelor’s degree in cinema. His scholarship highlights skateboarders pursuing an art or art-adjacent degree who are fit to carry the torch fffurther. Bryson is more than worthy and he will be receiving $5,000 to support his dream to tell stories that will impact the world.

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Ha Vet Nguyen

Our second repeat recipient this year, Ha Vet is entering her final year of medical school! Studying osteopathic medicine at Touro University, she has set her sights on becoming a trauma/critical care surgeon with the goal of working in rural, mountainous regions to aide underserved populations. As a skater and snowboarder who has been a local in the Portland, Denver and Bay Area scenes, this career goal clearly makes sense. Ha Vet has volunteered with Skate Like a Girl in both the Bay Area and Portland. More recently, she founded a skateboarding club at Touro. Additionally, she has been a frontline active healthcare volunteer throughout the pandemic. Thank you for your service, and congrats on securing a second CSEF scholarship!

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Alana DeVito 

With an undergraduate degree from Concordia University, Alana is continuing their path in sound design by pursuing a Master’s of Sound Art at Columbia University. As a musician, producer, composer and sound artist, they aim to become a professor in the sound art field—as well as a film composer and sound designer. In these roles, Alana looks forward to inspiring other non-cis men to enter the audio field. Alongside their academic studies, Alana is heavily involved with Post Vibez, Sk8 M8s and the Concordia Electroacoustic Studies Student Association—the first two of which Alana helped found. We're proud to say that their first year at Columbia is coming with a CSEF scholarship.

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Alex Pourfard

Alex is a San Diego native who just recently finished his undergraduate degree at the University of California Santa Cruz. With one degree completed, Alex packed his bags and headed back home to start a Master’s in Climate Science and Policy at the prestigious University of California San Diego: Scripps Institute of Oceanography. He aims to help create a healthy coastal development policy off the shores of Southern California. Alex has made a difference by volunteering with multiple nonprofits for environmental conservation and skateboarding. Now that you're down south again, we look forward to more NBDs at the Pyramid—no pressure!

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Erick Lopez

Working toward a career in psychiatry, Erick is studying Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience at Yale University. You gotta be pretty smart just to say that. As a psychiatrist in low-income Latino communities, Erick hopes to help youth in areas like the one he grew up in. He’s already giving back to his roots through creating connections and employment opportunities for Latinx students and volunteering with HAVEN as the Director of Patient Services. HAVEN finds health insurance options for uninsured people and undocumented communities—primarily the Spanish-speaking community in New Haven. Hopefully we see a clip at the Ingalls Rink this semester for us! 

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Sylvie Bishop 

Our youngest scholarship recipient this year, Sylvie is beginning her sophomore year at Madison College in Wisconsin. Her studies in Liberal Arts are helping her set up for a transfer to the linguistics program at UW Madison. With a passion for spoken languages and nonprofit work, Sylvie is looking to be an interpreter in the legal or medical clinic spaces. Whenever she finds free time between school and working 40 hours a week, Sylvie’s heavily involved with FQSN (Femme and Queer Skate Night), organizing and supporting meetups at a local DIY. We can't wait to see what this next year brings!

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Hadi Chaaban

Hadi studies computer science at the University of Central Florida and plans to become a software engineer after earning his degree. He’s already created an app that tracks one's carbon footprint and recommends ways to reduce it. That inspired him to work in the medical and environmental fields—programming for good! Hadi is also the long-time Environmental Director of Seminole State Volunteers, along with volunteering at the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects, representing his Lebanese Muslim heritage loud and proud. When you’re not out filming in the streets of Orlando, think we can get a proper trick counter app for the session, Hadi?

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David Briceno

Fresh out of his undergraduate program at University of California Berkeley, David is moving across The Bay to the University of California Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. As the son of a Venezuelan immigrant, he will be using his law degree to represent underserved people in his community. When it comes to skateboarding, we all owe David a big thank you, as he is constantly on the prowl to fix up skate spots and build DIYs. Heck, he even made some obstacles for Maxallure’s contest at 3rd and Army!

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Adrian Aguilar
After beginning college as a philosophy major, Adrian took a huge interest in his own people's story and the lack thereof in many textbooks about U.S. history. Determined to make their voice heard, Adrian is now a Latino studies major at San Francisco State University with dreams of teaching social and ethnic studies at the high school level. He’s already taken the first steps of supporting the next generation through working as a skate instructor in Culver City and volunteering the nonprofit Heart of Los Angeles assisting middle school students from his neighborhood with their homework (the same program that supported him as a youth). The future is only looking more promising for Adrian and we are happy to assist in your senior year!

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