Home Trade school Dean’s Future Scholars Celebrates Directors’ Birthdays, Creates Program Endowment

Dean’s Future Scholars Celebrates Directors’ Birthdays, Creates Program Endowment


July 1, 2022 marked a symbolic anniversary for the Dean’s Future Scholars program as Executive Director Mariluz Garcia celebrated its tenth year, and Dean’s Future Scholars program alumnus Manuel Ortiz celebrated his first year as Deputy Principal. .

William Sparkman, who founded the Dean’s Future Scholars program in 2000 and Bob Edgington, who led the program from 2005 to 2012, both embodied Dean’s Future Scholars culture of giving back by creating endowments that generate annual funds for scholarships.

“To celebrate my tenth anniversary, I wanted to replicate the generosity of those who came before me by creating my own scholarship,” Garcia said.

Over the span of 22 years, the College of Education and Human Development’s Dean’s Future Scholars program has had a tremendous impact on low-income, first-generation students in Washoe County. To date, 1,552 students have participated in Dean’s Future Scholars, which offers free mentorship and summer programs for at least six years. For students continuing their college education, the Dean’s Future Scholars Program provides mentorship, scholarships, job opportunities, and support until they graduate from college and enter the workforce.

This grant-funded program has been successful in increasing the upward social mobility of families. For example, 49% of current Dean’s Future Scholars parents did not earn a high school diploma, but their children who participate in the Dean’s Future Scholars program have achieved an average high school graduation rate of 96% over the past five years, or 17%. points higher than their low-income peers in the school district. Over the past five years, 72% graduated with an advanced or honors degree, which better prepared students to enter 2-year, 4-year, or trade school programs of their choice.

“We know that together we have built something very special, and the program is having a positive impact, but we need sustainable sources of funding to continue this work.”

Garcia with students when he was hired as general manager in 2012

“Mariluz Garcia has played a major role in Dean’s Future Scholars efforts over the past ten years. Her gentle spirit and desire to see students reach higher than they imagined had a significant impact on communities in Reno and Nevada,” said Donald Easton-Brooks, Dean of the College of Education and Human Development. . “Manuel Ortiz, who started out as a reluctant DFSer, became a teacher, mentor, now the program director of Dean’s Future Scholars, earned his master’s degree, and is enrolled in a doctoral program here at the University. He is the right person to lead Dean’s Future Scholars as Dr. Garcia moves (Next Gen) programming across the state, and his lived experience will continue to shape the young minds of Reno and Nevada.

Garcia began working for the Dean’s Future Scholars program in 2004 when she began her Masters in School Counseling. As a graduate assistant, Garcia helped create the first official Dean’s Future Scholars Mentoring Program, which today serves 408 students in grades 7-12 located in 38 different schools during the school year. She also helped coordinate the large-scale summer program on the college campus, which served 280 students during the 2022 summer program.

Garcia with mentor
Garcia with mentors in 2004

“Although 18 years have passed, Garcia clearly remembers first meeting Ortiz as a tenth grader at Hug High School.

“Even at a young age, Manny had this larger-than-life personality that allowed him to instantly connect with others. He was a natural leader that all Dean’s Future Scholars looked up to,” Garcia said.

Ortiz mentoring a student
Ortiz as the Dean’s Future Scholar undergraduate student mentor

What sets Dean’s Future Scholars apart from other college programs is that every student recommended in their sixth year is welcomed with open arms, regardless of background, academic achievement, or family background. At no time are program participants selected based on their test scores or left the program based on their grades, attendance, or behavior.

Manuel Ortiz’s first introduction to the Dean’s Future Scholars program was when he attended Glenn Duncan Elementary School. He was approached with the opportunity to join, but the idea of ​​going to college did not take off unconvinced. Once Ortiz realized that this chance to improve his potential in education could not go unnoticed, he quickly accepted the step that would change his life for the better.

Similar to other first-generation college students from low-income backgrounds, Ortiz had to balance full-time work with college classes. He showed resilience and dedication during the ten years it took him to complete his bachelor’s degree and while completing his master’s degree during the pandemic.

“Having Manuel officially named Deputy Director of Dean’s Future Scholars last year was a dream come true for me,” said Mariluz Garcia. “For almost two decades, we have lived through life’s ups and downs together. It’s not just a job for us…it’s our family.

Ortiz with a graduation gown, holding a baby and a signing posterOrtiz when he earned his master’s degree in instructional leadership in fall 2020

Since 2004, the Dean’s Future Scholars program has actively developed its own mentoring staff and empowered them to give back to the community. Today, 50% of the leadership team and 86% of the mentoring team grew up in Dean’s Future Scholars program. This grassroots approach has created a path for advancement within the organization, giving program participants the opportunity to pay it forward and contribute in their own way.

Since sixth grade, Manuel Ortiz has seen a variety of mentors from Dean’s Future Scholars, College of Education and Human Development faculty, and community actors who have stepped up and invested in his education.

“Dr. Sparkman, Bob and Mariluz always believed in my potential…long before I could recognize it in myself,” Ortiz said. “Now it is my duty and my privilege to further their legacy by helping students at Dean’s Future Scholars achieve their educational goals and improve the quality of life for their families.”