Community Involvement

Corcoran prison employees award scholarships

Young woman holds certificate beside a sign for CSP-Corcoran.
Emily Mikaela Davies

The California State Prison-Corcoran Employee Activity Committee 2022 scholarships proved highly competitive. Prison staff nominated 20 graduating seniors, who then applied in hopes of winning a portion of the $2,500.

This year, the committee decided to open eligibility beyond staff member’s children and grandchildren. Staff could now nominate any graduating high school senior meeting eligibility requirements. After a couple of years awarding scholarships, the committee noted the change could broaden the net to help .

“In years past, our staff have requested to nominate their nieces and nephews or extended family that have come to live with them. When we open the eligibility criteria up, we can encompass more of our community,” said committee president Lt. Robert Clifton.

Questions helped determine scholarship winners

Each applicant was asked to provide a synopsis of extra-curricular activities and answer three questions. The committee collaborated on the questions, and with CDCR values in mind, decided they would include a question about leadership.

  • What attributes make a good leader and why?
  • How will this scholarship help you?
  • “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change,” wrote Albert Einstein. What is the most significant change you have experienced in high school?

Corcoran prison’s Education Testing Coordinator Kris Szovati was gracious enough to read, review and grade submissions for those seeking scholarships. They were then whittled down from 20 to 5.

To celebrate, winners were invited to meet acting Warden Tammy Campbell, acting Chief Deputy Warden Edward Silva and the committee. After brunch, each winner received a certificate with their cash prize. Winners who were unable to attend were represented by their nominating staff member.

Future leaders on leadership

Corcoran scholarships went to five worthy winners. On leadership, they wrote:

Jakob Gil

“As a leader, you want to make sure things get done, but you also want to make sure that the people you are leading believe in you, and have faith that you are leading them in the right direction.”

Emily Mikaela Davies

“A true leader – and a great leader – cares about their people. That is the foundation. Without that, true leadership cannot stand, because leadership means integrity and love, and it means taking actual responsibility for those being led. Power is not a crown. It is not a throne. It is not an inauguration. Real power comes from the love in our hearts. Therein lies true leadership.”

Savannah Whiting

“A good leader knows when to let someone go and do what they are good at and when to push someone out of their comfort zone. To be able to do this well, you need to have a deep understanding of the task at hand and the people who will be performing it… A leader should never expect something of others that they would not do themselves, and they should show this willingness through their actions.”

Karyme Mariscal

“Empathy is a crucial component in describing a good leader since it helps people to understand the sentiments and needs of others. Without empathy, individuals would not put in the effort to understand the lifestyles, struggles, or situations others may be going through.”

Brian Salas-Moore

“To be a leader you must be willing to endure the criticism that is inevitable for the position. The leader is the one who gets the most blame, but at the same time gets all the praise when success is achieved. A leader must have unwavering confidence in every decision they make, and not second guess any decision, and continue to push forward.”

By Lieutenant Katherine Cruz

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