Congrats, Graduating Merritt Scholars!

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024–OAKLAND, CA

Our 2023-2024 Merritt Scholars cohort was our biggest cohort to date! Merritt Scholars are spread out across the state of California with varying interests in the affordable housing field.

We have 11 Scholars graduating and want to celebrate and congratulate them on their accomplishments!  

Alec Cruz finished his B.A. in Urban Studies from U.C. Berkeley.

Analie Diaz finished her M.A. in Higher Education Administration and Leadership from CSU, Fresno.

Jasmine Melendez finished her B.S. in Business Administration and Management from CSU, Los Angeles.

Jazmin Vasquez finished her B.S. in Real Estate Development with a Double Minor in Urban Studies/Planning and Sociocultural Anthropology from UC San Diego.

Jose Ayala finished his M.A. in Public Policy and Administration from CSU, Sacramento.

Jovanny Escareno finished his M.A. in Urban Planning with a Certificate in Real Estate Development from San Jose State University.

Kevin Umana finished his B.A. in Urban and Regional Planning/Urban Design from Cal Poly Pomona.

Miles Cressy finished his M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA.

Nyny Vu finished her M.A. in City Planning from UC Berkeley.

Raul Felix finished his B.A. in Urban Studies and Planning from CSU, Northridge.

Zaira Moreno Vasquez finished her B.A. Urban Studies and Planning, Minor in Real Estate and Development from UC San Diego.

We connected with graduating scholars to learn about any post-grad plans or goals and their experience as a Merritt Scholar.  

Analie is currently working as a resident services coordinator with EAH Housing and looking to continue her career in affordable housing.
“As a Merritt Scholar I was able to explore more of the affordable housing realm outside of Resident Services. Being able to attend a variety of conferences allowed me to be exposed to all the different aspects that go into making affordable housing possible. It also allowed me to network with great leaders in affordable housing and create new friendships with the other scholars.”

Jasmine is still open to job opportunities and excited to find work in the affordable housing industry.

“Being a Merritt Scholar has provided me not only with knowledge but with an amazing experience. The scholarship has impacted my life positively since I have made several professional connections.  I also got to experience what it would be like to be in the industry! “

Jazmin has been promoted from intern to a full-time position as a Project Coordinator with the Real Estate Development team at Community Housing Works after completing her CCRH internship with them. In August, Jazmin will be joining the 2024 cohort of the LAHDP Howard and Irene Levine Affordable Housing Program.  

“This year with Merritt has surpassed all of my expectations and has served as the perfect introduction to affordable housing. Being a Merritt Scholar has grown my confidence as a professional, allowed me to meet incredible people and build a strong support system along the way. This program has been instrumental in my success, and I am so grateful I had this opportunity!” 

Jose continues his work as a Senior Policy Analyst at the California Department of Housing and Community Development.
“The Merritt Scholars program helped me acquire a deeper knowledge and understanding about the affordable housing field. I’ve had the opportunity to network with professionals in the industry and have a cohort I can continue to grow in the housing field with. I’m grateful for the Merritt Scholarship for broadening my horizons and exposing me to the possibilities that exist within affordable housing.”

Jovanny continues to work with Charities Housing Development Corporation and received a promotion from Associate Project Manager to Project Manager in January! 

“My experience as a Merritt Scholar was very rewarding and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.  A few highlights include attending various affordable housing conferences throughout California and learning about different aspects of affordable housing development. Additionally, the networking opportunities were beyond impactful. I was able to meet many professionals with the same objective, but with very different backgrounds and experiences.” 

Kevin will continue his internship with the Los Angeles City Planning Department post-graduation and is excited to work with the Citywide Housing Policy Unit.
“The biggest impact this program has had on me was attending conferences and being introduced to the tight-knit affordable housing community. It was very inspiring to be surrounded by thousands of people who all have the same goal in mind. Due to the opportunities Merritt has provided me with, they have solidified my passion and interest in this field!”

Nyny accepted a job with Enterprise Community Investment as a Real Estate Financial Analyst.  
“Merritt Scholars program has changed my life!  I was able to expand my network and attend so many conferences to meet industry professionals and learn about real-world planning and affordable housing challenges and opportunities. Through these conferences, I was able to secure an internship and a full-time position after my Masters program in affordable housing finance! I am beyond grateful to be a part of this year’s cohort and look forward to being a life-long Merritt Scholar. ”    

Thank you to our graduating Merritt Scholars and good luck on your next steps! We can’t wait to see what you’ll accomplish in the industry!

About Merritt Community Capital Corporation 

Merritt Community Capital Corporation is a nonprofit dedicated to our mission to provide equity capital for affordable housing exclusively to California. We do this by partnering with mission-aligned affordable housing developers throughout the state to ensure the most critical communities are developed and maintained for low-income residents. Since 1989, Merritt has created and/or preserved 11,100 affordable homes, through investing over $1.4 billion in 26 separate funds, providing housing for over 29,700 people. 



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