Thank You 2023-2024 Merritt Scholars!

June 25, 2024

June 25, 2024-Oakland, CA

Our 2023-2024 Merritt Scholars cohort was the largest cohort to date, welcoming 20 scholars in 2023.

As a People-First organization, Merritt knows that solving the affordable housing crises means attracting and training the next generation of affordable housers, who will change the future of California. Merritt is dedicated to investing in people and housing to build a stronger California. Our future leaders will work together to ensure that everyone has a home in a community where they can thrive.  

As we wrap up our programming with our Scholars, we are excited to see them secure promotions. internships, internships, and new jobs during their time as a Merritt Scholar. Thank you to our Merritt Scholar Mentors for your support and guidance and for all of our partners who networked, met-with, and hired a Merritt Scholar!

This year’s Merritt Scholars come from 13 different schools all over California with 11 undergraduate students and 9 graduate students. Four of our scholars are from schools that previously have not applied to Merritt Scholars before. This year, 85% of Merritt Scholars identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color and 65% of Scholars have lived experience in affordable housing or homelessness.  

Thank you and congratulations on being a Merritt Scholar!

Jose Ayala, California State University, Sacramento, Master of Public Policy and Administration 

Jennifer Carter, California State University, Sacramento, Master of Public Policy and Administration 

Ronlindia Carter, California State Los Angeles, B.A. Business Administration – Accounting 

Rosendo Cervantes, Cal Poly Pomona, Master of Architecture 

Miles Cressy, UCLA, Master of Urban and Regional Planning 

Alec Cruz, UC Berkeley, B.A. in Urban Studies, Minor in Geospatial Information Science & Technology 

Linsy Damashek, UC Berkely, B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies B.A. in Urban Studies 

Analie Diaz, California State University, Fresno, M.A. Higher Education Administration and Leadership 

Jovanny Escareno, San Jose State University, Master in Urban Planning with a Certificate in  Real Estate Development (CRED) 

Raul Felix, California State University, Northridge, B.A. Urban Studies and Planning 

Shawn Kunipo, California State University, Long Beach, B.A. Geography 

Jasmine Melendez, California State University, Los Angeles, B.S. Business Administration and Management 

Zaira Moreno Vazquez, UC San Diego, B.A. Urban Studies and Planning, Minor in Real Estate and Development 

Madison Nguyen, UC Irvine, B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy 

Adriana Ochoa, UCLA, Dual Masters – Urban and Regional Planning & Public Health 

Marina Panzetta, California State University, Long Beach, Master of Business Administration 

Noemi Ramirez, California State University, Northridge, Masters of Public Administration 

Kevin Umana, Cal Poly Pomona, B.A. Urban and Regional Planning/Urban Design 

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

Nyny Vu, UC Berkeley, Master of City Planning 

Check out our other Merritt Scholars features in our News Releases here to learn more about our scholars and their next steps!

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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