Four El Camino College Students Named Semifinalists for 2024 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

April 23, 2024 Torrance, CA

The highly selective Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship program has named four semifinalists from El Camino College. Recognizing outstanding community college students working to complete bachelor’s degrees, the prestigious national award supports students who have demonstrated exceptional academic ability, leadership, and service.

El Camino has a history of students qualifying for the award, with current semifinalists Frankee Granados, Pintack Gualotuna, Kennedy Hayashi, and Emily Hidalgo carrying on the tradition.

“Congratulations to El Camino’s four Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship semifinalists,” said El Camino College President Brenda Thames. “Their hard work and determination to realize their goals are inspiring. We also thank the staff and faculty members who helped them on their academic journey.”

This year, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation named 459 community college students as semifinalists, chosen from a pool of more than 1,600 applicants attending 194 community colleges in 37 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the Northern Mariana Islands. Each scholarship award is designed to cover the majority of the student’s costs to earn a bachelor’s degree, including tuition, living expenses, books and required fees. Transfer and career advisement is also available.

Undergraduate Transfer Scholars will additionally receive opportunities for internships, study abroad, and graduate school funding, as well as a connection to a thriving network of over 3,100 fellow Cooke Scholars and alumni. Scholarship finalists will be announced by early May.

El Camino College’s 2024 Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship semifinalists include:

Frankee Granados knew right away El Camino was the right choice for her. She got a head start on her college education by taking dual enrollment classes while still a student at Redondo Union High School and loved being a part of the ECC community. The political science major credits her success to guidance from the First Year Experience, a program that helps students navigate the college environment. “The great thing about El Camino is that each and every student is supported, whether it be by a counselor, adviser, or professor; there is always someone rooting for you, rooting for your success.”

Pintack Gualotuna had a slow start when he first enrolled at El Camino. The North Torrance High grad wasn’t familiar with the college experience, but soon joined FYE, the Honors Transfer Program, and EOPS, which helped him find the community he needed. Now the political science major works with ECC’s Student Equity & Achievement program, ensuring students are confident and ready for college. “I like guiding students through the process. I don’t see myself as someone who has all the answers but I’m someone who can be there to help others learn skills that will help at El Camino and their next college.” 

After graduating from Torrance High, Kennedy Hayashi immediately enrolled in El Camino and jumped right into the Honors Transfer Program, ASEM, and the Associated Students Organization. Currently serving as ASO director of finance, she also represents over two million students as vice president of finance for the Student Senate of California Community Colleges, traveling the nation to advocate for students. The math major plans to transfer and shift to statistics and data science. “I'm thankful I’ve been able to complete my goals at El Camino with support from workshops, counseling sessions, and events.”

Emily Hidalgo graduated from West High School and soon began her communication studies major at El Camino. She is part of the First Year Experience and the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society, where she also serves as treasurer and activities director. One of the most important things she learned at ECC is the importance of trying your best, but you don’t have to be perfect. “It is ok to make mistakes. Being a Warrior means to keep persevering even when things may not work out for us the first or second time because we know that in the end, we all have a goal that we are trying to achieve.”