Bertha Kalm Scholarship Recipients 2022-2023

Congratulations to the Bertha Kalm Scholarship recipients of 2022-2023! We asked them what drives their passion to make a difference. Read their inspiring response.

   Recipients                                     Response

alice smiling holding a notebook

Cho Kui (Alice) Wong She/Her

M.S. Speech-Language Pathology


"My passion to make a difference stems from my heart to serve other people. Growing up as a first-generation, low-income bilingual immigrant, I struggled to find my voice due to feeling ashamed of my accent and limited English vocabulary. However, I was always surrounded by great support and love from my family, friends, and educators, which allowed me to grow despite my struggles. With my perseverance, I pushed myself to be where I am today as a speech-language pathology graduate student to help individuals with cultural, linguistic, and neurological diverse backgrounds to find their voices. As a future speech-language pathologist, I hope to make a positive impact on people's lives by empowering members of low-income, marginalized communities who are often underrepresented, underdiagnosed, and underserved, advocating for bilingualism and neurodiversity, and educating other members of society to support those with diverse backgrounds/communication needs as they grow their voices through speech-language therapy."

samantha sitting on a bench with a flower shirt and smiling

Samantha Rodriguez

M.S. Clinical Health Counseling


"I grew up in a small town in the Central Valley of California, a mostly rural and socio-economically depressed environment. I come from an immigrant, Spanish-speaking family, and am part of the first generation of my family to be born in the United States. In my family and community, I have repeatedly seen the effects of a lack of mental health awareness, some of which can be long-term and debilitating. Experiencing and observing this lack of mental health support has inspired me to bridge the gap between mental health services and minority communities. In working with people, I want to see all parts of my clients — their gender, culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual identity and more — to truly understand their context and tailor the support I offer them. My goal is to support the people pushed to society’s corners by making them the center of my office."

keenan smiling in a side profile

Keenan Guillas (he/him)

M.S. Marine Science


"Our window of opportunity to address the climate emergency has narrowed substantially, yet the science required to develop and implement the necessary solutions and policies has existed for years. The current gap is not a gap in scientific understanding but a lack of understanding and cooperation between the scientific and political communities and between existing science and the public. Climate and environmental issues can only be solved with improved policy and large-scale change, and this can only occur if policymakers and governments are held accountable. In turn, influential bodies will only be held accountable if people have the knowledge necessary to recognize the need for change and the shape change should take. Researchers are notorious for failing to tell their stories to people outside science, hindering the potential for important findings to be informative to laypeople and governments. I hope to use my background studying connectivity between small- and large-scale environmental processes to inform people about our changing planet and the many small ways in which we can work together to save it. I would like to use research to link scientific and non-scientific communities together to enact change. Improving the accessibility of environmental and climate knowledge through science communication and facilitating the collaboration of scientific and non-scientific communities will introduce more opportunities for people outside of science to learn about what needs to be done (and what they can do) to help maintain the natural environment and mitigate the negative effects of climate change."

amy headshot

Amy Yamagami 

M.S.W. Social Work


“As a health worker in one of San Francisco’s behavioral health clinics, I see the daily challenges of adults who struggle with severe mental illness, substance use, homelessness, poverty, and chronic health conditions. Many of these individuals, who are members of oppressed communities, have also experienced a lot of trauma, stigma, and discrimination. In addition to being passionate about helping people overcome their challenges and live life to their fullest potential, I also strive to help people feel validated and important. Having overcome many personal struggles which has led me to a career in social work, I value and appreciate peoples’ strengths and resilience to overcome challenges. My goal is to provide therapy and case management and continue working in a community mental health setting so I can make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives. As I work toward completing my Master’s in Social Work, I look forward to learning more about how I can help people in greater capacities.”