Editor’s Note: Currents caught up with some of PG&E’s Bright Minds Scholarship winners from 2012 — the first year of the scholarship program. In a conversation with Currents writer Tracy Correa, 18-year-old Craig Martineau talks about his family, the day he learned he won the scholarship award and what it has meant to him.
To apply for a 2013 PG&E Bright Minds scholarship, go to www.pge.com/brightminds. The application deadline is Feb. 28, 2013.
My name is Craig Martineau and I’m a 2012 PG&E Bright Minds Scholarship winner, which awards me $30,000 a year for up to five years of undergrad study.
Currently, I’m enrolled in UC SB (University of California at Santa Barbara) as an undergrad in the pre-psych(ology) department.
Because of the scholarship, I have the opportunity to come here and study psychology which I plan to use in my career in law enforcement. And without the scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to be here. My grandparents — there’s no way we would could have afforded to send me to a college like this, a UC. And I just feel so, so blessed is the word I’m looking for I guess. Because there’s no way to give someone the opportunity like this without a scholarship. There’s so many people — that they work so hard, and they struggle and they overcome — but, at the end of the day it’s money that’s an issue, which holds them back. And I think that a scholarship is great because it provides people with the opportunity to better themselves and therefore better their communities.
The day he learned he’d won
The day I learned about the scholarship, about me winning it, I was sitting in class, in my psychology class.
I was surprised when they came into my class.
I wasn’t ready for my grandparents to walk in. And then, my grandparents walked in and I just knew it was me. Because my grandma she was smiling the biggest I’ve ever seen her smile and she had tears in her eyes. She was so happy for me. And my grandpa was there and I’ve never seen him so proud. And it was just great to repay them somehow by alleviating the pressure of the economic struggle that college causes. Because there’s no way we would be able to pay that much money. And, they’ve taken care of me my whole life and they’ve put so much money into me, and I’m not even their child, I’m their grandchild. And, so I’m grateful for everything they’ve done.
Breaking the cycle
They’ve raised me since 11 months old because my parents, they couldn’t take care of me because of substance abuse, alcohol. I’m just so grateful for my grandparents, Tom and Dorine Jamason. And, without them, I don’t know where I’d be. They’ve made me the person I am today. And the only way I can see fit to repay them is by coming here and bettering myself and going back out and trying to be the best person I can be. And just not be like my parents and try to start a new path.
I think everyone should apply for this scholarship honestly. It’s one of those things where you think “Oh, yeah, I’ll apply but I’m not going to get it.”
It’s not about where you’re from or who you know. It’s about what you’ve done with your life. And how hard you’ve worked and how much you need this.
I’m so lucky, I’m so blessed that I have the scholarship. When I think about my grandparents, they don’t have to worry about taking out a loan or being in debt and it’s just … we’re so lucky to be given this opportunity, this gift. And it’s just an amazing experience and I feel that every time I walk through school and it’s just great.