SOE donors and alumni create five new endowed scholarships to support student success

The scholarships are part of the Beyond Brilliant initiative

UC Riverside School of Education (SOE) is grateful to the following donors for helping create five new endowed scholarships. The new scholarships are part of UC Riverside’s student success fundraising initiative, Beyond Brilliant, which aims to raise $50 million over five years to broaden access to our world-class educational experience and provide additional resources for student-centered programming.

Dr. Vera Machado Martinez Endowed Graduate Student Scholarship Fund, SOE’s first Beyond Brilliant initiative gift, will provide support for students in the School of Education who seek to become change-agents and leaders in the Inland Empire. Specifically, Martinez created the scholarship to support SOE Latina credential students who aspire to be the next generation of education administrators and leaders.

From Colton, CA, Martinez earned a Master of Arts in 1971 at CHASS, and her doctorate in 1979 from SOE. She was a single mother while pursuing her doctorate and went on to have an incredible career as higher education administrator, including serving as the first Latina President of Fullerton College.

Vera Martinez SOE
Dr. Vera Martinez with Interim Dean Louie Rodriguez. Photo/Stan Lim

In recognition of her life and career as a trailblazer and educator, Martinez hopes the scholarship will support Latina students from the Inland Empire, most especially students from the cities of Colton, Riverside, and San Bernardino, who seek to become administrators and education leaders. Students will demonstrate their commitment to being change-agents and leaders in their home communities via a personal statement.

Her gift of $25,000 was matched $1 for $1 by the UCR Foundation Beyond Brilliant Trustee Challenge Match Fund. This was SOE’s first gift toward this initiative.

Karen B. Kyhn Endowed Scholarship Fund, created by Karen Kyhn, marks the first endowed undergraduate scholarship at SOE. The fund will support SOE undergraduate students selected at the discretion of the SOE Dean. Her gift of $12,500 was matched by the UCR Foundation Beyond Brilliant Trustee Challenge Match Fund.

Kyhn is an alumna of UCR, where she completed her bachelor’s degree, teaching credential, and master’s degree. She began her career in education as an elementary teacher in the Menifee School District, where she taught for 18 years and was initially only one of 12 teachers at the district’s first school site. She spent the rest of her career working as an advocate for teachers and students in Riverside County, ultimately finishing her career as the Executive Deputy Director of the CTA in their northern California headquarters. Upon returning to southern California Karen began looking for ways to pay-it-forward and give back to the educational community where she got her start. 

Kyhn is a lifelong advocate for education and is passionate about increasing access to education by bridging the gap that exists between students and reaching their educational goals. In creating this fund, it is her intention to support the students in the rapidly growing undergraduate major in the School of Education at UCR.

The CABE Riverside Jezik Venegas Future Bilingual Educators Scholarship was spearheaded by Brenda Angulo ’14 and Renae Bryant ’99, who met during their terms as California Association of Bilingual Educators (CABE) Riverside Chapter Executive Board Members in 2018. Their commitment to the CABE Riverside Chapter’s mission to promote bilingual education galvanized their efforts to recognize their fellow CABE representatives and UCR SOE bilingual supervisors Mrs. Lilian Jezik and the late Dr. Yolanda Venegas, through the establishment of the Fund. The CABE Riverside gift of $12,500 was matched by the Beyond Brilliant Trustee Challenge Match Fund. The first recipient was selected in Spring 2022. Dr. Venegas passed away shortly after the creation of this award.

UCR SOE scholarship
CABE Riverside Jezik Venegas Future Bilingual Educators Scholarship

Doris (Temple) Ferguson earned a bachelor’s in English in 1971, a teaching credential at SOE in 1972, and went on to teach elementary school in Riverside, mostly for Riverside Unified School District, for 37 years. During this time, she was active in the California Teachers Association (CTA) and served as president of the Associated Teachers of Metropolitan Riverside for several years. Now in retirement, Ferguson, along with her husband James (Jim) Ferguson, sought to create an endowed scholarship to support future generations of elementary school teachers in Riverside and beyond. Their gift of $67,200 will be matched by the Beyond Brilliant Trustee Challenge Match Fund.

Longtime SOE supporter, Barbara Kerr, created the Barbara Kerr Endowed Scholarship to support multiple subject teaching credential students at SOE. Barbara previously created the current-use “Multiple Subject Scholarship,” but this endowment will provide a permanent source of support for students and cements Kerr’s legacy at SOE by bearing her name. She received her bachelor’s in English from UCR in 1968. She went on to pursue a teaching credential at CSULB, was a kindergarten teacher in RUSD, and served as the President of the CTA. Kerr’s gift of $19,100 and was matched by the UCR Foundation Beyond Brilliant Trustee Challenge Match Fund.

If you would like to make a gift to Beyond Brilliant, please contact Kelly Krause-Lee a 951-543-7342, or


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