2012 Robert D. & Margaret A. Wark Memorial Scholarship Recipient
Biography: Alain Olavarrieta, a transfer student from Rio Hondo Community College, is currently a senior majoring in Business Economics at UCLA. Born in Mexico, Alain immigrated to the States at the age of eight for the chance of a better life and an education. Coming from a hard, working class background, he lived in a small trailer located in Compton, California. After working odd jobs from construction, car washing to selling knives, Alain now works as a private mathematics tutor. He is an active member of IDEAS at UCLA, an AB540 student support group whose efforts goes towards passing the DREAM Act.
Future Plans: During his senior year, he plans to gain research experience to aid him in his pursuit of higher education. After graduating in Business Economics, Alain aspires to obtain a Ph.D. in Economics with an emphasis in Game Theory. His top choices for his Ph.D. in Economics are MIT, Caltech or UCLA. After attaining a PhD, he hopes to start his own consulting firm and eventually become a faculty member at UCLA.
What does the scholarship mean to me?: Being the recipient of a Robert D. & Margaret A. Wark Memorial Scholarship has been an honor. This award changed my life by relieving me of financial burden, allowing me to focus on school and eliminating the need to work. During prior school years, I allocated over fifty hours per week to non–education activities such as work and transportation. I skipped multiple quarters due to a lack of funds. This economic stress transpired due to my social political status, which made me ineligible for any financial aid and most lucrative work opportunities. In addition to this, my family was unable to help me. Ultimately, the rising cost of tuition made graduating from UCLA a dream that was slipping away. The Wark Scholarship brought that dream closer to reality and I am humbled and extremely thankful by the generosity of the Wark family.