Three Golden West College Guardian Scholars Receive Full Scholarships to CSUF

GWC’s NextUp/Guardian Scholars program provides resources for current, former foster youth/wards of the court 

Huntington Beach, Calif. — Three students from Golden West College’s Next Up/Guardian Scholars program were notified during the spring semester that they would be receiving full ride scholarships to California State University Fullerton in the fall. Andrew Braun, Ellen Weaver, and Alex Terronez will receive full tuition as well as funding for books, dorms, meal plans and more for up to five years.  

“This is the most students from Golden West College that we’ve ever had accepted with full ride scholarships through CSUF’s Center for Scholars,” says Natalie Timpson, Director of EOPS/CARE/NextUp/Guardian Scholars/CalWORKs. “Of the 15 students accepted, three were from Golden West.”    

GWC’s Next Up/Guardian Scholars program provides support and resources for current and former foster youth and wards of the court who are interested in pursuing a college education. The overall goal of the program is to increase students’ confidence as educated, self-reliant individuals with the skills to become strong role models and future community leaders. For many students in the program, the support they receive is a lifeline that drastically improves their chances of persisting in college.  

“Since we work with our students throughout their time at GWC, we can support them financially, educationally and emotionally until they graduate,” explains Counselor Michelle Sambrano. “We become family and there is nothing like it. I’m so happy to say that most of our students stay in contact with us after they transfer.”  

Of the three students who were selected for full scholarships this year, two are older, non-traditional students. Two of the three selected students also are “legacy” students, meaning they have siblings who also transferred from Golden West to Cal State Fullerton.  

“I decided to attend GWC because my brother went here and stressed how intimate of a school it was,” explains Weaver, one of the scholarship recipients. “I don’t know how I would have made it out alive if it weren’t for all the help from staff at GWC. They helped me immensely throughout my years and I will never forget that.”  

Weaver plans to major in Business with a concentration in Marketing at CSUF.  

This year, CSUF’s Center for Scholars removed an age cap that had previously limited who could apply for their Guardian Scholars scholarship. This move opened the application up to students like Braun, who had previously dropped out of college only to return several years later when he was more prepared to take on the challenges of higher education.  

“I started attending GWC during 2013 but unfortunately I was not ready at that time and came back around 2019,” he says. “I decided to come back because I realized education was important to me and GWC was the best choice due to their excellent professors and supportive counselors and programs such as EOPS and Guardian Scholars.”  

Braun graduated from Golden West this past spring with three degrees in Sociology, Human Behavior & Self Development, Social & Behavioral Science, and Liberal Studies for Elementary Education in addition to the CSU Education Breadth certificate. He plans to study Human Services at CSUF.  

“Andrew, Alex and Ellen all deserve the acknowledgement that they have received from CSUF’s Guardian Scholars Program, and we are beyond proud of them,” says Sambrano. “Now they can continue to let their lights shine at CSUF.  In the future, I know that they will give back to other students that have experienced foster care and will make a positive contribution to the community.”  


Located in the coastal community of Huntington Beach, also known as “Surf City,” Golden West College is highly regarded for academic quality and innovation. Founded in 1965 as part of the multi-college Coast Community College District, GWC provides enriching and innovative programs that help students: transfer to four-year institutions, earn associate degrees, complete certificates in career and technical education, advance their careers, and demonstrate college readiness.