Sunday, 09 May 2021

Mendocino College Foundation announces La Rue Kobrin scholarships winners

Mendocino College Nursing Program students, from left to right, Jonathan Escalante, Sarah Reeser, Dominica Chilberg and Jillian Koski. Courtesy photo.

NORTH COAST, Calif. – The Mendocino College Foundation is honored to announce the winners of the 2019 La Rue Kobrin Perpetual Scholarships.

Scholarship were awarded to Dominica Chilberg, Jonathan Escalante, Jillian Koski and Sarah Reeser.

All four nursing students have high grade point averages, had different goals and careers in their teenage years, and are residents of Ukiah, Fort Bragg and Willits.

They are finishing up their first year in the nursing program. All had similar things to say about how receiving a scholarship aids them in achieving their goal of becoming a nurse.

Scholarships pay for books, tuition, fuel, new tires, and more according to these four.

When asked what the pivotal moment was that led each of them into their chosen career, the responses were somewhat similar and a little surprising.

Escalante stated that witnessing a choking incident and watching the medical provider take care of the person left him feeling like it was magic. That incident would lead him to a career as an EMT, ER Tech, and now the nursing program.

Reeser decided to become a nurse because a beloved grandfather fell ill. “The first time he got sick, I was only 10 years old.”

She stated she remembers thinking “I just wanted him to feel better and be happy again.” She told him that she would become a nurse and she’s currently half way there.

Koski was raised in Fort Bragg and commutes to Ukiah five days a week for nursing school. She too, witnessed an event. A woman hit her head and she was the only one present and just instinctually jumped in to help her. “I knew immediately that I wanted to be a nurse,” Koski said.

Chilberg never wanted to be a nurse. She was happy being a wife and mother. However, her career as a receptionist at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley led her to the OB as a tech (doing c-sections) for the past 17 years, which eventually led her into the nursing program.

All four recipients have other things in common, like families, responsibilities for spouses, children and parents. Some have mortgages or rent, and they all struggle financially while going to school full time five days a week. On average, a nursing students’ income drops by 40 percent or more while attending the nursing program and receiving a scholarship makes all the difference.

The La Rue Kobrin perpetual scholarships are given out annually to four first year nursing students.

The fund was established in 2014 by her life partner, Frank Bender, to honor and remember her. In his own words, La Rue was a loving, caring and giving human being. Helping students become nurses is a perfect way to honor her life.

For more information about the Mendocino College Foundation or to donate towards any Mendocino College Foundation program, please contact Katie Fairbairn, executive director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 707-468-3164.

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