PUSD Students Awarded Rise Program Scholarships


First published in the June 30 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.

Photos courtesy Caltech Y

Caltech Y’s Rise tutoring program has awarded two $1,000 college scholarships to Pasadena Unified School District graduates Sabrina Segura and Marie Basmajyan.
Established in 2006, the Rise program pairs Caltech students with PUSD middle- and high-schoolers to offer one-on-one tutoring in math and science. Approximately 150 PUSD students a year receive personalized instruction from Caltech tutors as well as information about college admissions and financial aid.
When Basmajyan enrolled in Rise as an 8th-grader, she was an honors student who disliked mathematics. With support from Caltech tutors, her opinion changed. She took some of Marshall Fundamental School’s most challenging courses, including pre-calculus and Advanced Placement physics.

  • Sabrina Segura meets with her tutor, Kadina Johnston.
  • Marie Basmajyan graduates from Marshall High School.

“I firmly feel that if the program had not provided me with this incredible chance, I would not be the same student I am now,” said Basmajyan, who plans to attend Pasadena City College. “I recall having no idea what college I wanted to attend or what major I wanted to pursue during my first year. In my sophomore year, I set a goal for myself thanks to the Rise program and all the workshops they provided.”
Segura’s grades also improved during her time with Rise, but she is especially grateful for her tutors’ dedication. During the pandemic they offered online academic support even as they had to adjust to remote learning themselves. Caltech students also worked around Segura’s schedule as she tried to balance her course load with work, an internship and athletics.
“I really need to thank my tutors for being there and supporting me throughout my journey,” said Segura, who also graduated from Marshall and will be attending Loyola Marymount University. “If it weren’t for the Caltech Y Rise program, I am not sure if I could have entirely learned compassion, patience, and selflessness, which has shaped the person I am today.”
Liz Jackman, associate director of student programs at the Caltech Y, says higher grades are among the many benefits the Rise program offers.
“Rise students tell us the program raises their self-confidence and provides them with new tools to study and manage their time,” Jackman said. “These qualities and skills will benefit them throughout their time in college and we look forward to learning about Marie’s and Sabrina’s successes in the years ahead.”
The Caltech Y is an independent nonprofit associated with and partially funded by Caltech. Since 1916, the Caltech Y encourages Caltech students to be responsible citizens of the world. Guided by five pillars —leadership, service, civic engagement, adventure and perspective — Caltech Y members travel the world, prepare meals for those experiencing homelessness, dialogue with elected officials and more.
To learn more about the Caltech Y, visit caltechy.org, or follow the Caltech Y on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. For more information on the Rise program, visit caltechy.org/rise-student, or call (626) 395-6163.