Kayla Nguyen
Jayden Maree

​California State University, ​Long Beach
Relyea Family Scholar

Much of the work I am doing now is to honor everything I gave up.

While growing up in South Africa, Jayden Maree frequently viewed news reports of violence in his country’s universities. Seeing schools being burned to the ground temporarily reduced to ashes his own hopes of furthering his education.

But now Jayden is entering his third year at Cal State Long Beach as an aerospace engineering major. Finding climate change a pressing issue, Jayden volunteered with Associated Students Inc., assisting the commissioner for environmental justice. He’ll take over as commissioner starting this fall. He’s also deepening his knowledge and skills related to liquid-fueled rockets with the campus’s Beach Launch Team. Jayden’s next goal is to add a second major, physics. Earning this award has helped place that goal within reach.

Jayden plans to advocate for international students arriving in the United States with a dream, as he did, and to find ways to make their tuition more affordable through scholarship ​opportunities and paid research programs.