LMC student awarded with prestigious Jack Kent scholarship

Eliette Bustos describes her motivation to pursue her passion


Mohammad Najimi

Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship winner Eliette Bustos posing for photos with her family.

Mohammad Najimi, Staff Writer

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation revealed the winner of its prestigious undergraduate transfer scholarship which would award the victor $55,000 per year towards education, even graduate school if necessary. 

The programs are designed to encourage and support outstanding students who work hard and have financial needs. It provides financial assistance and academic support to high school, undergraduate and graduate students.

The awarded student is Eliette Bustos Barocio, a Los Medanos College third-year biology student who is currently undecided on the college she desires to attend. She is now deciding on three universities in California: the University of California, Los Angeles, UC Berkeley and UC Davis, with Davis as her leading decision.

“I’m going to take a gap year to complete the community service needed for veterinarian school. I want to be a veterinarian tech at either UC Davis or Penn State,” said Bustos.

She began her journey at LMC in the fall of 2020, toward the start of COVID-19, when classes were all online.

“Online was hard,” said Bustos. “It was difficult trying to mix work with online classes.” 

Bustos expressed her passion to become a veterinarian after she graduates. She wanted to be a veterinarian since she was in middle school and witnessed an incredible action by her father as they were heading home.

“When I was in sixth grade, I realized my love for being a veterinarian. Me and my family were heading home and my father saw an injured peacock on the side of the road. He stopped the car, brought the peacock into the trunk of the car and into our garage. He gave the peacock antiseptics and took care of him. I didn’t know he knew how to do any of that stuff and that made me realize,” said Bustos, ending it with, “Nursing animals back to health is incredible.”

She added how they aided a turtle to the other side of the road. 

Bustos currently has five pets: two cats, a Black short hair and a Lynx, two dogs, a Newfoundland and a French bullfrog, and a parakeet. She is the primary caretaker of the animals, with some help from her family.

The presentation of the award to Bustos was a complete surprise for the winner as the foundation takes an interest in keeping the recipient in suspense in their final choice.

Interim President Dr. Pamela Ralston attended the award presentation ceremony and she had a few words of congratulations for Bustos. She was excited that someone from LMC had won the scholarship and how in her 25 years of working, she finally was able to witness an LMC student winning the award.

Bustos described how she was feeling when she won the award.

“I can’t speak when I’m too emotional, thank you,” she said. “I feel relieved.”

This scholarship allows Bustos to have complete focus on her studies, with the Interim Dean of Instruction of MESA, Nicole Trager, expressing her happiness and sharing some insight on the personal essay that Bustos sent on her scholarship application.
“She spent a lot of time revising her essay and made it very personal,” said Trager. “When people write their essays, they usually talk about school and classes, but she went further than that. She spoke about her personal dreams, hopes, and wishes that she has for herself.”

Bustos’s educational journey is focused on her passion for helping animals and she doesn’t regret anything about it. She remains hopeful for her future endeavors and is motivated to bring more Latinos into the veterinary field.

“For anyone that has a goal they want to get to, aim big for it,” said Bustos. “Sí se puede. Aim for that goal and hit it. You can do it.”