North Tahoe graduate energized by $1,000 Gas Co. scholarship

Special to the Sun
Courtesy photoCuesta College graduate Jason Wilson, 24, of San Luis Obispo, receives Southern California Gas Co.'s annual $1,000 "Energizing Our Future" scholarship from Timothy Mahoney, public affairs manager for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. Wilson, a North Tahoe High graduate, earned a liberal arts degree at Cuesta.

TAHOE, Calif. – A Cuesta College liberal arts graduate received Southern California Gas Co.’s annual $1,000 “Energizing Our Future” scholarship.

Timothy Mahoney, the company’s public affairs manager for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, presented an award certificate to Jason Wilson, 24, of San Luis Obispo earlier this year.

Jason graduated in 2006 from North Tahoe High School and finished his first quarter at Cal Poly with straight A’s and a spot on the Dean’s list.

“It is inspiring to work with Jason, as he has good motivation and drive,” Mahoney said. “Upon graduating from Cuesta College, he traveled abroad and is now on his way to Cal Poly’s Ag Business program. Jason is an outstanding alum of the Gas Company’s scholarship and Cuesta College.”

Southern California Gas Co.’s scholarship program honors a promising student each year.

“The Gas Company believes that a well-rounded workforce makes good business sense for a vital and healthy Southern California,” the company said in a release. “The scholarship program encourages students to pursue higher education following high school or community college.”

Math instructor Suzanne MacArthur, who had Wilson in her business calculus course, recommended the North Lake Tahoe High School alum for the award.

“She knew that I was focused and driven,” said Wilson. “It was because of her that I got this.”

The former resident of West Shore area of Lake Tahoe plans to pursue a master’s after completing his undergraduate studies. He hopes to launch a career as a sustainable energy entrepreneur.

“I’ll go into business for clean energy because I want to do something important for not just myself and my family but for everyone else,” he said.

He credits his Cuesta instructors for helping him along the way.

Lisha Duarte’s Spanish class inspired him to travel to Mexico to better immerse himself in the language. MacArthur came in to her office on Sundays to help him with calculus. Geology instructor Jeff Grover’s Geological Sciences Field Studies course took Wilson to Yosemite and Death Valley National Parks and reaffirmed his love of the environment.

“I wanted to go into business, find a specific field, get a degree in it and then find what I wanted to do,” he said. “And when I met Jeff, my wide view narrowed to something more specific. He was the most influential and positive influence from the school.”

Wilson looks forward to the academic rigors of Cal Poly, but remains grateful for his time at Cuesta.

“I went to two community colleges before Cuesta,” he said. “I didn’t even complete classes because it wasn’t the right environment, the right place, the right people. The setting was just not good. When I came here (Cuesta) the first semester I was excited for the next one to start. So this place is magical.”

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