Selected through a rigorous application process for their academic excellence, selfless community service and exceptional potential, Don Diego Scholarship recipients have excelled in college, forged fulfilling careers and give back to their community. Here are just a few of the numerous success stories.


Crowned in 1958 when the Fairest of the Fair received a stipend, not a scholarship, La Jolla High School student Jo Raquel Tejada won her first beauty title at age 14. By 2011, the film star and celebrity known as Raquel Welch was ranked #2 on Men’s Health’s “Hottest Women of All Time” list. In a 1966 British movie, the stunningly beautiful actress spoke just three lines, but the image of her in a bikini became a best-selling poster that, along with other Raquel pinups, still decorate the walls of many American men.

Vincent Mikulanis

1995 Scholar Vincent Mikulanis earned a BS in Forest Conservation and is building a better San Diego, tree by tree. As Davey Resource Group Project Manager and member of key forestry boards, he promotes the benefits of trees for a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous region.

Anthony Tanbakucki

1998 Scholar Anthony Tanbakuchi, PHD, is an Optical Scientist at Sandia National Laboratories (a U.S. Department of Energy Laboratory) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Amber Lynn Scott Daniel FB

1999 Scholar Amber Lynn Scott Daniel, a former Miss Ramona, is Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, AKA the famed Blue Angels.


1999 Scholar Mary Masch Martineau has been paying it forward for the last eight years as an Agriculture Teacher at Poway High and Poway FFA Advisor. She won the Don Diego scholarship in the FFA category.


2000 Scholar and agriculture educator Scott Stebner operates his own business in Kansas where, as a creative agricultural communicator, he creates cinematically-styled environmental portraits that celebrate and empower the agricultural community.

2000 Scholar Jared Poppert is a seasoned Firefighter/Paramedic for the San Diego Fire Rescue Department.


2002 Scholar Anna Good Myatt serves as Communications Director for Black Falcon US LTD in Rancho Santa Fe.


Johanna Northcote

2002 Scholar Johanna Northcote (left, blue shirt with sunglasses) initially returned to her San Diego County Fair roots, as Assistant Theme Exhibit Coordinator and Don Diego Assistant under ED Chana Mannen. She currently works for San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

Alysha Stehly and husband in front of wine grapes

2003 Scholar Alysha Stehly graduated from UC Davis and came home to Valley Center because she wanted to keep San Diego farming viable. She is co-founder of Vesper Vineyards and teaches at the community college level. Alysha joined the Don Diego Board in 2012 to pay the cycle of student support forward.


2005 Scholar Ashley Colburn is a two-time Emmy-award-winning TV producer and host. As owner of Ashley Productions, she specializes in travel documentaries that air around the world.

Olivia Loiacono from her hpage

2006 Scholar Olivia Loiacono, a standout horse rider from an early age, has competed around the world. She now operates San Marcos-based OKL Eventing, where she trains competitors and is building a team of top-level event horses to represent the U.S. in international events.

Laura Gregorich

2008 Scholar Laura Gregorich is a Medical Scribe in the Emergency Department at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. She is studying to become a Physician’s Assistant.

Alexa Stanton Alexandre

2008 Scholar Alexa Stanton Alexandre holds a Master’s Degree in Agriculture Education. She is helping to ensure the future of California agriculture as an Ag teacher at bucolic Ferndale High.



2009 Scholar Arianna Lasche is a Design Engineer at SeaSpine Orthopedics in her Carlsbad hometown.


2011 Scholar Prithvi Undavalli is excelling at MIT and building on the high-level tech communications pursuits he initiated as a brilliant young entrepreneur while still a student at Torrey Pines High School.


Daniel Menno 

2011 Scholar Daniel Menno is another Don Diegan working to build a better San Diego. He is a Structural Engineer at Hope-Amundson, Inc.

RaeAnne van Tol 

2012 Scholar RaeAnne vanTol will graduate from Cal Poly with a major in Animal Science and
minors in Biotech and Ag Business. She’s on her way to a career in animal-applied biotech and embryology.



2013 Scholar Tessa Adler was the first to receive the inaugural Spanjian Family Scholarship. She used her $10,000 award to matriculate at Yale University, where she will graduate in 2017 with a major in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, on her way toward earning an MD/PhD.

Jamie McKinley 

2014 Scholar Jamie McKinley is making her mark at Colorado State, where she is Director of Residential Events and Programming for her residence hall while majoring in Animal Science and Ag Literacy.


2015 Scholar Amy Wehner, who has lived with Spinal Muscular Atrophy since birth, is tenaciously harnessing her abilities to surmount life’s “cracks in the pavement” as she studies to become a veterinarian.

2015 Scholar Sophia Schmidt is working with horses and pursuing Pre-Veterinary Biotechnology and Animal Science at Montana State.

2015 Scholar Hannah Labrie-Smith, who broke Olympic Champion Gail Devers’ 31-year San Diego County high school record in the 300-meter hurdles, is excelling in Human Biology at Stanford, on track to become a veterinarian.

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