The A. Baptista Memorial Scholarship family has announced Sameera Hussain of Porterville is the inaugural 2021 scholarship recipient. 

Hussain will study public health, in addition to molecular and cellular biology at UC Berkeley.   In high school, she began to study the connection between the environment, health issues, and the impact of air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley.  She receives an A. Baptista Memorial Scholarship of $5,000.  

The A. Baptista Memorial Scholarship is a legacy of the values Alex and Arsenia Baptista instilled to others.Born in 1940 in the Philippines, they moved to Honolulu, Hawaii in the 1960s. In the late 1970s, they moved to California.

The Baptista couple was well known for their selfless acts of kindness for others, their faith in God, and their leadership in developing the local community. As Alex worked in the health care field and Arsenia in science and technology, they instilled the values of education and giving back to the community in service to others. They successfully raised three children and strongly supported their careers in public service to include diplomacy, defense, and dducation.  Furthermore, they were active in their church and supporting youth in the Asian-American community. 

The Baptista couple died in 2020. Alex had respiratory issues and Arsenia had a quickly developed heart condition. Their loved ones take comfort in knowing they lived a meaningful and fulfilling life for 80-plus years. 

The development of the A. Baptista Memorial Scholarship came within a week of Arsenia Baptista’s passing on December 5, 2020. The Baptista children initiated the scholarship management process to include inspirational milestones. 

By January 11 (Alex’s birthday), they initiated the call for applicants within Fresno, Kern, and Tulare counties. By July 21 (Arsenia’s birthday), the scholarship winner was notified after a highly competitive vetting process. The pool of candidates included nearly 50 students who distinguished themselves with their community involvement and academic success. 

The initial scholarship presentation and memorial honored the Baptista couple on September 4 and 5 in Porterville and Springville to coincide with what would have been their 53rd wedding anniversary. While the inaugural scholarship developed quickly with tremendous support, the intent is to provide merit-based scholarships for years to come.

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