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LSP Assists Marine Sergeant in Pursuing College Degree

The Leadership Scholar Program (LSP) aims to support academically and professionally qualified Marines in their pursuit of higher education by assisting with academic preparation and the application process to highly selective colleges and universities across the country. Fortunately, Sgt Jacob Carew-Gonzales is one of many who will benefit from the program's assistance in achieving his educational goals.


Sgt Carew-Gonzales, known as Jake, is from San Antonio, Texas, where he spent his formative years. He is proud of his Hispanic-American heritage and has a commendable proficiency in the Spanish language. He has always been a highly athletic individual, having played numerous sports throughout his life.

The Marine Corps had long been a cherished aspiration for Carew-Gonzales, and he was delighted when he was able to realize his dream. He began his career as a combat engineer, where he excelled and was recognized for his performance. He completed four successful deployments and was meritoriously promoted twice during his service.

Carew-Gonzales sees himself as an open-minded individual, continuously striving for self-improvement. He enjoys stepping out of his comfort zone, relishing new experiences, and acquiring new skills.

In April 2022, Carew-Gonzales applied to the LSP, which was initiated by the Camp Pendleton Voluntary Education Center (VEC) staff. His commanding officers recognized his intelligence, curiosity, motivation, and passion for lifelong learning.

While he was on active duty, Carew-Gonzales enrolled in college classes and maintained a 4.0 GPA. He focused on his personal growth and mentored and guided his fellow Marines in pursuing their academic and personal goals.

When he learned about LSP, Carew-Gonzales had a few schools in mind. However, after talking with advisors at the VEC, he expanded his options and decided to consider some LSP partner schools. In May of 2023, he received admission into the University of Southern California's (USC) Cognitive Science program, at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences for the fall 2023 semester.

Carew-Gonzales expressed his gratitude towards the LSP. “I cannot thank you and the whole LSP team enough for all that you did for me over the last year and a half. It has been a long road, going from an enlisted Marine to a prospective student, but I am eternally grateful for all the help I have had along the way (most of which came from the education center there on Camp Pendleton).”

“Just a few years ago, if you had told me I would be starting at USC, a dream school of mine, in the Fall of 2023 I would have called you crazy!” Carew-Gonzales said. “And yet, here I am, preparing for my move to Los Angeles.”

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