Vocational Scholarships

Palo Alto Rotary Club
Robert Smithwick Vocational Scholarships
for Academic Year 2021 - 2022

Eligibility, Schedule, Instructions & Application Form

The Rotary Club of Palo Alto vocational scholarships are intended to provide financial assistance to students who will enroll in an accredited career program or vocational program at a community college in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.  These scholarships are named in honor of Dr. Robert Smithwick, a founder of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District and long-time Rotarian. Dr. Smithwick was active in community service and devoted to improving health and education locally and abroad.

Eligible students will enroll in a program leading to a certificate or degree, and will plan to go directly into employment in that field upon completion of the program. Examples of vocational programs include but are not limited to: automotive technology, accounting, child development, dental hygiene, fashion design, graphic design, medical assisting, and many others. The scholarships are primarily need-based rather than grade-based. The scholarships are not intended for general academic pursuits, for students intending to transfer to four-year colleges, or for graduate degrees.

Up to ten (10) scholarships will be awarded typically in amounts varying from $500 to $2,000 for full-time students and lesser amounts for part-time students.  The award will be paid to the student upon confirmation of enrollment: it is intended to support the vocational educational goals of the recipient and may be used for tuition or other expenses incurred in pursuit of the educational program.



Eligible applicants include:

  • High school seniors who will graduate in June, 2021 and will enroll in a career/vocational program in fall of 2021
  • Students currently enrolled in an accredited career/vocational program described above, and continuing in that program in fall of 2021.
  • Returning students: individuals with high school degrees who have been out of school and are returning to pursue a career/vocational education.

All applicants must enroll in no fewer than 6 units in an accredited career/vocational program in fall of 2021, and must intend to remain enrolled in 6 units or more for the full 2021-2022 academic year.


Schedule of Application & Review

Schedule of announcement and application process:

  • Friday, April 17, 2021—Application Deadline
  • Friday, April 22, 2021—Applicants notified if they will be interviewed
  • Saturday, May 1, 2021—Interviews
  • Monday, May 3, 2021—Make up interviews
  • Friday, May 7, 2021—Notification of decisions

Application Process: Application forms may be obtained from our website:  www.rotarypaloalto.org, by clicking on the Vocational Scholarships link. Save the form to your files, fill it out and save the completed form to your files.


Instructions for Submission of Application

  • E-mail your completed application as an attachment to: PARotaryRecords@aol.com. In the subject line, please type: Vocational Scholarship Application (add your last name)
  • If e-mail is not possible, see mailing address below.

Instructions for Submission of Letters of Recommendation:

One letter of recommendation must also be sent to support your application, preferably from a current or former instructor.  You should send this page of application instructions to the person who will be writing a recommendation for you. It will help them understand the intent of the scholarship, and the procedure for them to submit their recommendation.

  • Letters of recommendation should be e-mailed to: PARotaryRecords@aol.com   E-mail Subject Line:  Vocational Scholarship Recommendation (write last name of student here)

If e-mail is not possible, applications and letters of recommendations may be mailed to:

Rotary Club of Palo Alto
Vocational Scholarship Committee
P. O. Box 592
Palo Alto, CA  94302


Application Form   

If you wish to apply or know someone who wishes to apply for a Vocational Scholarship, please download the application below.  Follow instructions printed on the application form and return the completed form, along with other required documentation to: PARotaryRecords@aol.com or mail to:

Rotary Club of Palo Alto
Vocational Scholarship Committee
P.O. Box 592
Palo Alto, CA 94302

Palo Alto Rotary Robert Smithwick Vocational Scholarships Application Form

Thank you for your Application!