News Release

Alumna-led Giving Day challenge encourages support for Jacobs School of Engineering students

Plant virus-based cancer immunotherapy research also highlighted on Triton Giving Day 2024

May 13, 2024--Sally Schoberg earned a degree in Applied Physics and Information Science (APIS) – what today would be electrical and computer engineering – from UC San Diego in 1972. More than five decades later, she continues to recognize the value of her degree, which is now from the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, and is motivated to ensure the next generation of engineering students has the same opportunities she was afforded. 

Jacobs School alumna Sally Schoberg and her husband Paul established the Jacobs School of Engineering Endowed Student Support Fund to provide engineering and computer science students with comprehensive support.

“My education provided two primary benefits to my career,” said Schoberg. “First, UC San Diego is widely known and respected for the quality and difficulty of its degree programs, so simply having the APIS degree helped me land new positions. Second, UC San Diego prepared me with foundational engineering knowledge that enhanced my ability to isolate and solve problems – both for myself and in helping my teams. I was able to find ways to add value to my employers and clients and found my niche in ‘bringing order to chaos.’”

Schoberg wants the students of today and tomorrow to have the support they need to earn a degree in engineering and computer science, and reap the same benefits of a UC San Diego degree that she did. 

In an effort to encourage more Jacobs School alumni to support current UC San Diego engineering and computer science students, Sally and her husband, Paul, have committed $50,000 to establish the Jacobs School of Engineering Endowed Student Support Fund, which provides engineering and computer science students with comprehensive support through scholarships, as well as programmatic, research, and emergency funds, among other services. This support from the Schobergs will be used as part of a matching gift challenge during UC San Diego’s annual Giving Day on May 15, 2024. For every 10 gifts, $2,000 will be unlocked up to $10,000 to support our future engineering leaders.

Schoberg is excited that her gift will be used as a matching gift challenge to encourage others to donate.

“I benefited financially throughout my career because of the education I received,” said Schoberg, whose career spanned programming, software sales, software implementation management, IT project management and IT procurement. “I believe it’s important to give back in a meaningful way that will grow over time. With financial support, the Jacobs School of Engineering Endowed Student Support Fund will help students achieve their goals.”

In addition to Schoberg’s matching gift challenge for student support, the Jacobs School of Engineering is also highlighting an opportunity to support research into a unique cancer immunotherapy. Professor Nicole Steinmetz, a professor in the Department of NanoEngineering and director of our Center for Nano-ImmunoEngineering, repurposes plant viruses as therapeutic nanoparticles to train the immune system to fight cancer and prevent it from spreading and recurring. Her technology has shown efficacy in the treatment of pets diagnosed with cancer, as well as fighting metastatic cancers in mice. Giving to this fund will help the research team work toward human clinical trials. 

Lucas Sutorus, an undergraduate nanoengineering student, conducts research on plant virus-based immunotheraphies in the Steinmetz Lab. Photo by Erik Jepsen

Learn more about Giving Day and contribute to the matching gift challenge and the cancer immunotherapy fund.

The value of a Jacobs School degree

Schoberg was an early entrant into the field of computer science.

“I knew by 13 years old I wanted a career in computer sciences, but no colleges offered such degree programs. My father had encouraged this focus primarily because computing was a new field and not already male-dominated. Unable to find a computing major, I pursued degree programs in mathematics with a concentration in computer sciences.”

When she graduated from UC San Diego, there were few computer programming jobs available. Schoberg kept her hospital phlebotomist job while she sought out engineering opportunities, and after six months, a patient she met in the emergency room connected her to a company seeking a programmer. From there, she navigated her career through many twists and turns – programming, sales support, software sales, KPMG consulting, software implementation management – before ultimately settling into an 18-year contracting position in which she helped the organization reduce desk-top computers, consolidate data centers, and gain control over IT procurements.

She encourages students to take full advantage of all that the Jacobs School has to offer, and to celebrate the hard work required to earn a degree. 

“Enjoy your time at UC San Diego, but work hard and learn as much as possible. Be proud of your accomplishments and never hesitate to tackle a tough problem.”

Donations to an endowment such as the Jacobs School of Engineering Endowed Student Support Fund have both immediate and long-term benefits. Donations are invested, and a portion of the annual income from the investment is used to support student scholarships, programmatic, research, and emergency needs. The remaining funds are reinvested to ensure indefinite support.

“As the investments grow, more earnings are available to distribute in the form of scholarships or student-focused programming. The Information Technology field is still growing exponentially, and it’s critical that UC San Diego remains at the forefront of both education and innovation.”

Join the Schobergs in supporting the Jacobs School of Engineering Endowed Student Support Fund here 


Media Contacts

Katherine Connor
Jacobs School of Engineering