Friends make a toast with their beers at an outdoor restaurant.

UC Davis Tapping Potential diversity scholarship winners announced

Nigeria, Ukraine, Hungary, Salt Lake City… UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education recently announced the recipients of its second annual Tapping Potential Brewing Diversity Scholarships, and the winners span the globe. The crowdfunded awards provide current and aspiring brewing professionals with full-ride scholarships to the prestigious online UC Davis Master Brewers Certificate Program and “Brewing Quality” series of online courses.

UC Davis Online Master Brewers Certificate Program Scholarship Winner

Chijindu Onwuchekwa, Nigeria

Tapping Potential Scholarship winner Chijindu Onwuchekwa poses with keg

Onwuchekwa is a brewer and quality control supervisor at Bature Brewery, Nigeria’s first microbrewery. With a bachelor’s degree in applied microbiology and brewing, she has been making beer for four years, and at home, she experiments with raw materials such as hibiscus, bananas, pineapples and locally sourced dates.

“There are not many female craft brewers where I am from,” said Onwuchekwa. “I hope I am able to inspire women from around these parts that they can also brew amazing beer because brewing started with ale wives. We can take back the reins.”

Onwuchekwa plans to use the in-depth technical knowledge she learns in the Master Brewers Certificate Program to take her brewing to an “international level” and open the first female-led brewery in Nigeria.

“I always said that my five-year goal is to become a master brewer. I am one foot in the door to achieving that thanks to this scholarship.” 

Read more about Chijindu Onwuchekwa

UC Davis Brewing Quality Series Winners

Lana Svitankova, Ukraine

UC Davis Tapping Potential Scholarship winner Lana Svitankova poses with beer

Lana Svitankova is a freelance beer writer, translator and Ukraine’s first ever Certified Cicerone. Recently, much of her writing has been focused on Ukraine—including pickle-style beers and Ukrainian Golden Ale—to help keep the conversation about Ukraine top of mind.

Svitankova is pushing the boundaries of emerging beer culture in her country and creating more space in the industry for female beer lovers and professionals.

“My goal is to be living proof that females can be knowledgeable about beer,” said Svitankova. “When I landed my first beer job in 2016 as a spokesperson for a brewery, a filming crew declined my offer to answer their questions because they said they ‘needed someone with competence.’ That was their answer based on my gender, having no knowledge whatsoever about my competence. I soon became a certified beer judge through the Beer Judge Certification Program and the first Certified Cicerone in Ukraine, so I can answer ‘that’s my level of competence.’”  

Read more about Lana Svitankova

Jae Vanderwerf, Utah

Tapping Potential Scholarship winner Jae Vanderwerf poses in brewery

Jae Vanderwerf is a cellar woman and assistant brewer at SaltFire Brewing Company in Salt Lake City, Utah. Vanderwerf wanted to further her brewing education, but she was also facing steep medical and legal expenses for gender transition. Because of the Tapping Potential Scholarship, I no longer have to choose between living authentically as myself and also getting an education,” she said.

Vanderwerf plans to use the Beer Quality Series to fill in “the gaps” in her knowledge, especially in quality control and microbiology. “I know that having UC Davis on my résumé can only broaden my career horizons and make it possible for me to be taken seriously as a brewer.”

Read more about Jae Vanderwerf

Nadhine França, Hungary (and Brazil)

Tapping Potential Scholarship winner Nadhine França tastes a beer

In 2017, Nadhine França left a stable career in the IT industry for the opportunity to make a name for herself in craft beer–and she did just that. She became a beer sommelier, a brewer and the first woman president of Abracerva, the Brazilian Craft Beer Association. “It's not easy not to fit in; it's not easy not to be accepted. But being in this place means making a difference, bringing representation, and most importantly, being the engine of these changes. This motivates me,” França said.

Now, she lives in Budapest and the UC Davis online Beer Quality Series helps give her the education she needs to succeed abroad. “Living outside the country where I built my career, I am starting step-by-step to reestablish my network and reaffirm myself in the sector,” França said. “Having access to this knowledge from a solid, international institution like UC Davis will increase my chances of being recognized outside Brazil.

Read more about Nadhine França

The UC Davis Tapping Potential Diversity Scholarships were created to support students who are committed to diversity, have experience and/or understanding of the barriers traditionally faced by people from underrepresented populations (based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities…) and demonstrate a high potential for leadership in promoting cross-cultural understanding in the brewing industry.

The scholarships were developed through an annual crowdfunding campaign, which generated more than $20,000 from individual donors and brewing industry partners, including Barebottle Brewing Company, G.L.O.W. (Global Ladies of Wort), United Malt Group, Sudwerk Brewing Co., Touchstone Brewing Company, Sacramento Area Brewers Guild, El Segundo Brewing Company, CLS Farms and BSG.

The Tapping Potential Diversity Scholarships are part of UC Davis Professional Brewing Scholarships, which provide support for deserving students to attend UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s world-renowned in-person and online brewing programs. Scholarships are designed to recognize academic and professional excellence and increase diversity and cross-cultural understanding in the brewing industry.

For more than 25 years, the brewing programs offered by UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education have provided students with an in-depth understanding of brewing science and brewery engineering and prepared them to enter the brewing industry with the potential to rise to the highest levels of leadership within it.

For more information on UC Davis Professional Brewing Scholarships, the UC Davis Master Brewers Program and how to support UC Davis’ efforts to increase excellence and diversity in the brewing industry, contact Jon Hughes, director of Brewing and Sensory Science at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education (

The UC Davis Master Brewers Certificate Program is offered by UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education (CPE), the workforce development arm of the university. For more than 60 years, CPE has blended the distinctive academic expertise of UC Davis with practical training that immediately improves capability and job performance. This “Career Curriculum” supports working professionals as they refresh and expand job skills over the course of their careers.

With 48,000 annual enrollments in professional, academic and enrichment courses and more than 3 million enrollments on Coursera, CPE serves lifelong learners in the growing Sacramento region, all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

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