National University Recognizes 2023 City of San Diego/National University Professional Development Scholarship Award Winners

Four City of San Diego employees receive tuition scholarships to use toward one of National University’s 190+ degree programs

San Diego, CA (October 31, 2023) National University (NU), a nonprofit university serving over 130,000 working, diverse, and military learners nationwide in degree-seeking and workforce training programs,  recognized today City of San Diego employees Luis Carbajal, Christopher Engel, Alexander Kane, and Nicole Anderson with 2023 City of San Diego/National University Professional Development Scholarships. These awards celebrate the extraordinary achievements, hard work, and dedication of these recipients from the City of San Diego by assisting them in their pursuit of career development through higher education.

As part of the City of San Diego’s effort to expand educational and professional opportunities to its employees, the city named National University its sole Preferred Employee Education Program Partner in 2014.

The scholarship recipients will be recognized during the October 31 San Diego City Council meeting and receive certificates signed by Mayor Todd Gloria and Dr. Mark D. Milliron, president and CEO of National University.

“For over 50 years, National University has been dedicated to providing pathways to possibilities to nontraditional and working students seeking degrees and professional development,” Milliron said. “Our partnership with the City of San Diego enables National University to give back to current and potential students who give so much to the communities we serve.”

Through this partnership, all city employees are offered a 25 percent tuition scholarship to be applied toward National University associate, bachelor’s, and master’s courses.

National University, which is among the largest Minority-Serving Institutions in the United States, is committed to developing its educational partnerships with the community by providing additional education benefits and scholarships to upskill and support the city’s workforce. City employees have the opportunity to apply for the competitive City of San Diego/National University Professional Development Scholarships presented jointly with the California Coast Credit Union. Annually, three or more employees who have demonstrated exceptional public service and have given back to the community are awarded the scholarship.

“National University is honored to serve as the preferred education partner of the City of San Diego,” stated Chris Graham, president of Workforce Education Solutions at National University. “We are excited to offer dedicated city employees like Luis, Christopher, Alexander and Nicole access to quality education, empowering them to achieve their educational and career objectives, thus enhancing their capacity to contribute to the community.”

As the 2023 winner of the City of San Diego/National University Professional Development Scholarship, Luis Carbajal, will receive a full tuition scholarship to National University. The two other finalists, Christopher Engel and Alexander Kane, will each receive a partial scholarship of $2,500 from National University and $2,500 from California Coast Credit Union. Nicole Anderson will receive a matching scholarship of $2,500 from California Coast Credit Union — in addition to the 25 percent tuition reduction on all their remaining classes.

The candidates passed through an interview process with senior leaders from NU and the city in partnership with California Coast Credit Union Senior Vice President of Community and Public Relations Rene McKee. At the end of the interviews, the finalist scholarship awards were determined.

Luis Carbajal, a San Diego native, serves the San Diego Police Department as a lieutenant. Previously, he has served as a field training sergeant, a SWAT sergeant, and a K-9 sergeant. He has been devoted to public service since high school, volunteering over 2,000 hours in the National City Police Explorers program, which paved the way for his 14-year career at SDPD.

“I am excited to expand my knowledge and growth to lead through example and action,” said Carbajal. “Never stop growing as a person. Continue to educate yourself and share that knowledge with others around you to make the City of San Diego a better place to live and work. Thanks to the collaboration of the City of San Diego, National University, and California Coast Credit Union for making my dreams come true.”

Carbajal is dedicated to mentoring and educating fellow officers in the K-9 program, SWAT program, and academy. In a testament to his commitment to personal and professional growth, he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public administration.

Engel, a detective in the San Diego Police Department, is also a Veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He aspires to progress to investigations and attain his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration.

“I am eager to finish my degree at National University,” said Engel. “Since receiving the scholarship, I feel like I’ve bolstered my outlook on completing my degree and progressing in my career.  I’ve strived to become more involved with the investigative team at Mid-City and have made myself available for more duties and responsibilities within that team.” 

Kane, a 21-year veteran of San Diego Fire-Rescue, has ascended the ranks to the position of assistant fire marshal. He presides over Inspection Services for the Community Risk Reduction Division. In recognition of his exceptional contributions, Kane was honored as the San Diego Firefighter of the Year in 2021 and the San Diego County Firefighter of the Year in 2022.

Anderson, who has served with the City of San Diego for over a decade, also will receive a $2,500 tuition scholarship to National University from California Coast Credit Union. She continues to serve as an administrative aide in the city’s Department of Public Utilities. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in public administration at National University. Anderson is embarking on a new career path within the analyst series.

“Receiving this scholarship has given me even more confidence in myself professionally,” Anderson shared. “There are many resources available to us as city employees and students. Sometimes putting yourself out there and letting others know about your goals will get things moving and bring them to fruition. It’s never too late to pursue your education.”

The National University workforce development partnership with the City of San Diego offered a tuition reduction scholarship of 15 percent to city employees in 2014.  The scholarship increased to 20 percent in 2019 and from there increased to 25 percent. City of San Diego employees can choose from over 190 program offerings at National University with the chance to pursue their education and career goals.

City of San Diego employees who wish to take advantage of this program can learn more here.

About National University
National University, a veteran-founded nonprofit, has been dedicated to meeting the needs of hard-working adults by providing accessible, affordable higher education opportunities since 1971. As San Diego’s largest private nonprofit university, NU offers over 190+ online and on-campus programs with flexible four-week and eight-week classes and one-to-one graduate education models designed to help students reach their goals while balancing busy lives. Since its founding, the NU community has grown to 130,000 learners served per year—50,000 degree-seeking students and 80,000 workforce and professional development students—and 230,000 alumni around the globe, many of whom serve in helping industries such as business, education, health care, cybersecurity, and law and criminal justice. To learn more about National University’s new possibilities in education including next-generation education, credential-rich education, and whole human education, visit

Learn More About Our University and Scholarships

Join our email list!

Recent Resources

Your passion. Our Programs.

Choose an Area of Study

Your passion. Our Programs.

Select a degree level

View Programs