Membership is not required to view the catalog, but only SDMG members may use the reference library.


The San Diego Mineral and Gem Society's Scholarship Fund began in 1986 to provide funds in order to advance educational and scientific objectives relating to earth sciences and the lapidary and metal arts.  In 1999, the $500 grant was renamed after Carmelita and Bern Swarts because of their tremendous contribution to the Society.

Both Carmelita and Bern were tireless and dedicated members, helping to shape the club for over 30 years, serving on the Board of Directors for over 20 of those years.  They were extremely active members and were involved in some way in almost every event the club sponsored.  Carmelita worked steadily for the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies on the public lands advisory committee and was awarded the Golden Bear Award – the top single award given by the CFMS because of her years of long service.  Carmelita Swarts, with the assistance of Assemblymembers Lucy Killea and Rusty Areias, was responsible for seeing that Benitoite was named the official gemstone of the State of California in 1985. Bern served as Society President from 1984–85, was chairman of the Mineral Division, Building Superintendent and was also a life member.

In 2007, the William Tirk Scholarship was created.  This scholarship enabled the SDMG to assist two students in the pursuit of their educational endeavors.  Bill was a member of the Society for almost 50 years.  He was an instructor, School Director and on the Board of Directors as Treasurer for over 40 years.  He was awarded the Golden Bear award from CFMS for his extensive service to that organization.  From 1976–77 he was CFMS President and hosted the AFMS/CFMS show in 1984, which was a huge success.

The student chosen for scholarships must meet the following criteria:

  • Be enrolled full time in junior, senior or graduate studies.
  • Maintain a 3.0 or higher grade point average.
  • Major in subjects related to earth sciences or lapidary arts.

Scholarship recipients are nominated by the Department Heads of the Geological Sciences and the Jewelry/Metalsmithing College of Fine Arts.  The choosen recipients are awarded their Scholarship at the SDMG's Annual Banquet, which is held in March.

Biographical statements by the recipients of the 2016 SDMG Scholarships (submitted January 2016): Petra Winnwalker for Jewelry and Metalsmith and Maria Henderson for Geology.


Petra Winnwalker

Ms. Winnaker is a jeweler and artist currently earning her MFA from San Diego State University.  She was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and recently relocated to the land of sunshine to study under her current mentors Sondra Sherman and Kerianne Quick.  Her undergraduate degree in biological sciences from the University of Oregon prepared her for the rigor and research based practice that is contemporary jewelry.  In her sporadic free time she enjoys cooking with her husband and sharing meals and good conversation with her growing San Diego family.



Maria Henderson

Going to college has always been a dream of mine. Because of my background, I thought it was out of my reach. However, the first time I walked into a classroom I knew that college was where I needed to be. I started attending college with the thought of earning a degree in early childhood education and becoming a kindergarten teacher with focus on special needs education. After taking a few semesters of both early childhood and general education classes, I became apprehensive about my decision and started to rethink my path. I realized that I had chosen my career based only on what I knew and had been exposed too; caring for and instructing young children. Thankfully, due to the wide variety of classes that were available to me in junior college, I was able to explore a new world of possibilities for me.

I was determined to find my passion and made the decision to be more open about career and educational options. When I was choosing my classes, I was drawn to an earth science class called Earth and Space Science taught by Chris Metzler at Mira Costa College. It was in that class that I found my obsession. The Earth took hold of me and it was not letting go. I was convinced that Earth science, geological science to be exact, was the right path for me. After four semesters of math, chemistry, and physics; I transferred to San Diego State University in the fall 2015 as a geoscience major.

My goal in life is to be a contributing member of society by furthering our understanding of Earth science. Receiving this scholarship is an honor and will help to ease my monetary stress and allow me to fully focus on my education. I know that with hard work and sacrifice I can accomplish all my dreams.


of the CARMELITA and BERN SWARTS (geology)
and WILLIAM TIRK (jewelry and metalsmithing) SCHOLARSHIPS

 2016 – Maria Henderson (geology)

 2016 – Petra Winnwalker (jewelry and metalsmithing)

 2015 – Amanda Linn (geology)

 2015 – Kaiya Rainbolt (jewelry and metalsmithing)

 2014 – Heather Webb (geology)

 2014 – Michael David Rybicki (jewelry and metalsmithing)

 2013 – Luke Weidman (geology)

 2013 – Niki Grandics (jewelry and metalsmithing)

 2012 – Joanna Rose (geology)

 2012 – Eirene Mavromichalis (jewelry and metalsmithing)

 2011 – Jason Parizek (geology)

 2011 – Rachel Shimpock (jewelry and metalsmithing)

 2010 – Rebecca Tsang (geology)

 2010 – Lynsey Pew (jewelry an metalsmithing)

 2009 – Dylan Collins (geology)

 2009 – Kira Williams (jewelry and metalsmithing)

 2008 – Cara Leach (jewelry and metalsmithing)

 2008 – Briana Johnson (geology)


  Copyright © 2012–2019 San Diego Mineral & Gem Society, Inc. - All Rights Reserved