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There were some triumphant moments, as well as emotional ones at banquet honoring those that received scholarships through the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation’s Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund Monday night.
This year, 73 students from all over the Northern New Mexico region received 79 scholarships. All of them were funded through the generous contributions of LANL employees, augmented by a $250,000 match by Los Alamos National Security LLC, the company that manages the lab.
Scholarships ranged from $1,000 all the way up to $30,000.
This year, Bernalillo High School student Raymond Fasano won the $30,000 Platinum scholarship, and Los Alamos High School student Alexandr Wang received the $20,000 Gold scholarship.
According to the LANL Foundation, both scholarships were for science-related studies.
Wang said the scholarship will be “extremely helpful” toward funding his computer science studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He attributed his love of math and science to the local academic environment.
“Growing up in Los Alamos you always hear about how science is used everyday to solve insanely interesting and difficult problems,” he said. “So, I think I was always inspired by the atmosphere of Los Alamos to study these fields.”
Wang’s other plans include acquiring a PhD and go into research.
Other scholarship recipients from Los Alamos included Amanda Mercer, a Domenici Scholar; Ju Hyun Lee, Leadership Scholar; Daniel Ahrens, Bronze Scholar; George Barnum, Bronze Scholar; Alexandra Berl, Bronze Scholar; Shelby Fellows, Bronze Scholar; Alexandra Hehlen, Bronze Scholar; Colin Hemez, Bronze Scholar; Maria McTeigue, Bronze Scholar; Mirelle Naud, Bronze Scholar; Nathan Phillips, Bronze Scholar; Kerry Song, Bronze Scholar; Allyssa Tedder, Bronze Scholar; Lauren TenCate, Bronze Scholar; and Jing Xie, Bronze Scholar.
The LANL Foundation’s 2013 Los Alamos Regional College/Returning Student Scholars include Evan Fishbein, who’s studying Electro-Mechanical Engineering at the University of New Mexico, Los Alamos; Leigh Ann Grow who is studying teaching at Santa Fe Community College and William Nackers, who is studying Emergency Medicine at the University of New Mexico, Los Alamos.
Many LANL employees were also at the event to congratulate and give support to the scholarship recipients, including David Izraelevitz, a research engineer and project manager at LANL.
Izraelevitz is also a councilor with the Los Alamos County Council as well as a former member of the LAESF Advisory Committee.
However, Izraelevitz fondly remembered his time with the LAESF Advisory Committee selecting deserving students.
“Every year I was surprised by the quality and hard work of these students,” he said, adding that he was always impressed by how they managed to rise to the top, despite their difficult home environments or financial situations.
“It was frustrating because you can just imagine if they had the resources that other kids had, if they didn’t have to work, just how much more they could have done,” he said.
At the event, each of the scholars were invited to speak and express what the scholarship will mean to them and their future careers.
Fasano, who will be graduating as valedictorian this year, told the audience his future career plans including working in energy storage and nuclear engineering, with a focus on fusion. He plans to attend Tufts University in the fall.
“I would like to thank everyone for attending tonight’s event, especially the donors who make the Los Alamos Employees Scholarship Fund a reality,” he said. “I’m greatly humbled to be this year’s top recipient. It is a great honor that I will represent with integrity and prestige. “...Intelligence ladies and gentlemen is a gift, a gift that can be used for the perpetuation or the detriment of mankind. Through this foundation, a golden opportunity has been presented to me to successfully face the financial realities of obtaining a higher education.”
This year’s LAESF Campaign Chair Jeff Mousseau also spoke at the event.
He also said LANL Foundation’s campaign, which has been occurring regularly since 1997, is probably one of the most important things LANL can do for Los Alamos as well as the entire region of Northern New Mexico.
“Director (Charlie) McMillan is fond of saying is that the biggest difference we can make to the future of this laboratory 20, 30 years or longer from now is the students and the youth that we help develop. They are going to become the leaders of tomorrow and perhaps, even this laboratory,” he said at the event.
LANL employees can still donate to the LANL Foundation Scholarship Fund by making pledges at epprod.lanl.gov. General donations can be made by filling out the online form at lanlfoundation.org/scholarships/pledge.html.
LANL affiliates and guest scientists can also make a contribution by using the general donation link.