Oppenheimer scholarships awarded

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By Special to the Monitor

Nine college-bound high school students from northern New Mexico have been selected for scholarships and an achievement award administered by the J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee.

The students are from Los Alamos, Pojoaque Valley and Santa Fe high schools.

The JROMC has awarded 136 scholarships and other awards totaling $268,000 since the program begun in 1984.

The philanthropic organization’s scholarship program is supported by several endowments, numerous small, individual donations and major contributions from the Los Alamos National Bank.

“We continue to honor Robert Oppenheimer’s legacy by supporting students of great achievement and even greater promise,” said Garrett Kenyon, JROMC chairperson. “Oppenheimer recognized the value of learning about the world as a means of contributing to it, and we are pleased to support these exceptional young adults as they continue their educational journey.”

The scholarship program began at Los Alamos High School and in 1998 expanded to Pojoaque and then to Santa Fe and Capital high schools. Scholarships are in the amount of $2,500.

“We had only a small number of applicants from Santa Fe schools this year,” Kenyon said.  “We intend to increase our outreach to those schools next year in hopes of attracting more applicants. We also will see if our resources can support a scholarship at Española Valley High School in the future as well.”

The J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Robert Oppenheimer, one of the most influential scientists of the 20th Century.

In addition to its annual scholarship program, the JROMC sponsors each year the Oppenheimer Memorial Lecture in Los Alamos.

This year’s selected students are:

Los Alamos High School

Daniel Trugman – J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Scholarship, awarded for outstanding promise in science and mathematics. Trugman enjoys reaching new heights in the classroom – both to show off his climbing skills and as a measure of his academic achievement. A National Merit Finalist, Trugman has also climbed 54 peaks in Colorado more than 14,000 feet high. Of his experience as a student employee at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2008, Trugman said, “I learned how crucial collaboration is to scientific success ... my experiences have strengthened my desire to discover.” Trugman has been accepted at Stanford University and plans to major in physics.

Lauren Castro – J. Robert Oppenheimer Scholarship in Memory of Mary and Harold Argo, awarded to a young woman for outstanding promise in the arts or sciences. Castro has been accepted to Princeton University and plans to major in molecular biology and pursue graduate studies in medical research. A three-month stint in Europe sparked an interest in different cultures and traditions. “Through my academic studies I hope to integrate these two interests and pursue a career as a medical researcher in global health,” Castro said. She has earned several awards and honors for her scholastic achievements, plays clarinet and piano, has earned varsity letters in tennis and swimming, and participates in many school, community and church activities.

Adam Izraelevitz – J. Robert Oppenheimer Scholarship Sponsored by Los Alamos National Bank, awarded to a student who demonstrates exceptional promise of future contributions to society. Izraelevitz plans to attend Cornell University and pursue an engineering degree. “Knowledge must be used for real world benefits to improve people’s lives … [Engineering] combines the possibilities of intellectual creativity with a relevance to societal problems,” the National Merit Finalist said. Active at the Los Alamos Jewish Center, Izraelevitz also is a juggler, violinist, varsity swimmer and water polo team co-captain.

Catherine Chen – J. Robert Oppenheimer Scholarship Sponsored by Los Alamos National Bank, awarded to a student who demonstrates exceptional promise of future contributions to society. President of the LAHS Science Bowl team and vice president of the local National Honor Society, Chen has earned numerous awards for her piano performance. She also has lettered in varsity track and field, and placed at the state meet in the pole vault. She hopes to combine her interest in science with international relations. “Science strengthens my understanding of the world … while writing inspires me, giving me courage to explore,” Chen said.

Lisa Anne Hendricks –  J. Robert Oppenheimer Scholarship in Memory of Terry Leon Rosen, awarded to a student who demonstrates unusual qualities of creativity and scholarship. Hendricks, a National Merit Finalist and AP Scholar, was captain of the LAHS diving team, an oboist in the concert band and a percussionist in the marching band, activities that taught her “discipline, hard work, teamwork, leadership and determination.” She also has participated in volunteer activities to paint and repair houses for people in need. “These experiences … taught me that I can gain true satisfaction by using my skills and talent to help others,” she said.

Eric Dai – J. Robert Oppenheimer Scholarship in Memory of Juliamarie Langham Grilly, awarded to a resident of Los Alamos County for outstanding promise in the arts or sciences. An accomplished swimmer who has set 12 state records, Dai plans after college to pursue a career as a computational physicist, using supercomputers to solve fundamental problems in physics. Describing “passion” as the most important characteristic in life for its ability to drive a person to accomplishment, Dai also said “hard work is the only path leading to success.”

Santa Fe High School

Andrew Hyde – J. Robert Oppenheimer Scholarship sponsored by Los Alamos National Bank awarded to a student who has demonstrated an interest in pursuing a career in basic or applied physical sciences, life sciences, mathematics or computer science. To turn his long-time interest in radio-controlled model planes into a college and career path, Hyde has accepted admission to the U.S. Air Force Academy where he will major in engineering and aim to become a USAF pilot.  Hyde said he has always put his best effort in his academic pursuits and maintaining his physical conditioning, the latter demonstrated by four years of varsity baseball, topped this year as captain of his team. “I am prepared for the challenges … of gaining an engineering degree and serving my country as an Air Force pilot,” he said.

Alexandra Bailey – J. Robert Oppenheimer Scholarship awarded to a student who has demonstrated an interest in pursuing a career in basic or applied physical sciences, life sciences, mathematics or computer science. Bailey has served in several leadership positions at her high school that have helped instill an interest in community involvement. She intends to pursue a science-based undergraduate curriculum and a career in health sciences. Volunteering at a nursing home demonstrated to her the need for improved heath services in her local community, which she also recognizes as a national need. “My interest in the health sciences is reflective of my general interest in the improvement of the quality of life for all Americans,” Bailey said.

Pojoaque Valley High School

Janelle Roybal – J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee Special Grant for Academic Achievement and Exceptional Promise. Roybal will major in biology in college and intends to pursue graduate studies as well. She hopes through her career to continue to serve as a role model to young girls in her community about the benefits of higher education and the possibilities offered in scientific fields. Helping her high school win titles in volleyball and basketball brought opportunities to talk to students at elementary and middle schools where she emphasized the importance of education and dedication to achieving a goal.