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Scholarship fund breaks a record

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LANL> Close to $592,000 is raised

By Tris DeRoma

The Los Alamos National Employees’ Scholarship Fund broke a record this year. According to Los Alamos National Laboratory spokesman Steve Sandoval, the fund brought in more funds this year than in any year of its existence.
The fund was founded in 1998 through a partnership with the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation. Each year, employees and subcontractors with the lab donate to the fund. The fund’s purpose is to support promising students that attend school in Northern New Mexico with college scholarships.
“Contributions totaled about $342,000 and with a contributing match of $240,000 from the Los Alamos National Security LANS it’s about $592,000 total,” Sandoval said. “We had a great fundraising drive this year.”
LAESF held a reception for the 2014 winners in April of this year. During the event, Los Alamos High School student Alexandr Wang was granted a $20,000 Gold scholarship through the foundation. 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.
“Our employees know first-hand that education can unlock opportunity for these talented students who hold the promise to be future leaders in government, industry, or the nonprofit sector,” said Los Alamos’ Environmental Programs Director Jeff Mousseau in a press release.
Mousseau is this year’s LAESF scholarship drive chairman. “This scholarship program provides an opportunity for employees, contractors and retirees to play a valuable role in helping our region’s high school and college academic stars attain their higher education goals.”
Funds pledged during this year’s drive will be used to award scholarships in 2015, according to the same LANL press release.
Wang said he will be using his scholarship toward funding his computer science studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The top winner at 2014’s event was Bernalillo High School student Raymond Fasano, who won a $30,000 scholarship, plans to study energy storage and nuclear engineering with a focus on fusion.
He plans to attend Tufts University in the fall.
Sandoval not only attributed the record to the scholarship’s publicity campaign as well as the smaller fundraising events leading up to it, but also to the fact that since the fund was founded, employees, retirees and other contributors to the fund have had the opportunity to see firsthand how supporting these students directly benefit the national labs in the region.
Many scholarship winners eventually become employees that contribute to the labs’ ongoing success in such fields as medicine, science and national defense.
“They are part of the pipeline of future employees for this laboratory,” Sandoval said.
“I think (contributors) find some value in participating in the scholarship drive.”
The list of 2014 scholarship recipients is on the Foundation’s website (lanlfoundation.org/Scholarships/Recipients.html).