Northern New Mexico Students Celebrated During Scholarship Award Ceremony

The 2018 Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund award winners. Photo by Andrea Multari/LANL Foundation




ESPAÑOLA—On May 6, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), LANL Foundation, families, donors and invited guests celebrated the 107 Northern New Mexico (NNM) students who received 113 awards from the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund. The scholarship reception and brunch, held that Eldorado Hotel, marked the 20th year of scholarships though the program. More than 300 guests were in attendance.


Recipients from 37 local high schools and few local colleges who reside in the seven counties of Northern New Mexico that surround Los Alamos National Laboratory received $659,200 in undergraduate scholarships. Awards range from $1,000 to $20,000, most of which are spread out over four years. 


All winners met rigorous academic and merit-based requirements. Some awards are determined by additional qualifications including the pursuit of degrees in specific fields of study, first-generation college students, Native American students, outstanding leadership, higher financial need, resiliency and determination or residency in certain communities.


The highlight of the afternoon featured students who were invited to the stage to introduce themselves and state their graduating school, scholarship and future endeavors including their “super power”. While scholars will attend colleges and universities across the country, many choose to stay in state.

LANL Foundation CEO Jenny Parks welcomed the crowd. She reminded the students regardless of the circumstances of their past, they now determine their story in the future. 


The event was hosted by LANL Foundation Scholarship Program Manager John McDermon who retired from the Lab and previously served for eight years as a member of the scholarship advisory committee, a group of volunteer donors that supports the program in evaluations, ranging, selections, fundraising, outreach and oversight alongside the LANL Foundation. During the event, McDermon recognized the current committee members and donors of this largest scholarship pool in Northern New Mexico, most of whom are LANL employees and retirees. He also thanked the Lab’s management company Los Alamos National Security, LLC for its $250,000 annual investment and non-Lab community members and businesses that also contribute to make annual scholarship awards possible, while building an endowment that supports the program in perpetuity.

“The scholars and their families are beneficiaries of this generosity, and we hope that continues for many years,” McDermon said. “These are the most outstanding, inspiring, capable group of scholars you can ever hope to meet.”
Tony Fox, vice president of Institutional Advancement and Scholarship, who managed the scholarship program for 18 years prior to McDermon, acknowledged LANL Foundation Legacy Society members for their long-term vision and for naming the Foundation’s education programs in their will or trust. In celebration of 20 years of scholarships, Fox recognized three of the founders who initiated the idea of a Lab employee-funded scholarship as well as the original LANL Foundation Director. 

In 1996, LANL Diversity Council Chair Larry Avens and members Bob Romero and Gene Farnum proposed the scholarship’s creation to support Northern New Mexico students and give back to local communities. Together they approached various levels of Lab management multiple times before receiving approval to proceed. Founding LANL Foundation Director Susan Herrera joined them in partnership in 1998 to make the scholarship a reality through fiscal sponsorship and program management. The first awards were given in 1999 to 37 students totaling $94,000. 


As a symbol of the multiple times that the scholarship idea was rejected and for all of the time, energy and personal sacrifice that it took to get the program up and running, Avens, Romero and Farnum were presented with engraved clocks for their “incredible inspiration and commitment to the youth and families of our region.”


“Students, you inspire us all every year. We are humbled by want you have accomplished. This program has always been a great spirit of partnership, and this early leadership was so important,” Herrera said. “It is with great honor that we present these wonderful men with these awards. The LANL Foundation and 1,400 students are grateful to you.”


Also, to recognize and honor the founders’ initial perseverance and continued involvement to ensure that the scholarships lasted, a new award designation was introduced at this event. The first Founders’ Award was given to Ramona Park, who stood out by demonstrating drive, determination and grit and who exemplifies a high level of compassion and determination, similar to those who started the scholarship fund. Park, a $15,000 Silver Scholar will graduate from Santa Fe High School then head on to Harvard University to pursue her well-articulated vision of combining journalism, art, and computer science to execute more effective visual communication in the digital age.


During the last 20 years, the scholarship fund and the number of awards have grown. In addition to the four-year undergraduate awards, Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund also offers two other funding categories: $1500 Regional College/Returning Student Scholarships for nontraditional students in pursuing a two-year degree or certification and $1500 Northern New Mexico Tribal Business Scholarships for Native Americans pursuing business-related degrees.

To date, 1,400 students have received more than $6.8 million. In 2018, a total of 142 students will receive $712,950 among all award categories. 


2018 Awards by county of residence within scholarship service area are:

  • Los Alamos: 19 students, $108,000 (16 percent)
  • Mora: 4 students, $40,000 (6 percent)
  • Rio Arriba: 20 students, $88,450 (13 percent)
  • San Miguel: 2 students, $15,000 (2 percent)
  • Sandoval: 5 students, $28,500 (4 percent)
  • Santa Fe: 44 students, $292,000 (44 percent)
  • Taos: 13 students, $87,250 (13 percent)


2018 Awards by reported ethnicity are:


  • American Indian: 4 students, (3.7 percent)
  • Asian: 9 students, (8.4 percent)
  • African American: 1 student, (1 percent)
  • Caucasian: 30 students, (28 percent)
  • Hispanic: 41 students, (38.3 percent)
  • Mixed Race: 15 students, (14 percent)
  • Other / Unspecified: 7 students, (6.5 percent)


Laboratory Director Tarry Wallace was introduced by Kathy Keith, executive director of the LANL Community Programs Office.


“We celebrate our past and future with all of these winners. Seeing the scholars each year makes us feel so good about the future of Northern New Mexico, because we see this new group of leaders,” Keith said.
Wallace, who is the first LANL Director from Northern New Mexico, emphasized the connection between the lab and its surrounding communities and stressed the importance of scholarships. He identified some scholars in the audience and shared a small piece of their impressive stories.

“We are looking at a community that is rich in its culture but sometimes not rich in its resource. In 20 years, these scholarships have sent norte students to scores of schools to pursue degrees in the broadest spectrum of academics. This year’s recipients are extraordinarily talented. To the awardees who are here today, I personally want to congratulate you. You are exceptional, and each and every one has a unique tale,” Wallace said.


He and other past Laboratory directors have provided funding for scholarship winners to gain meaningful job experience through internships at the Lab with a mentor in their field of college study. 


“All of you sitting here today will go on to change the word in big and small ways. We need individual heroes.” Wallace continued. “Scholars, you’ll be challenged academically, you’ll be challenged personally. I feel confident that you’ll be ready to meet those challenges. No matter what you choose to do, never stop asking why and searching for the answer and looking for the truth. That is where discovery lies.”


The Laboratory begins its annual scholarship fundraising campaign  Monday. Donations may be made by LANL employees through the Lab’s Giving Tool. Contributions from community members and businesses not affiliated with the Lab may be made year-round through the LANL Foundation at All donors may select from a variety of funds and support specific awards that resonate with their giving priorities and personal values. LANL Foundation also works with donors to create individually endowed awards with donor-defined criteria.

More information about scholarships and the list of recipients and awards may be found online at


About Los Alamos National Laboratory (

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and URS Corporation for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.


Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health and global security concerns.


About the LANL Foundation (

Since 1997, the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has worked to inspire excellence in education and learning in Northern New Mexico through innovative programming, collaboration and advocacy. By investing in human potential, the Foundation’s vision is that all New Mexicans have the skills and confidence they need to be self-sufficient, lifelong learners who are engaged in their communities. Programs in early childhood, K–12 education with support of teacher professional development and STEM inquiry, scholarships and small grants serve Northern New Mexico communities primarily in Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Taos counties.


Los Alamos scholarship winners. First row: Ethan Aulwes and Junseo Kim. Second row: Sarah Shipley, Beatrice Nisoli, Priyanka Velappan, Sydne Ashford, Elisa Cirigliano, Miriam Wallstrom, Benjamin Rees, Sarah Shiina and Jennifer Paige. Third row: Phillip Martin, Matilde Jacobson, Jacob Torrez and Caleb Hatler. Not pictured: David Gao, Zoe Hemez, Radhika Iyer, Donald Poston and Andreas Runde. Photo by Andrea Multari/LANL Foundation


Mora scholarship winners. From left, Emily Mendoza, Eloy Roybal, Aniceto Chavez, and Alonzo Aragon, all graduating from Mora High School. Photo by Andrea Multari/LANL Foundation


Arriba County scholarship winners. First row: Sara Hurd, Escalante High School; Ryan Allison, Escalante High School; Mariposa Gonzales, Pojoaque Valley High School; Adrian Vigil, Pojoaque Valley High School; Leah Lujan, Española Valley High School; Faith Trujillo, Española Valley High School; Isabella Coronado, Mesa Vista High School; Alicia Trujillo, Española Valley High School; Brandon Lujan, Española Valley High School; Veronica Trujillo, Española Valley High School; and Lizeth Anaya, Española Valley High School. Second row: William Russom, Escalante High School; Nathaniel Gallegos, Mesa Vista High School; Matthew Quintana, Pojoaque Valley High School; Mario Santistevan, Pojoaque Valley High School; and Christopher Gomez, Dulce High School. Not pictured: Lynette Baca, Northern New Mexico College; Marissa Baca, Escalante High School; Alyssa Chacon, Los Alamos High School; Leah Lujan, Española Valley High School; Helena Naranjo, McCurdy Charter School; Patrick Quintana, Northern New Mexico College; Marisa Ronquillo, New Mexico State University; and Antonio Serrano, Northern New Mexico College. Photo by Andrea Multari/LANL Foundation


From left,  scholarship winners Audrey Mae Roanne Ga, Cuba High School and Kathryn Beebe, V. Sue Cleveland High School. Not pictured: David Kirby, University of New Mexico; Shayna Mallett, Enlightium Academy; Iesha Pacheco, Santa Fe Indian School. Photo by Andrea Multari/LANL Foundation


San Miguel County winners. From left, Andres Archuleta, Robertson High School; Jenna Bustos, West Las Vegas High School. Photo by Andrea Multari/LANL Foundation

Santa Fe County winners. First row: Bradley Moffett, Santa Fe High School; Theodore Gonzales, The Academy for Technology and the Classics; Maximiño Manzanares, The Academy for Technology and the Classics; Rowan Cahill, Santa Fe High School; Nathan Hayes-Rich, Santa Fe Preparatory School; and Landon Tafoya, Santa Fe Preparatory School. Second row: Lydia Clark, Institute of American Indian Arts; Alisa Caraveo, Capital High School; Benjamin Shelton, The Academy for Technology and the Classics; Julia Brock, Santa Fe Preparatory School; Brianna Poole, Santa Fe Waldorf School; Lia Fukuda, Monte del Sol Charter School; Iesha Pacheco, Santa Fe Indian School; Gabriella Rodriguez, Capital High School; Teslin Ishee, Santa Fe Preparatory School; Monique Lopez, St. Michael’s High School; and Summer Romero, Santa Fe High School. Third row: Lila Baca, New Mexico School for the Arts; Madeline Grantham-Philips, Santa Fe High School; Ramona Park, Santa Fe High School; Wyatte Grantham-Philips, Santa Fe High School; Eva Canby, St. Michael’s High School; Karissa Baca, St. Michael’s High School; Valeria de Lira Richards, St. Michael’s High School; and Leah Lujan, Española Valley High School. Not pictured: Yessica Aguilar, Capital High School; Ariel Arrellin, Capital High School; Astrid Giblin, St. Michael’s High School; Shawn Hinzey, University of New Mexico; Sarbjot Jessop, Santa Fe Preparatory School; Max Krien, Desert Academy; Natalie Longmire-Kulis, Desert Academy; Brandon Lujan, Española Valley High School; Colin Maez, Tierra Encantada Charter School; Viviana Martinez Espiricueta, The MASTERS Program; Laurel McIntyre, Santa Fe Preparatory School; Wyatt Merians, Santa Fe Preparatory School; Lauren Naranjo, St. Michael’s High School. Cristian Nevarez-Caraveo, Northern New Mexico College; Lilia Noger-Onstott, The Academy for Technology and the Classics; Jennifer Paige, Los Alamos High School; Julianna Piechowicz, New Mexico School for the Arts; Matthew Quintana, Pojoaque Valley High School; Mario Santistevan, Pojoaque Valley High School; Benjamin Sheffer, The Academy for Technology and the Classics; Selah Winston, Santa Fe Preparatory School. Photo by Andrea Multari/LANL Foundation


Taos County winners. First row: Will (Jinpeng) Song, Taos High School; and John Himes, Taos Academy Charter School. Second row: Estrella Gonzales, Peñasco High School; Laura Mascareñas, Questa High School; Tomas Chavez, Questa High School; Zahieh Khweis, Taos High School; and Cora Cannedy, Taos High School. Not pictured: Athena Dunleavy, Taos High School; Margot Goler, Taos High School; Rowan Kinney, Taos High School, Leia Mermejo-Varga, Stanford University; Celia Pacheco, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology; Antonio Trujillo, Questa High School. Photo by Andrea Multari/LANL Foundation

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