Twelve Students Receive LAPS Foundation Scholarships; Each Names Their ‘Educators Of Distinction’

All 12 LAPS Foundation 2018 Scholarship Winners/Jessica Booton Photography
Twelve outstanding students received the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation scholarship last month at the Los Alamos High School Honors Convocation.
The students were selected by the LAPS Foundation for their demonstrated service contributions to the students and community of the Los Alamos Public Schools. As part of the award, each student has the opportunity to name an Educator of Distinction, who is someone that has had a positive impact on the student during his/her time in the Los Alamos Public Schools.
Ruby Selvage is the daughter of Ron and Kimberly Selvage. She plans to attend Northern Arizona University in the fall. Selvage was specially selected as the most meritorious recipient and was presented also with the Rynd Award. The award is made possible by a large bequest left to the LAPS Foundation by Ed and Betty Rynd, a couple with a passion for community service and our schools. Selvage selected LAHS librarian Ken Holmes as her Educator of Distinction. In her essay, she stated “Mr. Holmes is at the library for the purpose of helping the students. He always wants students to come up to him with questions.  He is constantly coming up with new and fun ideas to try and get the students excited and more into books. Working alongside him made me want to start volunteering at the county library, which I did for about a year, and that has lead to my current job there.”
Sydne Ashford is the daughter of Kiara Ashford. She will attend Wellesley College in the fall where she will major in Chemistry. Ashford chose Margo Batha as her Educator of Distinction. She said, “Mrs. Batha has influenced me in so many ways, through my career in speech and debate, my passion for equality and intersectional issues, and my college decisions. Mrs. Batha’s presence in my life challenged me to be the best version of myself, so that I can better others around me.”
Ethan Aulwes is the son of Rob Aulwes and Sheila McClees. He plans to study Biomedical Engineering at Dartmouth University in the fall. Aulwes chose Catherine Puranananda as his Educator of Distinction. He said, “Ms. Puranananda has mentored me throughout my high school journey and instilled a perspective for learning that defines a liberal arts education as a way of life.  As an advisor she has shown me the value of being a multi-dimensional student which has profoundly shaped my identity.”
Eben Bold is the son of Jeffery Bold and Mary Grace. He will pursue Acting and Economics at the University of Southern California. Bold chose Brian Easton as his Educator of Distinction. He said, “Before Dr. Easton’s Economics class, I always knew that I enjoyed economics, but I had no idea that I would be planning on majoring in it one day. I believe that I can attribute my choice in major in part to Dr. Easton and his love for the subject he teaches.”
Onnolee Englert Erickson is the daughter of Andrew Erickson and Maribeth Englert. She plants to attend Stony Brook University in the fall, where she will major in Astronomy. Englert Erickson chose Stephanie Mitchell as her Educator of Distinction. She said, “Being a part of Ms. Mitchell’s classroom for two years has had an immense impact on me, especially because she is a woman in science. She has been my role model throughout my past two years and she has shown me that I can be a part of science. She has taught me the importance of integrity and honor, and I will always remember that.”
Caleb Hatler is the son of Karri Hatler. He will attend LeTourneau University in the fall where he will study Mechanical Engineering. Hatler chose his middle school band director, Ryan Finn, as his Educator of Distinction. He said, “My most pivotal musical experience was during middle school with my music director Mr. Finn.  He exemplifies what it means to be an Educator of Distinction, being both the most encouraging and most enthusiastic teacher I know. Ryan Finn has been an inspiration to how I perform, lead, and live my life, and will always be someone I look up to.”
Radhika Iyer is the daughter of Srinivas and Rashi Iyer. She plans to study Biology at the University of California at Berkley. Iyer chose her 6th grade teacher Lana Martin as her Educator of Distinction. She stated, “At its simplest level, Ms. Martin taught me to love the complexities of mathematics. In reality, she fostered an innate curiosity that has motivated my exploration into the STEM fields. Ms. Martin’s decorated classroom became a place of a growth and learning that has inspired me to broaden my perspective and to push against the bounds of what I think I know.”
Junseo Kim is the son of Yongho and Hyunjoo Kim. He will major in Cognitive Science at Northeastern University. For his Educator of Distinction, Kim selected Lynn Ovaska. He said “Mrs. Ovaska helped me realize how relevant psychology is in the world I live in. Through psychology, I could directly influence someone’s life; I saw a future in helping others improve their mental health. Thanks to Mrs. Ovaska, I am constructing my plans for the future as a cognitive scientist. I hope to bring together people who are struggling and directly influence their lives for the better.”
Vincent Marciano is the son of Vincent Marciano and Laurie Gallegos. He plans to attend the University of Denver in the fall where he will study Biology. Marciano chose Jonathan Lathrop as his Educator of Distinction. He wrote, “Through his always welcoming attitude and encouragement, Mr. Lathrop is one of the easiest teachers to talk to at LAPS. He has always been extremely supportive of me and my ideas. At the same time he makes sure I am responsible for my tasks and the projects I am a part of. High school would not have been the same for me if it were not for Mr. Lathrop’s constant jokes, puzzles, and random puns. He is a teacher that I highly respect”
Beatrice Nisoli is the daughter of Cristiano and Donatella Nisoli. She will study International Relations and English at the University of New Mexico. Nisoli also selected Catherine Puranananda as her Educator of Distinction. She said, “Mrs. Puranananda made me realize the significance of my interests in history and literature by focusing on the impacts each has on our contemporary world. In constantly nurturing and praising my passion for liberal arts, Mrs. P has inspired me to major in English in addition to my previously selected majors. I have emerged from her class not only a better writer, but a more open-minded and intellectually curious scholar.”
Benjamin Rees is the son of Daniel Rees and Amy Regan. He will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall where he will major in Chemistry. Rees selected Allen Andraski as his Educator of Distinction. Of Mr. Andraski Rees said, “He provided us the resources to make the most out of our education and encouraged us to find our passions and chase them. Mr. Andraski exposed me to different ways of thinking and urged me to apply the lessons we learned in class to better understand my surrounding world and the ties that connect us as a society. Looking back, no teacher has had a greater impact on my development as a scholar and global citizen in an interconnected world as Mr. Andraski.”
Miriam Wallstrom is the daughter of Timothy and Leslie Wallstrom. She plans to major in History at Stanford University. Wallstrom chose her 6th grade teacher, Ivanna Austell, as her Educator of Distinction. She said, “Her enthusiasm for learning inspired me to do my best, and she taught me that being a nerd is something to be proud of – a lesson that has helped motivate me to take advanced classes throughout high school. Ms. Austell helped me hone my confidence, and I walked out of sixth grade more prepared and motivated than ever before, a timid girl ready for the big world of middle school, and ultimately, high school.”
The Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation is an independent organization that supports, challenges, and invests in a successful future for all Los Alamos public school students. Since its inception in 2005, the LAPS Foundation has raised more than $1 million for Los Alamos Public School. The funds support opportunities and materials for students, provide professional development for district educators, defray operating expenses, and assist with capital improvements to enrich learning environments. To learn more about the LAPS Foundation, visit or call 505.500.6501.
Ruby Selvage and Ken Holmes/Jessica Booton Photography
Sydne Ashford and Margo Batha/Jessica Booton Photography
Ethan Aulwes and Catherine Puranananda/Jessica Booton Photography
Eben Bold and Brian Easton/Jessica Booton Photography
Onnolee Englert Erickson and Stephanie Mitchell/Jessica Booton Photography
Caleb Hatler and Ryan Finn/Jessica Booton Photography
Radhika Iyer and Lana Martin/Jessica Booton Photography
Junseo Kim and Lynn Ovaska/Jessica Booton Photography
Vincent Marciano and Jonathan Lathrop/Jessica Booton Photography
Beatrice Nisoli and Catherine Puranananda/Jessica Booton Photography
Benjamin Rees and Allen Andraski/Jessica Booton Photography
Miriam Wallstrom and Ivanna Austell/Jessica Booton Photography
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