Celebration of Success Scholarships

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2016 LAPS Foundation Scholarship Winners

Eleven outstanding students have been awarded the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation scholarship.Each student demonstrated a balance
of academic excellence, extracurricular participation and community service throughout their high school careers.  Winners chose an Educator of Distinction;this is an education professional that had a positive impact on the student’s time in the Los Alamos Public Schools.


Rachel Wallstrom was selected by the scholarship committee as its most meritorious recipient and awarded the Rynd Award.

Rachel will attend Stanford University and is undecided about her field of study. She selected Kathy Boerigter as her Educator of Distinction. Wallstrom said of Boerigter, “Mrs. Boerigter encourages her students to ask questions and creates an engaging class atmosphere. She makes learning chemistry fun by focusing on the meaning and consequences behind each idea as opposed to forcing tedious fact memorization. She has not only inspired me in the classroom, but has also supported my involvement in various summer programs and extracurricular learning opportunities.”

Mary Brug will attend the University of New Mexico to study Psychology and American Sign Language Interpretation. Mary selected Margo Batha as her Educator of Distinction. Brug said of Batha, “Knowing Mrs. Batha during my high school career has changed me as an individual. I have grown in my understanding of how to debate and not argue about issues that matter to me. Working with Mrs. Batha for four years showed me that being a coach or a teacher means truly caring about each of your students.”

Rebecca Cai will attend Columbia University to study Human Rights and Economics. Rebecca selected Joy Handsberry as her Educator of Distinction. Cai said of Handsberry, “She is an extremely effective teacher, treating every lesson with vigor and enthusiasm. She admires the students who work extra-hard to receive B’s and C’s, because she understands how difficult effort can be without superlative award. Above all else, she taught us by her example that every lifetime can be maximized, and every personality celebrated.” 

Deanna Gutierrez will attend Harvard University to study Political Science. Deanna selected Margo Batha as her Educator of Distinction. She said of Batha, “Mrs. Batha not only challenged me in a classroom setting, but helped cultivate my individual growth.  She was able to channel my longing for explanation into intellectual curiosity. She continuously went beyond her classroom duties, ensuring that my wellbeing as an individual was not ignored.”

Maxwell Herrmann will attend Montana State University to study Nursing. Maxwell selected Michelle Holland as his Educator of Distinction. Herrmann said of Holland, “Mrs. Holland structures her class in such a way to allow for freedom of the mind. No longer were we memorizing facts. We were discussing them. For once, I was in a class where opinion mattered. In Humanities, it felt as though I was finally free from the confines of a syllabus. Mrs. Holland and Humanities gave me exactly what I was expecting–more from high school.”

Emily Hopkins will attend the University of New Mexico to study Engineering. Emily selected Catherine Puranananda as her Educator of Distinction. Hopkins said of Puranananda, “Ms. P set an expectation for a level of dedication that goes unmatched. There was a perfect balance between academic rigor and general life support in her classroom. She made a strong effort to understand my scatterbrained thoughts and gave me a sense of direction while giving me the tools to move forward into my future.”

Makaela Jones will attend New Mexico State University to student Biology/Pre-Medicine. Makaela selected Lori Thompson as her Educator of Distinction. She said of Thompson, “Mrs. Thompson had a way of engaging students by providing us with fun and entertaining educational activities to do during class.  She has also always pushed me to reach my potential and has helped me with work from other classes, my senior paper, scholarships, essays, and even a personal matter.”

JoAnna O’Neill will attend Western Washington University to study Biology/Pre-Medicine. JoAnna selected Lynn Ovaska as her Educator of Distinction. O’Neill said of Ovaska, “Mrs. Ovaska uses innovative teaching methods and brings enthusiasm into the classroom in a way that promotes participation and critical thinking.  Apart from being an outstanding teacher, she also provides her students with someone to look up to, as well as a safe place to go to when they need help.”

John Rees will attend Stanford University to study Bioengineering. Ben chose Rose Martin, his Pinon Elementary School GATE teacher, as his Educator of Distinction. John said of Martin, “Through this experiential learning, Mrs. Martin taught me what all teachers seek to impart on their students: learning is fun.  She tackled difficult subjects without pausing to wonder if we were too young to understand. She challenged us to be creative for the purpose of solving problems and let us apply our learning in ways that deepened our understanding.”

Rachel Reynolds will attend the University of North Texas and is undecided about her field of study. Rachel selected Mick Matusak as her Educator of Distinction. She said of Matusak, “He was able to teach in a way that related well to the life a high school student by intertwining stories that drew us in and created an environment that teens could feel comfortable in. When we struggled or needed someone to really listen, with no hesitation, Mick would sit and be that person for us. He manages to teach a hard and time consuming class, yet many students look forward to and genuinely enjoy the course.”

Camille Rousculp will attend the University of California at Los Angeles and is undecided about her field of study. Camille selected Donna Shaefer, her 4th grade teacher at Mountain Elementary, as her Educator of Distinction. She said of Shaefer, “Ms. Shaefer felt we were old enough to take charge of our own learning. She was the first teacher who felt like a friend as well as a teacher, and became the first teacher with whom I felt comfortable when I spoke. When I look back on my experience in her class, I see that I would not be the student or the person I am today without Ms. Shaefer as my fourth grade teacher.”





George and Joan Bjarke Scholarship

George and Joan moved to Los Alamos in 1954 and raised 6 children, all of whom graduated from LAHS. Geoarge worked at LANL and served several terms on the School Board. George and Joan both believe every child deserves a chance to further their education. A need based scholarship to students pursuing a 2 or 4 year degree at an accredited college or university, or an accredited technical-vocational program or certification.

Megan Bucklin, Jonathan Salazar, Makaela Jones are the recipients of the George and Joan Bjarke Scholarship for 2016.




Irene Boone Memorial Scholarship

LAPS and LAPS Foundation award this need based scholarship to students pursuing a 2 or 4 year degree at an accredited college or university, or an accredited technical-vocational program or certification.

Megan Bucklin and Xin Eutsler are the recipients of the Irene Boone Memorial Scholarship for 2016.



Jim Sims Engineering Memorial Scholarship

Jim Sims worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory as a Mechanical Engineer for 34 years. During his distinguished career, he worked as a design engineer and as a leader of project engineering teams. He was an internationally recognized expert in high-field magnet design and had an unparalleled knowledge of hardware engineering, design, and fabrication. He was committed to sharing his knowledge and experience through mentoring young engineers, designers, and students. 

Theodore Petersen is the recipient of the Jim Sims Engineering Memorial Scholarship for 2016.



June Ettinger Memorial Scholarship

June Ettinger was a long-time resident of Los Alamos, arriving in town in 1961 when her husband was hired by Los Alamos National Laboratory. For more than 20 years, she taught third and fourth grade at Barranca Mesa and Mountain elementary schools with an emphasis on social studies and its application to other elementary school subjects. She read extensively, and was frequently at the Mesa Public Library. She also loved to travel; her favorite travel involved visits to third world countries. 

JoAnna O'Neill is the recipient of the June Ettinger Memorial Scholarship for 2016. She wrote her winning essay about the novel The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho




Stoddard Scholarship for Nursing and Education

The Stoddard Scholarship for Nursing and Education, were the result of Steve Stoddard’s work on the Board of the Caldera National Preserve, where he helped decide the future of the unique and beautiful area of Northern New Mexico. Steve was paid a stipend for his work and the money accumulated during his years of service. The late Steve Stoddard, along with his wife Barbara, recognized the need for more quality teachers and nurses. Thus, they formed this scholarship which is awarded to an outstanding graduate of LAHS planning to major in Nursing or Education at an accredited New Mexico College or University.

Maria Ronquillo is the recipient of the Stoddard Scholarship for Nursing for 2016.



Thomas Intrator Scholarship

Thomas Intrator was a distinguished plasma physicist at LANL who ardently encouraged, fostered and practiced a sense of curiosity. This inquisitiveness, and occasional, "militant naivete", defined his approach not just professionally in physics, but also in life. Wonder at the natural world, and a drive to understand, were moral imperatives that he hoped to instill in those around him. This scholarship will be awarded to a student who earnestly adapts these principals towards application in a STEM major.

John Rees is the recipient of the Thomas Intrator Scholarship for 2016.






Thank you to Samantha D'Anna Photgraphy!!


The Foundation encourages members of the community to support the Foundation by growing its endowment through tax-deductible donations for the betterment of Los Alamos Public School district and its students.


Click Here for 2013 Winners
Click Here for 2014 Winners
Click Here for 2015 Winners

    Laura Loy
    Executive Director
    1900 Diamond Drive, Suite 1
    Los Alamos, NM 87544
    Phone: (505) 500-6501

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