Each year the LAPS Foundation presents roughly 10 graduating LAHS seniors with scholarships. The awards go to students who have demonstrated a balance of academic excellence, extracurricular participation and community service throughout their high school careers. LAPS Foundation scholarship winners chose an Educator of Distinction, who is an educator that had a positive impact on the student’s time in the Los Alamos Public Schools.
2017 Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation Scholarship Winners
Elena Abeyta is the daughter of Jose and Eva Abeyta. She will attend Adams State University where she plans to major in Education. Elena was selected as the most meritorious recipient and was presented with the Rynd Award. The award is made possible by a large bequest left to the Foundation by Ed and Betty Rynd, a couple with a passion for community service and our schools. Abeyta selected Ildiko Nadaskay-Goeller as her Educator of Distinction. In her essay, she stated “It is teachers like Mrs. Nadaskay that have inspired me to pursue the field of Education. I believe that a teacher has the ability to inspire many people and encourage them to follow their dreams.”
Madeline Beck is the daughter of James and Jill Beck. She plans to attend Montana State University and study Exercise Science. Madeline chose Patricia Sue Wilson as her Educator of Distinction. She said, “I entered Mrs. Wilson’s class with a belief that I had met my time with math, and that something that used to interest me would instead now just be a burden. But with Mrs. Wilson’s teaching, I quickly gained back my love of numbers. Although she is no longer my teacher, I still find myself interested and motivated by her, and she has been one of the major reasons I have believed in myself enough to pursue my dreams of graduating early and furthering my education in college.”
Sara Bulthius is the daughter of Jon and Julie Bulthius. She will attend the University of Southern California. Sara chose her 6th grade teacher, Carol Hermes, as her Educator of Distinction. She said, “Mrs. Hermes was an incredible teacher because she believed that we were capable of taking on tasks that are not usually given to sixth graders. We were able to explore areas outside of our comfort zones and dabble in advanced concepts that were intriguing to us personally. Although the year was challenging, she guided us with a gentle hand and was eager to discuss various ideas with students.”
Mary Grothaus is the daughter of Michael and Deborah Grothaus. She plans to attend Montana State University and study Music Education. Mary chose her 7th grade music teacher, Deanna Teague, as her Educator of Distinction. Later, she had a chance to work with Mrs. Teague again. She said, “During my senior year, I was granted the opportunity to work under Mrs. Teague at Pinon Elementary School with her 5th and 6th grade bands. Under her mentorship, I realized that I truly love sharing my passion for music. I was able to meet aspiring younger students, and I found joy in helping them surmount their musical mountains. Now, I plan on attending college with a music education major, and credit is due to Mrs. Teague.”
Jessica Hall is the daughter of Michael Hall and Mary Hall Urban. She plans to study Marine Biology at the University of Tampa. Jessica chose Barbara Musgrave as her Educator of Distinction. Jessica said, “Mrs. Musgrave’s true virtue is her undying passion for the environment. I have gotten to know this side of her through being a member of the Ecological Club, of which she is the sponsor, and through being the student aid during her AP Environmental science class. I would just like to say that Mrs. Musgrave is an asset to the Los Alamos High School community, and she has made my high school experience wonderful and worthwhile. I could not ask for a better teacher, advisor, mentor, or friend.”
Stephanie Kuzmack is the daughter of Michael and Doreen Kuzmack. She would like to pursue a career in law, and she will attend Texas Tech where she will major in International Relations. Stephanie chose Michael Montano as her Educator of Distinction. She said, “Mr. Montano played a big role in my senior year at LAHS. He assisted me with an essay contest and was there to watch me as I was recognized for my success in this contest. He has always gone above and beyond his job duties and provided me with the support and encouragement to do my best.”
Maia Menefee is the daughter of K. Aaron and Anne Menefee. She plans to study Civil Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. Maia chose Joy Handsberry as her Educator of Distinction. In her essay Maia stated, “Ms. Handsberry’s classroom is one of celebration, laughter, hard work, and knowledge. Instead of quizzes and tests, Ms. Handsberry gives her students celebrations of knowledge (which are really just quizzes and tests in disguise). It is this positive allusion that perfectly describes Mrs. Handsberry, both as an educator and a person. She celebrates life, and finds joy in teaching others.”
Jennifer Wang is the daughter of Yongqiang Wang and Minhua Li. She plans to study Biochemistry and English at Rice University. Jennifer selected Catherine Puranananda, who is affectionately referred to as Mrs. P by her students, as her Educator of Distinction. Jennifer said that Mrs. P is “full of wisdom, tough love, and high quality dark chocolate. She encourages us to find meaning in the blandest of poems and the most discouraging of circumstances, to consider ourselves inconsequential yet capable of incredible things, and to ceaselessly learn and engage with the world around us.”
Wilbur Wang is the son of Jeff Wang and Min Huang. He plans to attend Princeton University where he will study Molecular Biology. Wilbur chose as his Educator of Distinction his Science coach and teacher, Kathy Boerigter. He wrote, “the critical thought that Mrs. Boerigter encourages in me has proven invaluable in every facet of my life and in the way I interact with the world. She teaches me beyond the pages of textbooks and slideshows, always serving as a model of perseverance, optimism, and integrity.”
Michelle Yang is the daughter of Xiaoguang Yang and Mavis Lin. She has an interest in pursuing Chemisty, and she will attend UC Berkely. Yang chose Stephanie Mitchell as her Educator of Distinction. Yang said, “While Mrs. Mitchell’s class is challenging and requires effort and determination, she offers more than enough help and material to succeed in class. I never felt uncomfortable asking questions in her class; in fact, she was always very enthusiastic to answer them, and she clearly explains hard concepts.”
Scholarships Administered by the LAPS Foundation
In addition to its own scholarships, the LAPS Foundation administers the following scholarships, by managing the funds and in some cases reviewing applications and selecting the winners:
George and Joan moved to Los Alamos in 1954 and raised 6 children, all of whom graduated from LAHS. George 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. The 2017 George and Joan Bjarke Scholarship was awarded to Liam Johnson, Jaime Justice and April Lopez.
The Irene Boone Memorial Scholarship is made possible through the generosity of long-time resident and pediatrician, Dr. Irene Boone and her husband, Zanas “Slim” Boone. The 2017 winners were Fellers and Erica Keevama.
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. The 2017 winners of this scholarship were Joshua Dyer and Zoe Challacombe.
This scholarship was created in honor of June Ettinger, who 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. She read extensively, and was frequently at the Mesa Public Library. Applicants were asked to write a personal narrative concerning an age-appropriate book. The 2017 recipient was Bethany Rose. Click for her review of the book Sometimes We Tell the Truth.
The Stoddard Scholarship for Nursing and Education was 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. In 2017, three students planning to pursue nursing degrees received the award: Melina Burnside, Divine Fellers and Shannon Irwin.
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 is awarded each year to a student who earnestly adapts these principals towards application in a STEM major. The 2017 winner was Erica Keevama.