Los Alamos National Laboratory employees pledged more than $370,000 during the recently completed 2021 Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund (LAESF) fundraising campaign, including more than $70,000 in new pledges and gifts. The drive encourages Laboratory employees to donate to a fund that awards college scholarships to Northern New Mexico students.
“Scholarships help address inequities that exist throughout the region. Closing those gaps and helping students reach their full potential is what these scholarships do really well,” said Lab employee Austin Evans, a member of the LAESF Advisory Committee, the volunteer group that steers the scholarship program and selects each new class of LANL Scholars.
“When a student receives a scholarship that comes directly from Lab employees, it’s an affirming experience and recognition of their hard work and resilience, especially for those who have overcome significant challenges in life,” he says.
Laboratory operator Triad also supports LAESF with a contribution, with a particular focus on needs-based scholarships. In the past 22 years, more than 1,800 scholarships worth nearly $8.5 million have supported local students attending accredited institutions across the country.
LANL Scholar Edgar Sarceno, a graduate of Santa Fe High School, received the John & Marti Browne Leadership and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Scholarships in 2019. Now a rising junior at Bates College in Maine, Edgar is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in physics and plans to pursue a graduate degree in the same field upon completion of his undergraduate program.
Without a home but not without hope
In high school, Edgar faced housing insecurity and became homeless during his senior year. But these struggles did not stop him from pursuing his dreams and working hard to achieve his goals.
This summer, Edgar will intern at the Lab, which he sees as the first step towards being able to return home to New Mexico with a career that will allow him to give back to his community.
“Without the support I received as a LANL Scholar, I don’t think I would have been as comfortable applying to work at the Laboratory. Interning somewhere else wouldn’t have been as meaningful as coming back to my home community.”
The scholarships are administered by the LANL Foundation, and all recipients live in one of the seven Northern New Mexico counties surrounding Los Alamos National Laboratory. The students demonstrate excellence in academic achievement, leadership, and service, as well as meet rigorous academic and merit-based requirements.