128 New Mexico students receive more than $880,000 in scholarships

LANL Scholars supported in their undergraduate educations

April 15, 2024

Arial Maldonado Sm
LANL Scholar Gold Scholarship recipient Arial Maldonado of Escalante High School.

The LANL Foundation has announced this year’s recipients of four-year undergraduate degree scholarships. 128 Northern New Mexico students pursuing bachelor’s degrees will receive 132 scholarships worth over $884,000.

The four-year undergraduate scholarships are largely funded by donations from Laboratory employees and are open to students pursuing a degree in any field of study. The scholarships range from $1,000 for a single year up to $20,000 over four years. Recipients are selected based on a demonstrated commitment to academic achievement, leadership and service.

“We received a record number of applications this year and awarded more scholarships than ever before,” said Mike Ammerman, scholarship program director at the LANL Foundation. “The students who rose to the top in this highly competitive selection process are truly amazing, and we are honored to welcome them to our LANL Scholars community.” 

Scholarship-winning students

This year’s $20,000 Gold Scholarship recipients are:

Svetlana Backhaus of Calvert Academy
Svetlana plans to complete a degree in computer science or data science, with an emphasis on machine learning (AI). She refers to herself as an “unapologetic math geek” and serves as a math tutor at Northern New Mexico College. Svetlana completed an apprenticeship with STEMarts Lab and currently works as an intern at LANL, where her mentor says she “is without a doubt among the top 2% of high school graduates I have ever encountered.” 

Daniel Kim of Los Alamos High School
Daniel plans to pursue an electrical engineering degree and has served as an electrical engineering intern at the Laboratory. Daniel has earned numerous STEM awards including placing third at the International Science & Engineering Fair, being a Top 300 Scholar in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, and being a winner of the New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge. Daniel is also an accomplished athlete and musician who has dedicated hundreds of hours to community service.  

Arial Maldonado of Escalante High School
Arial will graduate high school with an associate degree in pre-engineering and plans to pursue a degree in mathematics. She’s a recipient of numerous national STEM awards and was the only female student selected to compete in the MathCounts program, where she scored the highest on her team. Arial has completed an internship with NASA investigating cost growth on interplanetary missions. In addition, she volunteers to teach English to Ukrainian students, serves as student senate president, and is captain of her school’s cheer team.

2,500 scholarships … and growing

Since 1999, LANL Foundation has awarded nearly 2,500 scholarships totaling over $12 million. These scholarships would not be possible without the support from the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund (LAESF) Advisory Committee and the Laboratory workforce. In 2023, LANL employees donated nearly $445,000 to LAESF, with Laboratory operator Triad National Security also contributing $178,000 in scholarship funding.

Scholarships are also made possible by community members who work with LANL Foundation and the LAESF Advisory Committee to administer their named and endowed scholarship funds. See a full list of this year’s recipients.