Laboratory employees pledge more than $400,000 for scholarships

The 3-week campaign provides opportunities for students across the region

By David Moore | June 22, 2024

Aliana Cornflower Ortiz
Aliana Cornflower-Ortiz from Santa Fe Indian School is just one of this year’s LANL Scholars supported by employee donations to the scholarship fund.

Los Alamos National Laboratory employees pledged $404,739 during the recently completed 2024 Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund (LAESF) fundraising campaign, with more than 100 employees donating for the first time.

This fundraising effort encourages Laboratory employees to donate to a fund that awards a range of college scholarships to outstanding Northern New Mexico students.

Raising awareness of the far-reaching impacts of the LAESF awards is one objective of the campaign; the other is ensuring stable funding so that awards can be given on an annual basis.

"This year, for the first time in 26 years, we were able to distribute $1 million in scholarships for fantastic and deserving students in our local community," said Laboratory employee Kacy Hopwood, LAESF Advisory Committee chair.

Although the fund is administered by the independent LANL Foundation, recommendations over the scholarship recipients are made by the LAESF Advisory Committee, which consists of 25 elected members representing employees, retirees and scholarship alumni.

One of this year’s recipients is Aliana Cornflower-Ortiz of Santa Clara Pueblo, who has been planning for her future career in nursing since elementary school. 

"When I began to look at the requirements for a nursing degree, I realized that the local high school I would eventually attend could not prepare me for the rigors of a post-secondary education in a medical field," she said. "In sixth grade, I applied and was accepted to Santa Fe Indian School. The 60-mile round trip commute is a sacrifice I was willing to make so that I could challenge myself academically while also preserving the Native American culture that I belong to."

In the fall, she will concurrently work toward community health worker and phlebotomy certificates at Santa Fe Community College. Her ultimate aim is to serve as a pediatric certified nurse practitioner in her home community.

See the full list of 2024 scholarship recipients.