As part of a very special tradition here at Partners, we are thrilled to announce the 2020 Annual Scholarship recipients. Since the program’s inception in 2000, over $260,000 in funds have been awarded to over thirty (30) students. Each year, we open up the Annual Scholarship application process to Partners Members who are pursuing a postsecondary education. Recipients are selected based on scholastic achievement, community involvement, school or work-related activities and the content of an original written essay. This year, in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, we asked each applicant to write about a cause that would positively impact the environment. We received close to 400 impressive entries and enjoyed reading about the various proposed causes.
Congratulations Gillian C., Chris G. and Meredith B., who will each receive a $7,000 award to be used towards their college education. Here’s a little more about each of them.
Gillian will be attending Southern Illinois University for the Fall 2020 term. She has been admitted into the Theatre program, which is in the College of Liberal Arts. Gillian has always had a passion for the arts, which started out with dance from a very young age. Today, she enjoys dancing, as well as musical theatre and specifically loves working on choreography. She loves choreography so much that as she starts her college career, she will be working with one of her professors to start a choreography program. Gillian finishes her high school career as an Honor Roll and AP scholar, while also completing dual enrollment in Freshman Composition. Over the years, she has participated in a variety of thespian programs both in and out of school and is thrilled to be able to continue to do so in college. Her scholastic achievements thus far have also earned her a scholarship from the University. Keep on dancing Gillian and shaping the world, one dance move at a time.
Meredith is a student at Santa Monica College, currently studying Dramatic Art, but will be adding Economics as an additional study as she returns for the Fall 2020 term. Meredith has a passion for the arts, and most recently due to the current economic conditions has grown to be more interested in economics. Meredith has also always had a passion for exotic birds, making this year’s essay question a perfect platform for her to share some insights on how we can all make a difference. In 2019, Meredith volunteered as a teaching assistant, where she helped develop lesson plans to support exotic bird conservation with the Natural Encounters, Inc. (NEI), an organization that offers expertise in animal training and the science of behavior change. Meredith has enjoyed volunteering with this organization, as she exclaimed that it has allowed her to further understand how some of these exotic birds learn different behaviors which impact not only their living area but also how and where they nest. Although a California native, Meredith’s passion for exotic birds was greatly influenced during her time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, where she got to learn about the various conservation programs and also had the privilege of being a performer in the show “UP! A Great Bird Adventure”. In her spare time, Meredith enjoys paying it forward, by volunteering with 826LA, as a literacy tutor for underprivileged students as well as volunteering with various organizations to support beach clean-up. Keep up the great work Meredith and continue to spread your wings.
Chris will be attending the University of Central Florida and will also begin in the Fall 2020 semester. Chris will be majoring in Computer Science, something that he has been passionate about from a very young age. One could argue, that Chris’s Computer Science career has and continues to be in full force, simply based on the work he has been able to do thus far. Chris has completed two summer programs with Lockheed Martin in their Software Engineer Internship, where he worked 40 hours per week with the functional team in the Engineering Department. Chris explained that he worked mostly with the Visual Basic and HTML teams and the Python and GUI teams during his two internship opportunities. In his spare time, he was the Programming Team President at his high school, where he led a team that did competitive programming.
Chris finishes his high school career as the 2020 Graduating Class Valedictorian. He is an Honors Program and AP Scholar, completing eleven (11) AP exams, scoring a 5 or higher on each. In his spare time, he enjoys tutoring students in math as well as volunteering at the local animal shelter, Give Kids the World, and Relay for Life organizations. Keep up the great work Chris and remember take it on bit by bit.
Having the opportunity to be involved in this year’s selection process and being able to read about the accomplishments of the applicants, made me feel hopeful and confident in that our young adults are well versed in what is important in this world in this day in age. So, kudos to you all for encouraging folks like myself to continue to work towards a better tomorrow, even if it does mean we have to play a little catch up.
Congratulations again Gillian, Chris, and Meredith! We wish all of our applicants the best of luck in their future educational endeavors.