Nineteen Estrella Mountain Community College students were recently awarded scholarships through the National Science Foundation's Emerging Scholar Program. Each student received a one-year award of up to $5,000 to be distributed equally over two semesters. This year, the scholarships totaled nearly $100,000 between the 19 students, allowing them to continue their education while receiving the support they need to be successful in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.
The students who received the scholarships are Ngoc Bui, Victor Cabellos, Jonathan Draper, Felicia Gibson, Alexis Gillmore, Eileen Guerrero, Lyna Ho, Idalia Marta, Paul Martin, Judah Montenegro, Arleth Navarro, D'Christopher Newton, Karen Rodriguez, Sandra Sandoval, Jon Schubel, Martin Solis, Nina Tran, Carl Vasil, and Vanessa Wagers.
Dr. Dwain Desbien, division chair for science and mathematics and Emerging Scholar mentor, emphasized the need for graduates in the STEM fields, "There is a shortage of professionals in the STEM fields," he said. "For example, there are only about 4,800 students awarded degrees in physics nationally each year, when there is a need for about 9,600. This program helps our students achieve their academic goals and supports the demand for graduates in these areas. It's a wonderful experience to get to know the students, help them obtain internships and watch their excitement toward science and math grow."
"The program really walks you through identifying your career goals, networking and applying for internships," said Judah Montenegro, a civil engineering major. Montenegro plans to transfer to Arizona State University and ultimately, "revolutionize the construction industry." Being a part of the Emerging Scholars Program not only financially supports Montenegro, but solidifies his career choice. "I'm so happy to have been awarded the scholarship. It's really going to help open some doors for me," he said.