As a senior at Montebello High School, Heydy Arias became the inaugural recipient of the 2016 Dr. Wanda M. Austin STEM Scholarship which is a part of The Aerospace Corporation’s STEM Endowment Fund. Arias received $10,000 for her first year of college and the scholarship may be renewed annually, up to a total of four years, for a total scholarship value of $40,000.
Dr. Wanda M. Austin STEM Scholarship
In awarding this invitation-only scholarship, Aerospace accepted applications from high school students recommended by their school counselors and principals. All applicants submitted a scholarship application along with an essay; letters of reference; proof of college acceptance; their high school transcript, and student aid report. The committee selected the winner based on their desire to pursue a STEM degree, financial need, academic performance, and leadership potential. Unanimously selected by the STEM steering committee, Arias is the first person in her family to attend college.
“We are extremely honored to award Heydy with our first scholarship. The Aerospace Corporation has always been dedicated to encouraging the next generation of engineers and scientists,” said Dr. Wanda Austin, Aerospace’s former president and CEO. “We have no doubt Heydy will use this endowment to further her college education.”
Many Firsts for 2016 STEM Scholarship Recipient
Arias faced significant academic challenges in her early educational career. A first-generation American, she worked diligently to learn English, and for a time was the only member of her immediate family to do so. Her subsequent fluency in Spanish and English enabled her parents and younger brother to overcome the cultural and linguistic barriers she once faced.
While at Montebello High School, Ms. Arias served as a tutor for her fellow students, and was involved in several school-based activities such as AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination, a college readiness program for any student motivated to attend a four-year university), the Spanish Club, and the Chicano Club. She was also a dedicated tennis player, in addition to organizing and volunteering for numerous community-based events such as 5K runs and city cleanup efforts.
“I am extremely honored that I was selected to be awarded with the Dr. Wanda M. Austin STEM Scholarship,” said Arias. “I can’t wait to use the scholarship for my education to support my career goal of becoming a math teacher.”
Arias is currently attending the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and with the help of the STEM Endowment scholarship, she is studying mathematics and education. The Aerospace Corporation is honored to be instrumental in Arias’ pursuit of success and the achievement of her dreams.