Four Fairfax High School seniors received Irene Epstein Memorial Scholarships, each worth $2,500, at an awards dinner on May 21.
The scholarships are named after the late wife of George Epstein, a retired aerospace engineer who lives in the Fairfax District. They are awarded by the International Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE), a professional organization of which Epstein is a member. The scholarship recipients were Steven Lee, Jessica Saucedo, Luis Mejia Ojeda and Marquez Balingit.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Irene Epstein Memorial Scholarships, which are awarded to Fairfax High School students who are pursuing careers in the engineering or medical fields. Irene Epstein was an ardent supporter of education, and SAMPE created the scholarships in her memory in 2006 to help students attend college.
“These students are some of the brightest in their class,” Epstein said. “We are happy to help them with their education and are proud to present the scholarships.”
Lee will graduate as the top student in the class of 2016 with a 4.0 GPA. He plans to study human biology at the University of Southern California and his goal is to become a cardiologist.
Lee started Fairfax High School’s Net Project, a community service club focused on fighting malaria in Africa. The club is sponsored by the global humanitarian organization Good Neighbors. Lee also participates in a USC program on stem cell research. On Sundays, he volunteers at the Melrose Trading Post, a weekly outdoor market that raises money for Fairfax High School programs.
Saucedo has a 3.92 GPA, ranking her in the top 5 percent of her class. She will attend the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and plans to become a doctor.
Saucedo has played clarinet in the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) for nine years and is a member of the YOLA Mentor Program. She credits her parents as her inspiration and for encouraging her to pursue higher education and a medical career.
Ojeda is also in the top 5 percent of the 2016 graduating class with a 4.0 GPA. He plans to attend the University of California, Santa Barbara and major in mathematical science.
Ojeda received an award of excellence from the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists and is a member of the school’s robotics club, debate team and architecture, construction and engineering club, as well as the Net Project. He also volunteers helping young children with homework.
Balingit has a near 4.0 GPA and ranks in the top 5 percent of the graduating class. He plans to attend UCSD and major in nano-engineering.
As a sophomore, Balingit joined the robotics club and designed and built competitive robots. He is currently co-president of the club. Balingit is also organizing a chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers at the school.
In addition to the scholarship awardees, SAMPE presented $1,000 grants to two Fairfax High School seniors to cover the cost of college books. The recipients are Paul Moreno-Santiago, who plans to attend the University of California, Los Angeles; and Byron Corado, who will attend UCSD and plans to study biology or microbiology with the goal of becoming a pathologist.
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