Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber 2021 Scholarship Award Winners

Academic Awards 

Croton-Harmon H.S.
Maya Gardos
Yale University 
I am fascinated by literature, political science, and the relationship between them. In a restless world that leaves me with countless questions, books are my meditation. They allowed me to discover stories and knowledge on my own terms, gifting me independence. They are perfectly imperfect microcosms of humanity. My interest in political science gradually grew throughout middle school, bursting into full force in high school when I became involved with Model UN and my school’s student congress. The way different societies fashion and wield tools of power captivates me. 

Hendrick Hudson H.S. 
Zoe Rose
Binghamton University 
Throughout my time in high school, I’ve found the problem-solving aspects of science to be really stimulating. Today, one of the most important issues we are facing in the field of science is the harmful human impact on the environment. I will be majoring in Biochemistry and hope to double major in Environmental Studies. During college and beyond, I hope to learn how to make a difference to combat the effects of climate change and make the world a more sustainable place. 

Peekskill H.S. 
Jilda Pauta
Marist College 
As a first generation college student, I am honored to get a college education. I am the daughter of parents that immigrated to this country in search for a better future for their children. As I grew up, I saw the struggles my parents underwent to pay the bills and provide for the family. Seeing this made me want to work hard. I have challenged myself academically by maintaining a 4.0 grade point average while taking five college courses my senior year. I am proud to stand as Peekskill High’s Salutatorian. 

Walter Panas H.S.
Vaishali Miriyagalla
Bowdoin College 
My true passion lies in the area where math and physics intertwine with psychology: Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI must address the needs and wants of everyday individuals while still maintaining harmony within the broader society. Those entering this field will need a background in computer systems and technology, but also a deeper understanding of ethics and humanity. To prepare myself for a career that contributes to the field of AI, I plan to first get a foundational undergraduate education that touches on all these diverse areas in a liberal arts institution before I work towards a Masters.  

Lakeland H.S.
Lawrence Merriam
Pace University 
I plan to major in business with an emphasis on administration or marketing and a minor in communications. Most likely I will go to graduate school for a Masters in Business Administration. Regardless of the career I choose, I sincerely hope to be in a profession that I love and am passionate about. I love to work in a hands-on environment and to be part of a group. Optimally, I would love to look back on my life one day and know that I used my talents and capabilities towards making a difference in people’s lives.  

Putnam Valley H.S.
Mia Leone 
Rochester Institute of Technology  

I will pursue an accelerated BS/MS engineering degree. I am interested in Environmental Engineering and Packaging Science and would love to create sustainable packaging for NASA or SpaceX. I hope to be part of a new generation that will make the engineering workforce more diverse and inclusive of women. I plan to join the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). I hope to study abroad as this opportunity would allow me to learn about the manner in which other countries approach engineering.  

Vocational Awards  

Croton Harmon H.S.
Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES
Nancy Sun
SUNY Stonybrook
When I was young, my parents told me stories of healthcare in rural China. There weren’t many licensed medical professionals and it was too expensive to seek care in the industrialized cities. It resulted in the death of many patients. I was inspired to become a healthcare provider because I wanted to have the ability to know that I had a role in helping someone recover. Everyone deserves the same access to healthcare. My desire is to pursue a career as a physician’s assistant as I would have a more direct impact on the patient’s care.  

Hendrick Hudson H.S.
Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES 
Betsabe Bonilla Farfan
Hunter College  

In high school, I realized the nursing profession is something I desire. I know I will enjoy taking care of people and making them happy, and also be able to take care of the people I love and provide them the care they need. Nursing is more than just examining how the patient is physically. It is also being able to interact with them and see how their emotional state is. This path will be challenging but I can confidently say that I have found my gift and my purpose in life.  



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