Announcing the Milken Scholars Class of 2015

Published 07/24/2017 in Program Updates
Written 07/24/2017

We are pleased to announce our newest class of Milken Scholars; twenty-nine outstanding students from Washington D.C., New York City, and Los Angeles County, each of whom possesses the character, leadership, and academic achievement that exemplify our program motto: Lifelong Leaders for a Better World.

We are pleased to announce our newest class of Milken Scholars; twenty-nine outstanding students from Washington D.C., New York City, and Los Angeles County, each of whom possesses the character, leadership, and academic achievement that exemplify our program motto: Lifelong Leaders for a Better World.

A record number of high schools participated in the 2015 Milken Scholars Selections Process. We received nearly 1,000 nominations from over 200 high schools combined.

We are honored to have high school counselors, college advisors, and other educators from so many top public, private, and parochial schools take the time to recommend so many worthy candidates. The process of choosing the finalists and the eventual scholarship recipients was extremely difficult given how much potential all of our applicants have already demonstrated at such a young age.

However, twenty-nine of these recent high school graduates stood out and we are excited to welcome them to the Milken Scholars family and we look forward to doing all that we can to support them as they embark on the next step toward reaching their goals.

The Milken Scholars Program is a joint initiative of the Milken Institute and the Milken Family Foundation. The uniqueness of the Milken Scholars' opportunity lies in the ongoing mentoring, assistance with internships, opportunities for community service, and lifetime access to a wide range of resources throughout their academic and professional careers.

Our 2015 Milken Scholars from Washington D.C. are:

Antonia Alakija is a National Merit Commended Student, AP Scholar, National Achievement Finalist, and achieved National Spanish Exam Gold at National Cathedral High School. While in high school, Antonia had extensive international travel for service trips and editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. She will attend Penn in the fall, where she plans on studying business at Wharton and health policy. She is interested in medical school.

Anthonya James was chosen for the OSSE Summer Scholarship Program at Stanford, earned 1st Place DC Urban Debate League and is Valedictorian at Thurgood Marshall Academy. She was on the debate team and president of the Student Government Association. Anthonya will attend UCLA in the fall, where she will study US History. After college, she is interested in attending law school to be a criminal defense lawyer.

Alisha Jennings-Olowosuko is a QuestBridge Finalist, member of National Honor Society, and achieved National Spanish Exam Silver at Benjamin Banneker High School. She worked at the Federal Trade commission and the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Institute, and was a mentor at Girls, Inc., instilling confidence and ambition among young women. Alisha plans to attend University of Michigan in the fall, where she will study business.

Julián Nelson is a member National Honor Society and National Society of High School Scholars, earned the Harvard Book Prize and was Valedictorian at Archbishop Carroll High School. While in high school, he was a scholar/athlete and participated in the food drive at school where he was recognized with the “tin can” award. Julian plans to attend Carnegie Mellon in the fall, where he will study computer engineering.

Alexis Vivar was selected to the National Honor Society, National French Honor Society, and Mu Alpha Theta, and earned National Latin Exam Silver while at Benjamin Banneker High School. He was a leader in SMART, an organization that aims to increase opportunities for immigrants and vice president of the InvenTeam, designing robotics for competition and applied use. Alexis will attend MIT in the fall and study mechanical engineering.

We would like to acknowledge Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies for its generous support of our Washington D.C. Scholars

For more information about the Class of 2015 Milken Scholars from Washington D.C., please visit the Milken Family Foundation Newsroom.

 

Our 2015 Milken Scholars from New York City are:

Frank Aguilar was a National Merit Commended Scholar at Regis High School. Frank volunteered at The Metropolitan Hospital Center-Pediatrics Clinic and also worked at a New York Blood Center. He will attend Penn in the fall to study bio basis of behavior and neuroscience for a career as a doctor.

John Alvarez was a member of Arista National Honor Society and an AP Scholar at Benjamin Cardozo High School. John volunteered at North Shore University Hospital in the cardiology unit. He will enter Cornell this fall, where he plans on studying biology for a career in medicine and public health.

Chase Lin was a member of Arista National Honor Society and an AP Scholar at Benjamin Cardozo High School. He was the President of the Key Club and Future Business Leaders. Chase plays seven musical instruments and speaks four languages. This fall, he will study business at NYU.

Michael McAloon was a National Merit Commended Scholar and an AP Scholar at Poly Prep Country Day School. Michael was a New York Stock Exchange Intern for two summers. He will attend Duke in the fall to study international studies and management for a career in international business and finance.

Gladys Obaji was a member of Arista National Honor Society and an AP Scholar at Queens High School for the Sciences at York College. Gladys shadowed health professionals at NYU School of Medicine as a High School Fellow. She will attend Sophie Davis to study medicine for a career as a primary care physician.

Ariel Sanchez was a National Merit Commended Scholar and an AP Scholar with Honor at Regis High School. Ariel was President of the Science Olympiad team that placed sixth in the regional competition. He will attend Yale this fall to study molecular, cellular and developmental biology, and philosophy for a career as a doctor.

Moie Uesugi placed first in the Marie Wanek Essay Prize for the Mid-Atlantic Region of The Association for Asian Studies during her studies at Bard Early College High School Queens. Moie co-founded the school's Girls Who Code club. She will attend Brown in the fall to study computer science and English.

Simrankaur Wahan was a member of Arista National Honor Society, and Archon Honor Society at Townsend Harris High School. Simrankaur was copy editor on the school’s newspaper and editor of Quantum Cat Science Newspaper. She will attend Columbia in the fall to study biochemistry for a career in dentistry.

For more information about the Class of 2015 Milken Scholars from New York City, please visit the Milken Family Foundation Newsroom.

 

Our 2015 Milken Scholars from Los Angeles County are:

Milla Anderson was the Salutatorian at Bell High School and a National Merit Commended Scholar. Milla was chosen among hundreds of applicants for the Young Senators Program, working with a state senator and volunteering for political meetings and events. She will attend Dartmouth in the fall to study political science.

Richard Ballena graduated from Highland High School and is a QuestBridge College Prep Scholar. In school, he was the founder and president of Hero Club (Helping Everyone Reach Out) that recruited students and community members to plan service events including a prom for special education students, building a garden and singing at hospitals. In the fall, he will attend Pomona College to study neuroscience.

Michael Chang graduated from Los Altos High School and is a National AP Scholar and National Merit Semifinalist. He was the founder and president of the American Red Cross Club at his school, coordinating various service events and has also volunteered at the UCLA Medical Center. He is attending Berkeley in the fall to study molecular and cellular biology.

Alyssa Chiang graduated from Granada Hills Charter High School and is a National Merit Semifinalist and an AP Scholar with Distinction. While in school, she was a member of the Academic Decathlon team and a president of the National Honor Society, leading various service opportunities. In the fall, she will be attending the University of California, San Diego to study biomedical engineering.

Susan Chor is the Valedictorian of Highland High School and a National Merit Commended Scholar. In school, she was chair of the CA-NV-HI Key Club district and volunteered over 300 service hours as the vice president of the school’s Key Club. She will attend Penn in the fall to study biochemistry.

Kayla Gonzalez is the Valedictorian of James Monroe High School. In school, she was the president of the Speech and Debate Club, captain of the Mock Trial Club and as president of Key Club, helped reinstate the club by tripling membership and quadrupling service hours. She will attend Vassar in the fall to study English.

Eli Gramajo graduated from Downtown Magnet High School as an AP Scholar with Distinction and a Coca-Cola Semifinalist. In high school, he was a leader in STAKE (Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement) and participated in undercover activities with law enforcement. He is attending Princeton in the fall to study philosophy and sociology.

Irene Kim graduated from Marymount High School with a National Merit Commendation and as an AP Scholar with Honor. While in school, she was a student reporter for the Korea Times and a writer and Student life editor for the school newspaper, and founded Do Something.org to engage the community in socio-economic issues. In the fall, she will attend Stanford to study international relations.

Gerardo Lira is the Valedictorian at North Hollywood High School and a National Hispanic Scholar and an AP Scholar with Distinction. In school, he was the captain of the soccer team and participated in service events for Interact and Key Clubs. He is attending Carnegie Mellon in the fall to study biomedical engineering.

Brian Matusovsky graduated from Santa Monica High School and is a QuestBridge Match Finalist, a National Merit Semifinalist and an AP Scholar with Honor. While in school, he was the president of the Associated Student Body and interned in a neuroscience laboratory shadowing a nephrologist to get a deeper understanding of the human brain. In the fall, he is attending Yale to study biology and cognitive science.

Christian Mendez is the Valedictorian at Franklin High School. While in school, he was the founder and secretary of Generation Green, an environmental club partnering with the National Forestry Service to provide outdoor experiences for underserved urban youth. He will attend Yale in the fall to study chemistry.

Kevin Ou graduated from Temple City High School and is a National Merit Commended and AP Scholar with Distinction. In school he was the co-founder of Pre-med Society, to help students explore the field of medicine and raise awareness in the community of health issues. In the fall, he will attend Yale to study biomedical engineering.

Joyce Ou graduated from Glen A. Wilson High School and is a National Merit Semifinalist and a National AP Scholar. While in school, she was the founder and editor-in-chief of Givology online magazine, which aims to address educational opportunities in impoverished countries. She will attend Yale in the fall to study molecular and cellular biology and global studies.

Debbie Park graduated from Torrance High School and is an AP Scholar with Distinction as well as a National Merit Semifinalist. In school, she was selected as the student representative on the Torrance Youth Council which promotes volunteerism among youth and on the advisory board for the City Council. In the fall, she will attend Harvard to study government.

Michelle Park is the Salutatorian at Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School and a National Merit Commended Scholar. While in school, she interned at USC Cancer Research Lab and at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This fall, she will attend Stanford to study biomedical computation.

Ted Zhu is the Valedictorian at Walnut High School. While in school, he did research at the City of Hope Summer Academy and had an internship at the CA Institute of Regenerative Medicine. He will attend Harvard in the fall to study biomedical engineering and computer science.