Fifteen Exceptional Milken Scholars Selected from Los Angeles County High Schools

Published 07/10/2018 in Program Updates
Written 07/10/2018

Fifteen Exceptional Milken Scholars Selected from

Los Angeles County High Schools 


Contact: Lynne Russo: (818) 903-6079 (cell);


The Scholarship Program Provides a $10,000 Cash Prize Plus a Lifetime of Mentoring and Resources

SANTA MONICA, Calif., (July 9, 2018)—The Milken Scholars, a joint initiative of the Milken Institute and the Milken Family Foundation, has selected fifteen recent high school graduates from Los Angeles County for its 2018 scholarship program after a rigorous nomination, application and interview process. Open to college-bound high school seniors in Los Angeles County, New York City and Washington, D.C., Milken Scholars are selected based on academic performance, community service, leadership and their ability to persevere in the face of personal challenges.

 The 2018 Los Angeles County Milken Scholars are:

  • Zachary Alvarez, North Hollywood High (Yale)
  • Felix Bulwa, North Hollywood High School (Harvard)
  • Amira Chowdhury, Herbert Hoover High School (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Vanessa Felix, Animo Inglewood Charter High School (Stanford University)
  • Justin Hogenauer, Whitney High School (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Hansub Kim, North Hollywood High School (Stanford University)
    • Jae Yi (Jamie) Kim, Beverly Hills High School (Princeton University)
    • Benjamin Levy, Valley Torah High School (Harvard)
    • Claire Muscat, Village Christian Schools (Stanford University)
    • Isabel Musselman, Culver City High School (Harvard)
    • Adam Ng, Walnut High School (University of California, Berkeley)
    • Richard Ruan, West High School (University of California, Berkeley)
    • Nicole Schreiber, Brentwood High School (University of Pennsylvania)
    • Armando Torres, Paramount High School (Stanford University)
    • Kimberly Wenceslao, Firebaugh High School (Yale)


“In the nearly three decades since Lori and I cofounded the Milken Scholars Program, these leaders of tomorrow have consistently inspired us by their achievements, leadership and dedication to service,” said Milken Institute Chairman Mike Milken. “This year’s class of outstanding Los Angeles County Scholars is no exception. In welcoming them to the Milken Scholars family, we are confident they can change the world.”

Mike and Lori Milken founded the Milken Scholars Program to promote and assist young people as they navigate the transitions from high school to college and from college to graduate school or the world of work. Recipients receive a $10,000 scholarship, but more importantly they gain a lifelong support system that includes ongoing career-related counseling, assistance in securing internships, opportunities for community service and a fund to assist their pursuit of post-undergraduate career goals.

The Los Angeles County Scholars will attend a four-day summit from July 26-29 in Los Angeles with over 100 Scholars including new recipients, undergraduates and alumni facilitators. The Los Angeles Scholars are:


Zachary Alvarez


As the captain of North Hollywood High School’s Academic Decathlon team, Zachary Alvarez has set records in several arenas. In competition, he led the team to a record number of medals, including four of his own plus an honorable mention. He visited dozens of classes extolling the virtues of AcaDeca and personally recruited students to round out the team, which received a record number of applicants because of his efforts. Tasked with finding a field trip destination for the group, Zachary set his sights on the prestigious Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, even though the distance made the logistics more complex. He made the arrangements, raised the necessary funds, and kept the destination secret from his teammates, happy to see the delight on their faces when he finally revealed the surprise.

A National AP Scholar and North Hollywood High’s valedictorian, Zachary was an expert witness for the Mock Trial team and treasurer for his graduating class. He held leadership roles in several service organizations, including treasurer of the Community Service Club and bulletin editor for the Key Club. As treasurer of Project Dew, Zachary helped collect more than a half-ton of supplies for Puerto Ricans in Action after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

Inspired by a children’s book listing U.S. presidents, Zachary originally aspired to a career in politics. Ironically, it was during a middle school Civics Academy field trip to attend President Obama’s second inauguration that he changed his plans. Zachary’s mother had cared for her sister as she battled cancer; his aunt’s death inspired Zachary to dedicate his life to understanding the disease.

Zachary will study molecular physics and biochemistry at Yale and plans a career in medical research.



Felix Bulwa


Felix Bulwa was 11 years old when he first attended Camp Bloomfield, a summer camp for blind children, as a “sighted buddy.” To help them understand the campers’ everyday experience, staffers blindfolded Felix and other seeing helpers one morning during breakfast and a round of “beep kickball.” The exercise inspired Felix to spend six summers at the camp; as a CIT (counselor in training), he led group activities, helped campers navigate the landscape, and face their fears on the rock-climbing wall.

A valedictorian of North Hollywood High School, Felix is a National AP Scholar and National Merit Finalist. As the parliamentarian for Youth and Government, a statewide program that models the California state legislature, Felix helped his 240-person delegation write and present bills and was recognized by the California State Assembly. When the Speech and Debate team lost its longtime coach, Felix served as captain and mentored his teammates in writing and presentation. He reached the state semi-finals and placed highly at competitions including the National Catholic Forensics League, Tri-County Forensics League, and Duke Moot Court, a national competition which simulates the Supreme Court with arguments on constitutional law.

An accomplished writer, Felix edited and wrote submissions for the school literary magazine and tutored younger students after school and on weekends. He competed on North Hollywood High’s varsity soccer and cross-country teams and served as assistant coach for his younger brother’s soccer team. Felix was co-president of the Animal Rescue Club and volunteered to walk dogs and clean kennels for Best Friends Los Angeles, a local animal shelter.

Felix will study government, sociology and linguistics at Harvard and plans a career as a lawyer.



Amira Chowdhury

University of Pennsylvania

Amira Chowdhury, a graduate of Herbert Hoover High School (HHS) in Glendale, has worked hard to increase educational opportunities for her peers. As president of the Distinguished Scholars Academy, Amira promoted college and career opportunities and raised funds to allow students to visit colleges and shadow local professionals. She served as a founding member of the nonprofit Peerlift, promoting educational equity by connecting students around the country with college resources and higher learning opportunities. Amira was the elected student board member of the Board of Education for Glendale Unified School District and serves more than 26,000 students across its 31 schools, collaborating on educational policy and enrichment programs.

Amira is an AP Scholar with Distinction, QuestBridge National College Match Finalist, QuestBridge College Prep Scholar, Coca-Cola Scholar, Jack Kent Cooke Scholar, Elks Most Valuable Scholar, Burger King Scholar, USC Bovard Scholar and Yale Young Global Scholar. As president of the Associated Student Body (ASB), she and her cabinet initiated the “Teacher of the Month” program to recognize HHS educators and staff. Amira founded the Political Club to foster discussions of sociopolitical issues and involve students in local and state political campaigns. She interned for U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, led hundreds of volunteers in phone and door-knocking campaigns as a deputy field organizer for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and registered new citizens of Hispanic, Pakistani and Indian descent to vote. Amira was recognized by California State Assembly member Laura Friedman for her work supporting the California Disclosure Act, and by California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson for representing California at the 55th Annual U.S. Senate Youth Program.

Amira will study philosophy, politics and international affairs at the University of Pennsylvania and plans a career in public service.



Vanessa Felix

Stanford University

A few years ago, Vanessa Felix noticed an uptick in “girl drama” and social media conflicts at Animo Inglewood Charter High School (AICHS). Instead of chalking it up to typical teenager behavior, Vanessa decided to do something about it. She founded the Womxn Empowerment Club to create a safe, confidential community beyond cliques, where the school’s young women talked about societal expectations and shared their own personal gender-related experiences. To get the club off the ground, Vanessa researched similar groups, brainstormed with her peers, organized weekly presentations, and raised funds to collect feminine hygiene products for a nearby women’s shelter. The club is achieving its goal of empowering girls: Once-shy students now volunteer to lead discussions, refer to club topics in class, and feel prepared to confront gender issues beyond high school.

The valedictorian at AICHS, Vanessa is an AP Scholar with Honor. As treasurer and then president of the student council, she ordered supplies to stock the student store, organized fundraising events and committees, delivered presentations to administrators to secure approval for student activities, and organized the school’s first spring dance. Vanessa captained the AICHS robotics team, researching design improvements, facilitating discussions about design and strategy, and building, wiring and coding robots for the annual Green Dot Robotics Competition. She participated in the school’s Animo Science Conference and served as a tour guide for important visitors and donors around AICHS as a student ambassador. Vanessa tutored classmates in geometry, chemistry and AP Calculus and spent weekends preparing for college with Minds Matter of Los Angeles, through which she attended academic summer programs at Brown and Stanford Universities.

Vanessa will study human biology at Stanford and plans a career in anesthesiology.



Justin Hogenauer

University of California, Berkeley

Last year, Justin Hogenauer traveled to South Africa with Earthwatch Institute to study the conservation of endangered rhinos facing threats from poachers. The small group of students and scientists ran dozens of experiments, including recording vigilance behavior, tracking spatial distributions and collecting dung. As vice president of the Ecology and Wildlife Club at Whitney High School in Cerritos, Justin researched, planned and built two drought-tolerant and produce gardens, including coordinating landscaping proposals and creating a compost system. He founded Eco-Education, a student-run science education program, designing interactive dart frog vivariums and self-sufficient freshwater aquariums for elementary classrooms. An aspiring environmental scientist, Justin spent his childhood exploring the wilderness with his family; his late father earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first person to visit every national park in the U.S.

An AP Scholar with Distinction, Justin served two years as president of the California Scholarship Federation (CSF), leading meetings, arranging scholarships and organizing beach cleanups; under his leadership, CSF membership increased 25%. He was vice president of the National Honor Society, program coordinator for the Big Buddy program, a member of the Science and French National Honor Societies, and a National Society of High School Scholars Ambassador. Justin competed on the varsity track and cross-country teams, broke his school’s record in the 800 meter race, and was named Athlete of the Year. As an intern at Boeing, he worked on experiments in ceramics testing and carbon fiber and plastic additive manufacturing, spending time in the groundwater remediation center, commercial airlines operations center and airplane “boneyard.”

Justin will study environmental science at the University of California, Berkeley and plans a career as an environmental advisor.


Hansub Kim

Stanford University

Hansub Kim loves science—and wants others to love it too. At North Hollywood High School, Hansub founded Project Magnify to engage at-risk communities in science and engineering. The group uses 3-D printing and open-source robotics and programming technology to create scientific equipment, including microscopes and self-replicating 3-D printers. Hansub also started the Science Research Club to help low-opportunity students conduct biology research; three members earned first-place prizes at the Los Angeles County Science Fair. He is an intern at DASH Systems, a drone delivery startup that made emergency supply airlifts to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Hansub is a National AP Scholar. He qualified for the USA Mathematical Olympiad and the American Invitational Mathematics Exam; received an honorable mention in microbiology at the Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair; and founded the Vermont branch of the Community Math Club. He collaborated with a professor at California State University Northridge on a presentation on open-source engineering of bioprinting and hydrogel technology at the Society for Neuroscience’s 47th annual conference in Washington, D.C. Hansub’s current research focuses on open-source engineering of a multi-material 3-D printer that can print stem cells, tissues and organisms.

An accomplished musician, Hansub won medals at the Seattle International Piano Competition and American Protege International Competition and made his violin debut at Carnegie Hall. He earned the President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award, the Award of Excellence from the National Unification Advisory Council of North Korean Refugees, and certificates of recognition from U.S. Representatives Ed Royce and Adam Schiff for his leadership in Support For All, an organization that delivers humanitarian aid to North Korean refugees.

Hansub will attend Stanford University and is considering a career in mechanical engineering, computer science and entrepreneurship.


Jae Yi (Jamie) Kim

Princeton University

Jae Yi (Jamie) Kim, a graduate of Beverly Hills High School, has made a priority of helping people share their stories. As co-editor of Highlights, the school newspaper, Jamie integrated multimedia content into the paper’s website and won awards at the Los Angeles Regional Write-Offs. With the HeartShare Club, Jamie led community art projects for Koreatown’s seniors and intellectually disabled adults, raising more than $10,000 to fund the program. She founded Color Seed, a nonprofit that helps disabled musicians build dexterity through art, raising funds to send the orchestra to South Korea to perform.

Jamie is an AP Scholar with Distinction, National Merit Finalist, QuestBridge National Match Finalist and College Prep Scholar, Gates Scholar, and a member of the National Honor Society and California Scholastic Federation. She made the honor roll of the National Scholastic Press Association, earned the President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award, was named Outstanding Student by the Korean American Scholarship Foundation, and co-captained the varsity swim team. As the first female Korean governor for her district of Interact, which plans service and social events for 72 Interact clubs around Los Angeles, Jamie organized holiday parties for low-income families and served meals on Skid Row.

An enthusiastic scientist, Jamie participated in the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine Summer Program to Advance Regenerative Medicine Knowledge (CIRM SPARK), investigating whether Lund human mesencephalic cells could be used to create a human model in vitro for Parkinson’s disease. Jamie also co-founded and co-captained her school’s Science Olympiad team, which competed in events ranging from herpetology and thermodynamics to anatomy and pathology.

Jamie will study neuroscience and Spanish at Princeton University and plans a career in medicine.


Benjamin Levy


For the past four summers, Benjamin Levy has worked as a computational biophysics intern in the Beckman Research Institute at City of Hope. He has performed cutting-edge pharmaceutical research alongside a team developing precision-targeted cancer drugs, using coding skills he started developing in elementary school. Benjamin’s research combined computational simulations with physical experiments to understand the inner workings of a prominent cancer-promoting protein and design drugs that target it; he also used this method to redesign a drug for type 1 diabetes, and designed a sophisticated machine learning model based on protein data in collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Benjamin, the valedictorian of Valley Torah High School (VTHS) in North Hollywood, is an AP Scholar with Honor and a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student. He was editor-in-chief of the The VTHS Howl, the school’s newspaper, which went from loosely managed to publishing high-quality content on a regular schedule under his leadership. Benjamin also started and served as Captain of the Debate Team, now a member of the National Speech and Debate Association. He founded the Tutoring Club to provide intensive help to struggling students, volunteers at his synagogue, and has taught karate to special needs children.

Benjamin has taken online courses on algorithms and data structures and participated in Battlecode, MIT's premier programming competition. He was a member of the Los Angeles Math Circle, a program of the math department at the University of California Los Angeles that meets weekly to work on complex math problems that showcase the beauty of mathematics and its applications.

Benjamin is interested in studying computer science, literature and biophysics at Harvard after a gap year in Israel. He is considering a career in scientific research.


Claire Muscat

Stanford University

Claire Muscat, the salutatorian at Village Christian Schools in Sun Valley, is steeped in science. As an intern in the Bioengineering Bootcamp at the Stanford Institutes of Medical Research, Claire prototyped a device designed to prevent nerve damage during orthopedic surgery. She was the student ambassador for Village Christian’s STEM Concentration, serving as a liaison for guest speakers. With the Engineering Club, Claire and her team won several awards at the JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) Invention Challenge, an engineering competition. Claire led a team of peers to develop an app to alleviate long cafeteria lines; though she had no formal coding training, Claire set up videoconferences with experts to help the group troubleshoot and meet its deadline.

An AP Scholar with Distinction, Claire won the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Award and Gordon College’s Faithful Leadership Book Award. She was president of the National Honor Society, which raised money to fund scholarships for senior members. When Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast, Claire raised almost $2,000 in one day to buy backpacks and supplies for an underserved school that had been devastated by the storm. She captained the school’s varsity track and cross-country teams and led the alto section of the concert choir.

Claire works with kindergarten and first-grade students at her church and served as a senior leader for Servant Leadership, a class that distributes food in at-risk neighborhoods. A Girl Scout since first grade and president of her troop, Claire led community service projects, participated in wilderness survival and mariner competitions, and is working towards her Gold Award, the Girl Scouts’ highest honor.

Claire will study bioengineering at Stanford and is considering a career in engineering, pharmacology, chemistry or criminology.


Isabel Musselman


Isabel Musselman was taking part in the California YMCA Youth & Government conference, and the conversation around her was distressing. The statewide model legislature program was plagued by polarization and dominated by partisanship, echoing the country’s larger political climate. To spur action instead of rhetoric, Isabel and a group of peers successfully proposed a new program area called Issues and Activism, focusing on civic engagement and action-oriented agendas. As one of six chairs of the new party, Isabel endorsed bills, authored legislation and presided over 500-person debate sessions. She was a fundraising team captain for the Future Leaders division YMCA’s Annual Support Campaign and was appointed to the organization’s Speakers’ Bureau.

The valedictorian at Culver City High School, Isabel is an AP Scholar with Distinction and a National Merit Commended Scholar. She was a member of the California Scholarship Federation and a semifinalist for the California High School Speech Association. The president and captain of the Speech and Debate team, Isabel placed 11th in the state, in addition to coaching teammates in debate technique, facilitating meetings and organizing team and league events. A fluent Spanish speaker who has studied abroad and earned California’s State Seal of Biliteracy, Isabel is working to create a local Spanish debate league.

Isabel captained the varsity tennis and lacrosse teams and tutored academically disqualified athletes to help them regain their eligibility to compete. She coordinated engineering competitions as treasurer of MESA (Math Engineering Science Achievement), led elementary schoolers in treasure hunts and dodgeball as a counselor at Temple Akiba Day Camp, and performs original music as the drummer for The Damnsels, an all-female punk rock band.

Isabel will study cognitive science at Harvard and plans a career in psychology.


Adam Ng

University of California, Berkeley

Adam Ng wants to change lives—and he’s honing his business skills now in preparation. As the CEO of For All Mankind, a nonprofit focused on human rights violations, Adam partnered with Save the Children and CARE Action! to raise funds for children with disabilities in developing countries. At a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) National Leadership Conference, Adam hosted a “Shark Tank” workshop where more than 150 students presented ideas for inventions to help the environment. As the international marketing director for Rotary’s Interact District 5300, he partnered with international organizations like SolarAid and volunteered at city festivals, charity dinners and the Relay For Life.

A graduate of Walnut High School, Adam is a Regents Scholar, AP Scholar with Distinction, Coca-Cola Scholar semifinalist and Elks National Scholar semifinalist. He served as FBLA’s California vice president and financial coordinator on the National Secretary’s Council, increasing outreach to underserved populations and creating informational videos for members and advisers. The conference captain of Walnut’s Model United Nations team, Adam assigned committees, countries and global issues to his teammates; he was named Best Delegate at the Bruin Model U.N. conference. He was a semifinalist in California’s Stanley Mosk Courthouse Competition and took third place in the Health Occupations Students of America State Leadership Conference.

As an intern for the Congressional Leadership Fund, Adam planned events, hosted coalition outreach activities, collected voter contact information in California’s 39th district, and was featured in a national promotional video. He worked in a local law office, attending deposition meetings and helping to organize and document cases.

Adam will study in the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and hopes to create and lead his own nonprofit organization.


Richard Ruan

University of California, Berkeley

Every other month since eighth grade, Richard Ruan has taught origami at Torrance’s Madrona Marsh Preserve. He started the two-hour classes in eighth grade to share his passion for the ancient paper-folding art; now he

has regulars of all ages who rarely miss a class. Richard has hosted an origami booth at the city’s Cherry Blossom Festival and folded origami on television. The geometric patterns echo Richard’s interest in science—for example, the way space systems engineers pack satellites into rockets, or the zippered tubes used in structural engineering. Origami also fed Richard’s interest in bioengineering research: As an intern at Sucov Lab at the University of Southern California, Richard investigated the development of kidney vascular networks in mouse embryos.

Richard, the valedictorian of West High School, is a Regents Scholar, AP Scholar with Distinction, and National Merit Scholarship Commended Student. He was president of the Science Olympiad and competed in ecology, optics, fossils and plate tectonics, earning first place in Los Angeles and 10th in the state. Richard was president of the Math Club and founded West High’s chapter of Mu Alpha Theta, the national math honor society, competing in the Bay Math League, American Mathematics Competitions, Log1 Contest and Rocket City Math League.

Richard was elected county clerk at the Boys State conference in Sacramento and served as historian for the Torrance City Council’s advisory board for youth matters, a group that hosted current events debates and other events for high school students. Richard coordinated the teaching assistants at the Torrance Chinese School and earned the President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award.

Richard will study bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley and plans a career in stem cell research and tissue engineering.


Nicole Schreiber

University of Pennsylvania

Nicole Schreiber has a dual interest in business and technology. After taking AP Computer Science as a freshman, she was shocked by the lack of girls in her class and was inspired to help more girls pursue the subject. Nicole has taken the most computer science classes in the history of Brentwood School, exploring interests from cybersecurity to financial modeling, and won regional and national awards from the National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT). For the past two years Nicole led a team to run Girls Code IT, a computer science camp for girls, using $6,000 in grants from AspireIT to offer scholarships for daughters of veterans. Nicole was the co-president of Brentwood’s STEAM Day planning committee, directing computer science activities for the citywide event.

Nicole is an AP Scholar with Distinction and a QuestBridge College Prep Scholar. After studying financial modeling at the Expert DOJO Startup Academy, Nicole now helps companies balance technology and finance needs. She developed a school-based babysitting app and was a financial analyst intern with Tech Coast Angels, working on deep market analysis alongside MBA students. Nicole also managed a five-person social media team for online clothing retailer Fitlogic. In a case study competition sponsored by the University of California, Los Angeles’s Anderson School of Management and Bain & Company, Nicole led the winning team in developing a new business model for United Way. In addition to her academic and extracurricular pursuits, Nicole captained Brentwood’s varsity tennis team and teaches tennis at the school’s summer camp.

Nicole will study computer science, business and economics at the University of Pennsylvania and is considering a career in software engineering or finance.


Armando Torres

Stanford University

Armando Torres makes a priority of serving as a positive role model for younger boys. As a counselor at YMCA Camp Oakes in Big Bear, Armando lived and worked with troubled elementary and middle school students—some of whom had trouble following the camp’s rules. Armando discovered that sharing stories of his own family challenges helped him forge a deep connection of friendship and respect with his campers. By the end of the session, Cabin 17 had earned the Cleanest Cabin Award and the camp’s coveted Spirit Stick.

Armando, a graduate of Paramount High School, is a Gates Scholar and an AP Scholar with Distinction. He served as president of Paramount’s ASB student government and his class, which raised more than $7,000 for its 1,200 students. Armando captained Paramount’s varsity soccer team, ranked first in the state and fourth in the nation. As a mentor in Paramount’s STAR after-school program, he helped younger students with homework and leadership skills. Armando, who arrived in the U.S. from Mexico in fifth grade knowing only the English he had learned from watching “Dora the Explorer,” now hosts after-school tutoring groups for non-English speakers.

With Paramount’s Rotary Interact Club, Armando has painted over graffiti-covered walls and cleaned up local streets and parks. He was a founder of the Raices Unidas Club, originally named the Xicano Club; the organization originally aimed to teach Mexican-American students about their heritage but broadened its mission to celebrate other cultures after members realized they wanted to do more to unify the school’s diverse population. The club earned recognition from California State Senator Ricardo Lara.

Armando will study chemistry and philosophy at Stanford University and plans a career as a lawyer.


Kimberly Wenceslao


Kimberly Wenceslao has worked hard to prepare herself for college and beyond—and she is equally committed to helping her peers do the same. As president of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Club at Lynwood’s Firebaugh High School (FHS), Kimberly raised funds for seniors to visit colleges in northern California and led tutoring for the school’s rigorous IB courses. She held weekly information sessions to educate her classmates about college fly-in programs, financial aid and application strategies, reviewing countless applications and essays from her peers.

Kimberly is a QuestBridge National College Match recipient and a QuestBridge College Prep Scholar. She was treasurer of the National Honor Society and cited by the National Hispanic Recognition Program. With the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, Kimberly has studied cognitive psychology at Skidmore College, epidemiology at Princeton and civic leadership at Johns Hopkins. She researched dissociative identity disorder as a Yale Young Global Scholar and studied California’s intertidal chemistry in the Scripps College Academy.

As a stakeholder for Lynwood’s District Local Control and Accountability Planning committee, and despite state budget cuts due to the district’s unanimous decision to remain a safe haven for DACA students, Kimberly successfully advocated for using state funds to increase Advanced Placement and IB classes; the College Board named Lynwood AP District of the Year in 2017. Kimberly is active in her school’s drama program and has written and directed plays, as well as building props, designing costumes, and mentoring younger students for the Bridge Theater Project. She earned the California Educational Theatre Association award for outstanding performance in “Harvest Moon,” a play highlighting the struggle of Mexican workers.

Kimberly will study ethnicity, race and migration at Yale and is planning a career as a lawyer.


About the Milken Scholars

Michael and Lori Milken founded the Milken Scholars in 1989 to honor exceptional young men and women who have demonstrated the potential to make a profound difference in the world. Scholars are chosen while high school seniors on the basis of distinguished academic performance, school and community service, leadership, and evidence of having overcome personal and social obstacles. Milken Scholars receive financial assistance plus a strong support system of resources and networks during their academic and professional careers.

As of 2018, more than 400 Milken Scholars have been selected from over 175 high schools in Los Angeles County, New York City and Washington, D.C. Milken Scholars embody a variety of ages, backgrounds, and academic and professional interests, and represent elite colleges and universities in the country. Nearly one-third were born outside the United States and three-quarters have parents originating from 67 countries. Nearly half were the first in their family to attend college.

Throughout their college careers, Scholars are in regular communication with Scholars staff and each other. They meet with Foundation staff and mentors during campus visits and special events, including an annual Summit that provides guidance and insights through speakers, panels and activities. These resources create a setting that propels these exceptional youth into a position where they can achieve their personal, academic and professional goals and, in the process, become lifelong leaders for a better world.

For more information about the Milken Scholars Program, visit