Incoming Freshman Garners Top Competitive Scholarship

SOCORRO, N.M. July 30, 2010 – An incoming New Mexico Tech freshman has been awarded a prestigious national scholarship from the Council of Great City Schools, ExxonMobil and the Harris Foundation.

Laura Montoya of Albuquerque is one of only four recipients of the $5,000 scholarship, which aims to promote education in science, technology, engineering or mathematics for urban students.

  Laura Montoya
   Sandia High grad and Tech freshman


Awarded by the Council of Great City Schools, the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Math and Science Scholarships encourage pursuit of high-tech careers. The award is named in honor of Dr. Bernard Harris Jr., the first African American to walk in space.

As a chemical engineering major, Ms. Montoya will start at the New Mexico Tech next month. A graduate of Sandia High School, she was active in Science Olympiad, the Chemistry Club and Science Fair. She also completed a student internship at Sandia National Laboratory and was vice president of the Key Club.

The awards are given annually to four students, two African American and two Hispanics attending one of the largest urban school districts in America, to encourage their pursuit of technology-related degrees.

The scholarships are named after former NASA astronaut, Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr., who came from humble beginnings to become the first African American to walk in space, a physician and businessman. The winners were selected from more than 400 applicants and are being awarded on their academic successes and future plans as well as their leadership and civic responsibility. 

“ExxonMobil is pleased to join with the Council of the Great City Schools to create these scholarships to honor Dr. Harris and his legacy as a positive role model,” said ExxonMobil Foundation president Suzanne McCarron. “By recognizing these bright students, we are helping to pave the way for young people to discover that math and science are the keys to their future.”

The other winners are Sarah Edris from Dallas, Leangelo Hall from Homestead, Fla., and Anthony Miller from Lutz, Fla. 

"We are proud of the winners of this highly competitive scholarship program," said Council Executive Director Michael Casserly. "These young men and women will be able to become the leaders and innovators of tomorrow thanks to the generous support of ExxonMobil and the encouragement of Dr. Harris.”

The Council of the Great City Schools is the only national organization exclusively representing the needs of urban public schools. Composed of 65 large city school districts, its mission is to promote the cause of urban schools and to advocate for inner-city students through legislation, research and media relations.

– NMT –