Posts Tagged ‘chemistry’

Isaias Joshua Suarez wants to help the progression of society through scientific research. The recipient of a $3,000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship, he has entered Washington University in St. Louis where he intends to pursue majors in both Chemistry and Computer Science. Isaias explains, “The experiments carried out with the Large Hadron Collider, solid state drives in computers, and GPS technology are all modern advancements made possible through the knowledge and passion of scientific researchers. I want to be part of innovations of these types, contributing towards the progress of society by improving people’s lives. With hard work and dedication, I will be able to enter the workforce and academia allowing me to develop new systems and technologies that will benefit my community.”

Though he was Valedictorian of his high school class, Isaias wanted to prepare for the challenges of college.  He completed the Summer Academic Program at WUSTL, earning college credits while familiarizing himself with the campus. In addition to his academics, he has qualified as a radio host for the campus station, KWUR, and volunteers through music based community service. Isaias reports that his current schedule is, “a bit hectic, but manageable.”

To keep him grounded and focused during the most hectic times, Isaias reminds himself of his family values. “I learned from my parents the importance of working at my full potential. My ethics, involvements and the desire to succeed are results of my Asian American heritage, a heritage that is instilled so deeply into me that I cannot imagine what type of person I would be without it. The United States is a place that is known for being the home of immigrants from many different countries. My parents are immigrants from the Philippines. They came to this country in search of greater opportunities that they could not find back in the Philippines. As the child of immigrants, being an Asian American is an integral part of who I am and a heavy influence on my future plans.”

Isaias’s parents, HMCS (SW) Isaias C. Suarez III, USN (Ret), and Cynthia Suarez have certainly done a fine job in raising their children. A few years ago, son Emmanuel Suarez received ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $4,000. In 2011, Emmanuel graduated Magna Sum Laude from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with degrees in Chemical Engineering and Mathematics.

ThanksUSA is proud to support our military families and encourages you to support our mission this holiday season by making your tax-deductible contribution today. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors like the ESA Foundation and individuals like you, ThanksUSA awarded over 300 scholarships for the 2012-2013 academic year. Help us reach our goal of awarding 500 scholarships in 2013. Your donation will make a difference to students like Isaias:

“It is thanks to the ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship that I will be able to pursue my dream to become a researcher. To me, research is a way to give back to the community through science; a way to help out society. Without scholarships like this, the opportunity to attend such a prestigious university would not have been possible. Thank you very much for your generosity.”


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With the assistance of a $3,000 Blavatnik Family Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship, Air National Guard dependent Alyssa Brown has taken the first steps towards becoming a pediatric pulmonologist. As she finishes up her freshman year at Southern Utah University, Alyssa takes some time to speak about her exciting freshman year and why she is so determined to be a doctor.


When she was just five years old, Alyssa witnessed her two-year old sister suffer a near-fatal asthma attack while flying from New York to Utah. “Our flight had to be redirected to New Jersey so that she could receive basic medical treatment that was not available on the flight. As we were flying back to Utah, her condition worsened and she stopped breathing four separate times. During this stressful and dangerous time for my sister, I realized that I have asthma as well, along with numerous other people I know, and that we could be in similar situations at any time. It was then that I decided that I wanted to cure asthma so that I would never face the risk of losing my sister, or my father to asthma-related reasons again,” she explains.

The Brown Family

Alyssa is seeking a pre-medicine specialized degree in chemistry and has added minors in biology and anthropology. She mentions, “Undergraduate research, especially projects that I execute on my own with the assistance of a mentor, is critical to my ability of getting into Graduate School in the future.” Diving right in, Alyssa completed a number of research projects this past year including a Biomedical Ethics Survey, ecological diversity of Coal Creek and Rush Lake, and even predatory detection of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. Working with the Dean of Chemistry, Alyssa has already established research projects for next year.

Often times, college serves as the transitional period from childhood to adult life as many students face those unanticipated “sink or swim” moments. Alyssa faced such a challenge when her residence hall was closed during her first midterms. She had to endure the added expense and time of moving while maintaining her grades. She quickly realized that in high-stress situations, she has the strength and resilience to carry on and succeed…invaluable traits of any physician.

Gaining such confidence in herself has inspired Alyssa to become very involved with her local community. She serves as a 4H mentor to sixth graders, works as a Student Teacher and America Reads Tutor, and is Treasurer of the Service Club at SUU. She is also President of the American Sign Language Club, and is a member of both the Anthropology Club and the Research team within the Michael Leavitt Center for Politics.

Alyssa visits beautiful Dubai

Alyssa’s dedication to her academics and community/campus involvement have not gone unnoticed. She was one of five women chosen to represent Utah at the Insight Dubai conference in Dubai, UAE. “It was life-changing,” says Alyssa. “I realized some of the preconceived notions and subconscious stereotypes that I carried and I was able to work on acknowledging and reversing those, while building meaningful and personal relationships with women across the globe. The most monumental thing that I have learned from the conference, I learned when I returned to Utah. It was shocking to hear others talk about my experience and their personal experience, often placing their own biases on the women and other individuals from the region, claiming that they were oppressed and forced to wear the abaya and were forced into their current cultural norms. It was shocking to examine because, having gone there, I realized that I had carried those personal biases, and having talked on a personal level with the women, I have realized how completely ignorant of their situation I was and how I can help to eliminate others’ ignorance by encouraging global relations and communication while spreading my own awareness and information,” she adds.

Having accomplished so much during her freshman year, Alyssa is certainly on her way to fulfilling her dream of becoming a pediatric pulmonologist. The ThanksUSA team wishes Alyssa continued academic success and we encourage her and all other college-bound military dependents and spouses to apply for the 2012-2013 ThanksUSA Scholarship. Applications are being accepted through May 15th and complete details can be found here. We conclude this week’s Scholarship News with a few words of thanks from Alyssa:

“I know that I can achieve anything if I attempt it wholeheartedly, and having the Blavatnik Family Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship has shown me that I am capable of more than I thought, and that I can be appreciative of my accomplishments because I am doing spectacular things at such a young age, and I can only imagine what the future holds.”

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Cameron Mahone

Army dependent Cameron Mahone has always considered himself a team player. He loves to meet new people and makes others feel at ease. Over the years, Cameron realized that his purpose in life is, as he says, “is to uplift others around me.”

Now with the assistance of a $3000 Altria Group/Senator Ted Stevens Memorial Scholarship through ThanksUSA, Cameron has begun his pre-professional biology stdueis (minor in chemistry) at Arkansas State University. Cameron’s ultimate goal is to become an orthodontist.

Cameron explains that he took an early interest in teeth and had been considering a career in the dental field. During his early teen years, Cameron had orthodontic treatment. Prior to beginning eighth grade, Cameron’s braces were removed. The beautiful smile that he faced in the mirror was enough to convince him to become an orthodontist. He notes, “People have always been important to me growing up. What is better than helping individuals out daily and putting smiles on their faces?”

Midway through his freshman year, Cameron is already immersing himself in ASU culture. He is actively involved with campus Bible studies and is a running back for ASU Red Wolves football. Cameron is looking forward to becoming more involved with campus activities, but for now he is making his studies a priority.

To maintain a great GPA while participating in university level sports, Cameron relies on the life lessons he learned growing up in a military family. He says that his father’s Army career taught him resilience, discipline, and how to be independent. Cameron reports that his father, Master Sergeant Terry Mahone, US Army (AGR), has honorably served our country for twenty-five years and is now looking forward to retirement.

We’re sure that MSG Mahone is very proud that Cameron is taking his lessons to heart. On behalf of the ThanksUSA team, I extend my thanks to MSG Mahone for his dedicated service and wish him peace and relaxation in his retirement.

Cameron certainly has a bright future ahead of him and we believe that his focus and dedication will lead him to a successful career as an orthodontist. We leave this week with a few words from Cameron to our sponsors:

“The Altria Group/Senator Ted Stevens Memorial Scholarship is truly a blessing. It has relieved the burden of worrying about how I will pay for school and has provided me with endless opportunities to pursue my life-long dream of being an orthodontist.  I really appreciate you all selecting me. I will make you all proud one day!”

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Air Force dependent Brittany Butler has always been drawn to the sciences. During high school, she was inspired to pursue a biology major by her AP Biology teacher. Now in her junior year of studies at Valdosta State University, Brittany is busy conducting research,  volunteering, and planning a trip abroad.

Brittany was the recipient of a $3000 Blavatnik Family Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship during the 2010/2011 academic year. I asked Brittany to share her enthusiasm for biology with ThanksUSA supporters and potential science students:


“This past year, I did research with a wonderful professor and other students on metal accumulation through the diet in the sea urchin species Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis. This research is a way for me to get my foot in the door and a way for me to get an idea of what kinds of research I could possibly take part in. As far as my research interests, I am intrigued by anything that involves marine science which is why I am planning on working with another professor in the fall studying inland waters. My core reason for wanting to study in Fiji for the fall of 2012 is so that I can take more courses geared toward Marine Biology and hopefully even take part in some research while I am a student over there!

This field will never let you down; there is always excitement and intrigue around every corner no matter what you decide to do in this field. Of course there will be plenty of long nights at the library studying, but it will all be worth it. In order to get more hands on experience and knowledge, I encourage students to join a science club or take part in research with their professors because these will definitely pay off. One last bit of advice I have is just do what you love; don’t settle on something based off of its pay or the way the economy is because if you love what you do then you never have to work a day in your life.”

Even though Brittany maintains a perfect GPA, she still finds time to participate in extra-curricular activities. In the past year, she was inducted into the Golden Key International Honor Society and named secretary for VSU’s Table Tennis Club. She regularly volunteers at the local humane society and at the Moody AFB Thrift Shop.

Brittany’s father, MSGT Kevin Butler, USAF RET, served as a forward air controller for twenty-one years. Brittany’s military upbringing taught her to embrace change, an important trait for an inquisitive, globe-trotting marine biologist. She explains, “Being a military brat has taught me quite a lot, but the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t be afraid of change.  When you are a part of a military family you are separated from loved ones constantly and at other times you are moving from state to state every couple of years, so change happens often.  It is because of this lesson I am so eager to travel across the globe in order to study more about my major; I have learned that even though change can seem scary taking that risk will pay off in the end.”

“Receiving the ThanksUSA Scholarship made it a whole lot easier to focus on my education rather than worry about having to find the funds necessary to continue studying at VSU. Think about it, without this scholarship I may not have been able to take part in the research that will land me in a science journal or discover my interest in studying abroad for a semester. Thanks to this scholarship my interests and curiosities about research and Marine Biology have been able to blossom so that I now have a better idea of what I want to do in the future.”

By joining our texting campaign, you can help a student like Brittany with as little as $10. Simply text THANKSUSA to 85944 to make your $10 donation today. Then, spread the word through Twitter and Facebook. Our goal is to raise $250,000 by June 30th.  If texting just isn’t for you, click this link for additional methods of making your tax-deductible donation today.  THANK YOU!

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Everyone smiles in the same language and Victoria Hokanson wants to make sure that children are able to smile with confidence. With the help of a $3000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship, Victoria has begun her Chemistry studies at the University of San Diego. After completing her undergraduate studies, Victoria plans to attend dental school and eventually open her own orthodontics practice.

Victoria Hokanson


Victoria wished to extend her gratitude to the ESA Foundation for funding her ThanksUSA scholarship saying, “Receiving this scholarship was such an honor. I was set on attending USD knowing that I would be undertaking the burden of student loans. The ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship has helped to reduce the amount of money that I had to take out in loans and will ultimately help me in the long run when I am trying to pay off student loans and start my own practice.”

I think you’ll agree that Victoria has a beautiful smile, but according to her, this was not always the case. When she was five years old, Victoria ran into a table and damaged her entire row of front teeth. Since she was just five years old, she had to wait several years until orthodontics were an option.


Victoria explains, “A smile is the first that I notice when I meet someone. Before braces, I was very self-conscious about the way that my teeth looked and I was embarrassed to smile. Needless to say, braces changed my life. They straightened my teeth and made me less self-conscious about smiling in front of others. Since then, I have been interested in making that difference in the lives of other children who suffer from a lack of confidence because of their smile. I loved my orthodontist and would like to be like him in the future. In ten years, I hope to have completed dental school and opened my own dental or orthodontic practice.”

As the daughter of an Army National Guardsman, Victoria is used to embracing change and credits her military upbringing with making the college transition easier. “I definitely think that military life prepared me for college. I miss my family dearly, but the transition was much easier because I have been accustomed to moving frequently. It was not that different from any other move.” Now, just two months into life as an undergrad, Victoria has already joined the USD Dental Club and is in the process of applying to be in the Student Ambassador’s Club. She also plans to join a sorority during the spring semester.

Although most military dependents find the college transition less stressful, the reasons for this vary greatly. I asked Victoria to speak a bit about her own family’s military experience and she proudly responded, “Life as a military child is different from growing up as a civilian child. My father was PCS’d frequently so my family and I moved just about every year until I began high school. I attended 10 schools and have moved 11 times. This has made it very easy for me to adapt to my surroundings and helped to give me confidence to go out of my way to meet others and work for something if I want it. For the most part I loved moving and wouldn’t have done it any differently if I had the choice. The opportunities I was exposed to outweighed any struggle. In high school my dad was a part of the search and rescue team who saved stranded hikers or people lost in the wilderness. Knowing the impact he had on the lives of those people and their families made me very proud to be a part of a military family. I have become very patriotic, mainly from my experience living on base and attending ceremonies. What the military and their families sacrifice for our country is incredible and I become more grateful of our country and its military every day.”

Thank you, Victoria, ThanksUSA and our sponsors/supporters feel the same way about our nation and military families! ThanksUSA is honored to be a part of your educational journey and we wish you all the best in completing your studies and bringing out the beautiful smiles of children!

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The first Phase I deadline of TH5 is February 18, 2010, at 11:59 p.m. (EST). All schools and youth groups who have submitted correct answers for chapters 1 (Missouri) and 2 (Nebraska) will be eligible to win a $1000 Gift Certificate to use towards the purchase of school/activity supplies.

Even if you’ve already completed chapters 1 and 2, please login to TH5 and verify your contact information…we need to be able to reach you if you win! Keep in mind that you can participate in TH5 as a member of a group and also as an individual, so if you are a teacher or youth group leader, please remind students that they can register (with parent/guardian permission) as individual player. For a complete list of Phase I (group) and Phase II (individual) deadlines, please see the official rules here.

To help you through TH5, let’s look at a clue from chapter 2, Nebraska:

1. This original concentrated drink mix was too expensive and the bottles kept breaking, leading a Nebraska inventor to create a drink that kids love. Oh, yeah!

Many readers will immediately know the name of the resulting popular name brand drink mix that is still in use today. However, we need to find the name of the original concentrated drink mix. Our search may look like this:

Concentrated drink mix + Nebraska inventor

If you know the name of the resulting drink mix, adding that name to your search will narrow the results considerably:

Concentrated drink mix + Nebraska inventor + “Popular Brand Name

You’ll learn that this young inventor loved chemistry and was inspired by Jell-O…how fun and inspiring! Maybe reading about this invention will inspire your young chemist. Did you know that you can conduct your own scientific research using the resulting “Popular Brand name?” For some extra educational fun, try the following searches:

Playdough + “Popular Brand Name

Chromatography + “Popular Brand Name

Have fun and good luck with TH5! As always, if you need any additional hints or tips for the Treasure Hunt, please leave a comment on this blog or send me a direct email at sherrykoch@ThanksUSA.org.

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