The Balkhi Foundation is proud to announce the winners of its 2019 Higher Education Scholarship. Each of these ten talented students displayed academic success, community engagement, and a well developed career plan. Every student on this list came highly recommended by their teachers and displayed unwavering excellence in the face of significant academic and personal challenges. Each student will receive a $1,000 scholarship towards the 2019-2020 school year.

Chhun Hong
Chhun Hong
Chhun Hong will be attending the University of Texas at Austin following his graduation from Magnolia West High School in Magnolia, Texas. Chhun graduated with his International Baccalaureate Diploma and a Summa Cum Laude distinction ranked fourth in his class of 444 students. Chhun plans to study Mechanical Engineering and has a keen interest on the role of machine learning and artificial intelligence in engineering innovation. Chhun dreams of one day working for an innovative automotive company to lead the charge in creating vehicles that are more sophisticated and mechanically robust. He also hopes to one day return to his home country of Cambodia to improve water supply access for rural residents.
Gabriela Varela Guadiana
Gabriela Varela Guadiana
Gabriela Varela Guadiana will be attending Texas A & M following her graduation from United High School in Laredo, Texas. Gabriela graduated in the top three percent of her graduating class of 1,127 as a member of the National Honor Society, a dual language recognition, and endorsements in STEM, Arts and Humanities, and Multidisciplinary Studies. Gabriela plans to major in Animal Science with the ultimate goal of becoming a veterinarian. Gabriela hopes to tackle the problem of unaffordable pet care while also increasing rescue operations for stray animals.
Jennifer Vasquez Gonzalez
Jennifer Vasquez Gonzalez
Jennifer Vasquez Gonzalez will be attending the University of Florida following her graduation from John I Leonard High School in Greenacres, Florida. Jennifer is ranked fifth in her graduating class of 862 and was honored as both an Outstanding Cambridge Learner and as Most Outstanding Senior in Science. During her time in high school, Jennifer has become a certified medical administrative assistant, electrocardiogram technician, emergency medical responder, and patient care technician. Jennifer’s undergraduate career will focus on preparing herself for medical school with the ultimate goal of becoming a pediatrician working in underserved communities.
Johanna Powell
Johanna Powell
Johanna Powell will be attending the University of Miami following her graduation from Dreyfoos High School in West Palm Beach, Florida. Johanna graduated in the top 15 percent of her class. Johanna excelled academically throughout high school while also exploring her passion for dance. Johanna will be majoring in biology as an undergraduate with the hopes of eventually attending medical school and becoming an innovator in reconstructive surgical techniques. She aspires to one day become a skilled surgeon and dedicate her time to traveling throughout the globe provide care to those who need it most.
Marco Polimeni
Marco Polimeni
Marco Polimeni will be attending the Stevens Institute of Technology following his graduation from Pocono Mountain East High School in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania. Marco graduated fourth in his graduating class with distinguished honors. Marco's proudest contribution to his high school was co-founding the school's computer science club. He plans to continue to explore his love of computer science and mathematics in college. His ultimate goal is to make a difference in the technology industry by applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to community service.
Mary Huang
Mary Huang
Mary Huang will be attending the University of South Carolina Aiken Honors College following her graduation from Wilson High School in Timmonsville, South Carolina. Mary is graduating in the top three percent of her graduating class with an International Baccalaureate Diploma, Board of Trustees recognition, and as a member of National Honor Society and Beta Club. Mary will major in Clinical Laboratory Science with a goal of one day becoming a Medical Technologist and advancing medical research in cancer and diabetes. Mary hopes to also becoming a community advocate for improved care among underserved populations.
Maya Patterson
Maya Patterson
Maya Patterson will be attending the University of Pittsburgh following her graduation from Norwin High School in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Maya graduated fourth in her class of 400 students as an Honors graduate and member of National Honor Society. Maya is also a two time Society of Women Engineers Merit Award winner. Maya will major in Bioengineering with the goal of then attending medical school to further inform her medical research. Maya's ultimate goal is to design a technological intervention that can detect and alert users to an epileptic seizure before it happens.
Megan Goulet
Megan Goulet
Megan Goulet will be attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute following her graduation from Conard High School in West Hartford, Connecticut. Megan will graduate with Maximum Honors as a member of National Honor Society and as a Girls With Impact graduate. She also served as the Connecticut Technology Student Association’s State Treasurer and has been awarded the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award and the Dual Sport Athletic Award. Megan's plan after high school is to major in Computer Science with the goal of expanding her computing knowledge to make a positive impact on society. Megan want to capitalize on her experience creating The Hidden Workforce, a mobile app to improve the hiring of individuals with Autism, to develop future apps and mobile technologies that improve the quality of life of vulnerable individuals throughout the United States.
Micah McGrath
Micah McGrath
Micah McGrath will be attending Rutgers University following her graduation from Chatham High School in Chatham, New Jersey. Micah will graduate in the top 10% of her class as a member of National Honor Society. Micah also received the Kenyon College Book Award. Micah will enter college as a biological sciences major with the hopes for more closely evaluating animal science and ecology science. Micah's dream is to participate in field studies and become deeply involved in finding the answers to the "big questions" in biology.
Tito Ruiz
Tito Ruiz
Tito Ruiz will attend the University of Florida following his graduation from John I Leonard High School in Greenacres, Florida. Tito will graduate third in his class with an AICE diploma as a student of the Medical and Computer Academy. Tito will major in computer science and electrical engineering and strives to be the first in his family to graduate college. In the future, Tito hopes to help expand the solar energy industry to decrease dependance on fossil fuels.

The importance of providing assistance for talented students such as these cannot be understated. These ten talented winners were chosen after blinded review of hundreds of candidates, many of whom still require financial assistance to attend college. Please consider donating to the Balkhi Foundation to fund even more of these extremely talented students in 2020.

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