Arianna Ortega and Isabelle Rael, both Questa High School seniors, are finishing out their year on a high note. Both have received scholarships from the Los …
Arianna Ortega and Isabelle Rael, both Questa High School seniors, are finishing out their year on a high note. Both have received scholarships from the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, which partners with the Los Alamos Employees' Scholarship Fund.
Ortega was awarded the John and Marti Browne Leadership Scholarship in the amount of $10,000, and Rael received the $6,000 Bronze Scholarship.
The partnered organizations awarded a total of $741,000 to 110 Northern New Mexico students during its 2020 four-year scholarship cycle.
According to Mike Ammerman, scholarship program manager for the Foundation, the LAESF advisory committee reviewed over 300 applications to find those who excelled in academic achievement, leadership and service.
Rael, who earned the distinction of class valedictorian this year, will enter New Mexico Highlands University in the fall as a social work major. "In this field, I will be able to help those in need, to support and guide others throughout their lives," she said.
In addition, Rael has served as president of her class this year and belongs to the National Honor Society. She has taken sufficient dual-credit classes to earn an associate degree from University of New Mexico-Taos as well as a Questa High diploma. Among her other high school activities, she participated in the New Mexico Department of Public Education's 2018 Student Leader Network.
Ortega will use her scholarship to attend Luna Community College as an allied health major. She then plans to transfer to either New Mexico Highlands or the University of New Mexico to pursue a bachelor's degree in radiologic technology.
A member of the National Honor Society, Ortega has made the honor roll during all four years of high school and the principal's roll for three of those years. She has turned out for volleyball, basketball, track and cheerleading. She has earned numerous honors in the last of these - including QHS outstanding cheerleader, Taos County All-Star and All-American cheerleader - and has competed in the Cheer State Championship.
"As a QHS cheerleader, I have experienced many ups and even more downs," Ortega said. "To be part of the team was special to me. My peak experience was being able to perform a perfect routine at state with my team."
Radiologic technology sounds like an odd choice, but it makes sense when she explains it.
"I have always seen myself going into the medical field and working with people," Ortega said, "but I've taken many turns with what I wanted to pursue exactly. I've been physically hurt several times where I had to get X-rays performed on me. Every time, I was lucky enough to be shown and explained everything in the results. I thought how amazing it was to know and see specific things inside the human body."
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