Zia Credit, LANL Foundation offer scholarships

Posted 2/13/20

It is scholarship time. Here are a couple of local scholarships and information on how to apply.

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Zia Credit, LANL Foundation offer scholarships


It is scholarship time. Here are a couple of local scholarships and information on how to apply.

Zia Credit Union accepts scholarship applications

Zia Credit Union, with branches in Los Alamos and Española, has announced that its Education Foundation is now accepting scholarship applications from graduating high school and homeschooled seniors.

Applications must be postmarked by Friday (March 13). Details and the application form can be found at

To qualify for consideration, a student must be a member of Zia Credit Union with their own account prior to the application deadline. As part of the application, students must provide an official high school transcript, two letters of recommendation, a photo release form and a walled-sized photo.

The student must also write an essay addressing their high school achievements in one of the following areas: leadership, special achievement or academic. Last year, Zia awarded over $22,000 in scholarships to Northern New Mexico high school seniors.

"Zia Credit Union is passionate about empowering generations of Northern New Mexico families, and this includes offering scholarships to help our members who are heading off to a college, university or vocational school," said Jennifer Aylmer, chair of the scholarship committee, in a statement. "If you're a graduating high school student considering higher education, let us help give you a leg up on all the expenses."

Couple endow chemistry scholarship for art students

Bryan Fearey and Maureen Connolly created the Fearey/Connolly Endowed Scholarship for Science and the Arts to honor their enduring commitment to science serving the nation's national security needs and to provide financial support to students with a similar interest with chemistry at its core and a passion for performance music and/or visual arts.

The initial endowment will provide a $10,000 four-year scholarship ($2,500 a year for up to four years) to one recipient annually.

The couple met during their graduate work at Iowa State University, where they both earned PhDs in physical chemistry. Fearey spent 32 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory while Connolly taught science to students ranging from college level to preschool. They shared a mutual passion for the arts. Fearey's skill as a clarinetist and saxophonist led him to seriously consider becoming a professional musician before choosing college and a career in chemistry. Connolly spent two years as a visual arts major in college and later she became interested in art restoration.

The couple have been contributing to the Los Alamos Employees' Scholarship Fund since its inception. Several years of service on the LAESF Advisory Committee, which oversees the scholarship funds and selects recipients, provided further inspiration for creating an endowed scholarship.

"I became very familiar with the process and the selection criteria - how we work through the selection criteria and the agonizing efforts to do that. We look at the student, we look at their finances, we look at the academics - at the student writ large. It's a very thorough process, and being a part of that gave me confidence," Fearey said.

That confidence was further boosted by his awareness that an estimated 80 to 90 percent of a LAESF scholarship recipients complete their college degree.

Dedicated students are exactly who Connolly has in mind for this scholarship.

"For me, ideally, it's somebody who's enthusiastic and determined and is not going to let the inevitable pitfalls of life stop them from reaching their goal," Connolly said in a statement. "Hopefully this will give them that little extra incentive and opportunity to go on. Maybe they won't have to work as many hours at an outside job, as many students have to do. It's not a huge amount, but if it gives them a start and helps them to continue on to reach their goals then it's well worth it."

The ideal applicant will have strong leadership skills and an interest in national or international security policy. Fearey's many roles at LANL included serving as director of the National Security Office, Senior National Security science adviser and as the Department of Defense's Official U.S. science adviser for treaty negotiations in Geneva. He recently served at the Pentagon as the senior science and policy adviser in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense Policy for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy for Nuclear and Missile Defense -- focused on nuclear and extended deterrence, strategic stability and arms control issues. He retired from LANL in 2018.

Although they came to chemistry through different pathways and diverged on their career tracks, the couple share a fundamental belief in the power of science and chemistry - in other words, "chemists can do anything."

Connolly taught chemistry and advanced placement chemistry at Los Alamos High School, devoted several years to raising their daughters, Brenna and Colleen, followed by both teaching and administrative roles at Little Forest Playschool.

"In terms of science, I've always been more interested in the teaching end of things. It's really exciting when you see that lightbulb go on for the kids and it's like, 'Oh! I get it!'" Connolly said in a statement.

"We are thrilled to sponsor this art and science scholarship," the couple said in a statement. "Playing music and visual arts have always been part of us, one way or another. And science, whether pursuing basic science or teaching science to preschoolers, has also been part of us."

For more information about student eligibility, scholarship application criteria, and deadlines, visit

- Compiled by Staci Matlock


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