Three seniors awarded $2,500 LACAS scholarship


Three outstanding local seniors will be awarded a $2,500 scholarship upon graduating high school, courtesy of the Los Angeles County Air Show.

The recipients who are pursuing higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math are: Emma Neal of Lancaster High School, who is an athlete, pianist and former NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center engineering intern; Isabel Vanderzee of Quartz Hill High School, who is a mathlete, musician and president of their yearbook; and Ricardo Guzman of Palmdale High School, who is president of the high school’s Skills USA Chapter, Falcon Engineers Club and part of the Solar Race Team.

“Our committee was inspired and amazed by the determination and drive of our incredible scholarship winners and all the 33 scholarship applicants — these students go above and beyond in their education and in their community,” said Los Angeles County Air Show president Ronda Perez. “We are incredibly proud of how well they represent our valley.”

Neal said she was inspired at a young age by her father who is an engineer for NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards, Calif. “My dad taught me math principles early on and I love math and science.” She has interned for NASA and plans to attend Cal Poly upon graduation. Her goal is to someday work for NASA as an electrical engineer.

“Al Bowers (NASA Chief Scientist) has been a great mentor — he is so kind and wonderful. This summer Dave Burger will be my mentor — I’m so excited!”

Neal also enjoys volleyball, which she has played since 6th grade and has been swimming for four years on the varsity team. “I’ve always had great support from my parents and they were never afraid to challenge me.” She is also a music lover, sings and plays the oboe.

“I’m so proud of these three students,” said David Vierra, chairman of the Los Angeles County Air Show Scholarship Committee. “Their high school accomplishments are evidence of their hard work in preparing them for their college STEM education. They have a bright future and are very deserving of this scholarship.” Vierra also serves as director for the air show.