ESPAÑOLA – Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) students Chris Mae Palalon and Dominick Martinez have received $5,000 scholarships for the 2022-2023 academic year from Longenecker & Associates (L&A).
In December 2021, L&A pledged to donate $10,000 annually to the Northern New Mexico College Foundation for two scholarships for students pursuing careers in a field that supports L&A’s mission at Los Alamos National Laboratory ( LANL).
The goal is to train graduate students in fields ranging from environmental science to project management and business who are better prepared to practice their craft. Recipients are eligible for the scholarship to be extended for a second year provided they continue to meet the eligibility criteria.
“I was the first person in my family to go to university on a scholarship, and I know the benefits. I couldn’t have gone to college without this scholarship, and it was life changing,” said L&A CEO John Longenecker. “So we understand the impact this can have.”
Chris Mae Palalon
Española resident Mae Palalon is the first student to receive the scholarship for a second year. She holds an Associate of Science in Pre-vocational Health Sciences from the University of New Mexico – Los Alamos and is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science at NNMC. She plans to graduate in the spring of 2023. In addition to taking up to 19 credit hours per semester, Palalon has worked full-time as a teaching assistant in the special needs room at Española Public Schools.
“I am very grateful to Longenecker & Associates for giving me the second opportunity to have the scholarship,” Palalon said. “I think what motivates me the most is to graduate and finish on time. And the family at home that I want to help. And, of course, God gives me a healthy body all the time. , as well as the scholarship I receive.
At a job fair hosted by former LANL cleaning contractor N3B in Northern in August, Palalon interviewed L&A and was offered a full-time position as a Contractors Assurance Systems Specialist .
“She is immensely talented and we look forward to working with her,” said Lindsay Wallace, L&A Los Alamos Project Manager. “We didn’t have the right type of work available for her, but we kept her CV active and every time we started recruiting something new, we were looking for the right house and I think maybe we just find this.”
Martinez is a math major in his freshman year at Northern. He grew up in Alcalde and now lives in Española. Martinez plans to graduate in 2024.
Martinez has completed an internship with New Mexico Idea Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) since his freshman year, working with Dr. David Torres, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Physical Sciences at NNMC, to study the movement of T cells at using Python and MATLAB. This summer, he completed a second internship with Sustainable Research Pathways for High Performance Computing (SRP-HPC), working again with Dr. Torrez and with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist Dr. Damian Rouson. He has also carried out projects for the Alliance for the Participation of Minorities (AMP).
After graduation, Martinez plans to pursue a master’s degree in applied mathematics or computer science, preferably at UNM, or work at a Department of Energy national laboratory, such as LANL or Sandia National Laboratories. Inspired by Rouson, he wants his future to be something with coding.
“I really like coding. I’m leaning towards science, not web apps or commercial products,” Martinez said. “I generally like artificial intelligence and computational physics.”
Martinez was surprised and grateful to be one of two students to receive the L&A scholarship. He had supplemented his income by tutoring at NNMC, but decided against it this fall due to time constraints. The scholarship will help fill the void.
“It will give me more opportunities to work on what I love: my studies and my research,” Martinez said.
In addition to scholarships, Longenecker & Associates offers internship opportunities through a deliberate process. “We want to make sure we really have the ability to mentor and grow,” Wallace said.
“When we’re talking about interns, we make sure there’s a good fit. We don’t just bring them into the office to do paperwork and get work done. More than anything, it’s about building our leaders of the future,” Longenecker said.
“We belong to employees, and it’s exciting for us to meet these young people, to get their ideas on how we can improve as a team, how can we be a better company and how can we solve problems. problems faster, better, smarter and avoid problems. They make us better and that’s just exciting for the whole team. They come in with fresh eyes and different perspectives and backgrounds.
L&A is committed to maintaining and improving the scholarship program.
“We just celebrated 33 years in business, so we’re looking long-term at where we’re going to take people for the next three decades,” Longenecker said. “We see this as a long-term relationship, and we hope that each year we can find a way to improve it and make it more productive for both parties, in order to help even more students.
“It’s so rewarding to be able to have this real-world impact in our own community,” Wallace said. “Northern New Mexico is my home, so being able to do something here has been a great opportunity here for us. We enjoy northern New Mexico.