CEC has been awarding scholarships for four years to Burlingame High School seniors with a keen interest in the environment and the potential to build a career around sustainability issues. This year we decided to ask them what they’ve been doing in college, and we’ve been impressed and encouraged by their responses.
In 2016 we granted a scholarship to Maarten Thomas-Bosum, who planned to major in physics and work on alternative energy sources. He is now a senior at Boston College, about to complete his major in physics and a minor in math. He is active in the campus Ecopledge and Climate Justice Clubs and is working as a research assistant in a campus physics lab on a new solar energy technology and on a CO2 capture and sequestration project.
Isabela Acenas (BHS 2017) has kept us informed for her incredibly productive two years at NYU. Recently, she served as an American delegate to the U.N .Climate Meeting in Abu Dhabi, and she designed a research project in Dubai to study sea level rise in South Pacific island nations. She is majoring in environmental studies and has aspirations to work for the United Nations and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
In 2018 we interviewed Andrew Barrows, who was already an experienced diver and had observed firsthand the decline of coral reefs due to climate change. He is now at the University of Hawaii studying marine biology. He has an internship at the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology, where he is studying methods to raise or farm reef-building coral, which could someday aid in restoring the world’s reefs.
Keala Uchoa (BHS 2018) is beginning her second year at Northwestern. She hopes to become an attorney and work on environmental and social justice issues from a legal and public policy platform. Her coursework so far includes the ocean, atmosphere and climate; environmental law and policy: and Latinx resistance to environmental racism. As president of Fossil Free Northwestern and an undergraduate representative to the Committee on Investment Responsibility, she is pressing the university to divest its fossil fuel investments and reinvest in renewable energy. She also interned this summer at the Westside Justice Center, a Chicago legal aid clinic.
The CEC Scholarship program has been underwritten by the Morris S. Smith Foundation, whose trustee, Sterling Franklin, suggested we check in on our past recipients. We’re very glad we did. It’s exciting to see youth whom we thought had promise already beginning to realize their potential and making a difference while still in college.