CEC Awards 2022 Scholarships

The Citizens Environmental Council (CEC) is proud to award scholarships to three Burlingame High School (BHS) students from the Class of 2022: Becca Jeremias, Journey Steinberg (right) and Hrudhai Umashankar (left).

This is the seventh year that CEC has honored BHS students who have demonstrated a sincere concern for sustainability issues and who show promise to continue addressing environmental problems that threaten our future.

Becca Jeremias studied Environmental Science at BHS, was active in the Environmental Club and led beach cleanups. She has a special interest in overuse of plastics and pollution threats associated with single-use plastic products. Becca will start her college education at College of San Mateo and plans to transfer to a university where she can prepare for a career in environmental engineering, environmental health and safety or waste management.

Journey Steinberg took a training session at the Marine Mammal Center as a freshman and learned of the influence of climate change on marine life and biodiversity. His interest was reinforced when he studied AP Environmental Science as a junior. He also was active with the Pacific Beach Coalition, leading groups doing beach cleanups and habitat restoration in Pacifica. He served as junior site captain of the Linda Mar Beach Habitat Restoration project. At California State University, Sacramento, he intends to major in ethnic studies with a focus on environmental justice.

As a sophomore, Hrudhai Umashankar participated in the Youth Climate Ambassador program sponsored by the San Mateo County Offices of Education and Sustainability. While participating in this program, he completed community impact projects to help reduce BHS water consumption and bring eco-friendly and money-saving appliances to low-income families. In recognition of his extensive volunteer activities with this and other organizations, he was awarded the Jefferson Award for Public Service. Hrudhai plans to study both environmental science and computer science at the University of Washington in Seattle and hopes to research technological tools to address our many environmental crises.

Mike McCord, Chair of CEC, said, “It’s always a pleasure to meet students who have both academic training and volunteer experience in addressing the sustainability challenges that face us. This year’s award winners show great promise in developing into change makers, and we are proud to support them.”

The CEC Scholarship program has been largely underwritten by the Morris S. Smith Foundation, Sterling Franklin, Trustee.

CEC Scholarship Recipients Check In

In 2019 we decided to ask scholarship recipients what they’ve been doing in college, and we’ve been impressed and encouraged by their responses. 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.

We granted one of our first scholarships in 2016 to Maarten Thomas-Bosum, who planned to major in physics and work on alternative energy sources. In 2020 he was a senior at Boston College, about to complete a major in Physics and a minor in Math. He was active in the campus Ecopledge and Climate Justice Clubs and was working as a research assistant in a campus physics lab on a new solar energy technology and on a CO2 capture and sequestration project.

Isabella Acenas (BHS 2017) kept us informed during her first two incredibly productive years at New York University. 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 majored 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. In early 2020 he was at the University of Hawaii studying marine biology. He had an internship at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, where he was studying methods to raise or farm reef-building coral, which could someday aid in restoring the world’s reefs.

In early 2020 Keala Uchoa (BHS 2018) had completed her first year at Northwestern University. She hoped to become an attorney and work on environmental and social justice issues from a legal and public policy platform. Her coursework so far had included 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 was pressing the university to divest its fossil fuel investments and reinvest in renewable energy. She also interned during the summer of 2019 at the Westside Justice Center, a Chicago legal aid clinic.

Orla Lynagh-Shannon (BHS 2019) is currently home, successfully taking UCLA classes remotely. Orla’s plan is to major in Environmental Science and Business/Economics. In 2019, Orla took a seminar called “Women and Minorities in Geoscience.” The final project for that class was interviewing Dr. Stephanie Pincetl, a scientist and the director of the UCLA Center for Sustainable Urban Systems, with whom she is hoping to conduct research. In early 2020, Orla was running for a Director of Sustainability position on the On Campus Housing Council, but with the dorms closed the election has been postponed. Over the summer 2020, Orla attended a coffee chat with Google’s Sustainability Team, and as a result, started researching the Master’s Program at the Yale School of the Environment.

CEC Scholarship Honorees


Sydney Roncal (Cal Poly U, San Luis Obispo)

Gemma Rice (CSU, Chico)

Vanessa Teo (UC Berkeley)


Jeffery Chen (Princeton University)
Verona Teo (UC Berkeley)

Orla Lynagh-Shannon (UCLA)
Carmen Lavilla (CSU Monterrey Bay)

Keala Uchoa (Northwestern University)
Ian Aweeka (UC San Diego)
Andrew Barrows (University of Hawaii)
Madeline Tragoutsis (Santa Clara University)

Isabella Acenas (New York University)
Alexander Vina (CSU, Chico)

Maarten Thomas-Bosum (Boston College)
Tessa Filipczyk (UC Davis)

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