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Students Awarded $100,000 Scholarship

Three students share grand prize from Proton OnSite to help them through college.

by Proton OnSite
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Wallingford, Conn. – (May 8, 2015) Three exceptional high school seniors shared the $100,000 scholarship from the Proton OnSite Scholarship and Innovation Program and its entrepreneur benefactor Tom Sullivan. 

An independent panel of judges chose Ashish Vankara from Westerville, Ohio, Farita Tasnim from Columbus, Georgia, and Mayia Vranas from Danville, California from more than 1,400 applications from students across 47 states. 

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All three students were surprised by a personal phone call while at school from Sullivan, informing them that they’d won the Scholarship prize of $36,000 to help them through four years of college. 

Ashish was selected in part because of his pledge to use his education to help the world’s sick and poor. He hopes to design low-cost, sustainable infrastructure in developing countries, and hopes to one day “bridge the gap between science and policy” to better help those less fortunate. “I want to make a positive impact on society and engineering,” added Ashish. 

Farita was chosen for her near-perfect academic record, and also for her extra-curricular record, which includes a summer placement with Intel, helping develop clean energy technology. Farita also captains her school’s robotics team, which recently reached the World Championships. “After I got into robotics I realized how much I enjoy doing engineering and using my hands to build things,” said Farita. 

Mayia was selected not only for her incredible academic record, but also for her lengthy extra-curricular resume, which includes recently presenting her independent physics research at Stanford. “I want to use this scholarship to help me become a physicist,” said Mayia. “I want to be able to go and do my own research and add to the world of knowledge.” 

The Proton OnSite Scholarship program, now in its sixth year, looks for the brightest high school seniors in the country to offer them the financial support they need to gain an undergraduate degree in science and technology.

Sullivan has awarded over $2 million to 25 high school students over the past six years through the scholarship program, which is devoted to fueling the next generation of scientific innovation. 

“The Proton OnSite Scholarship was created to help fuel the future careers of our best and brightest science and technology students,” said Tom Sullivan, founder and chairman for Lumber Liquidators and chairman of Proton OnSite, the global leader in hydrogen gas generation from electrolysis. “I’m delighted that Mayia, Ashish and Farita will be able to go to college this fall and begin achieving their dreams.” 

Ashish Vankara from Westerville, Ohio

Ashish is part of Thomas Worthington High School class of 2015, and has dedicated himself to serving his school and community while achieving exemplary grades. He is the president of his school’s key club and Science Olympiad, and has also spent hundreds of hours volunteering at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Center of Science and Industry. He is a National Chemistry Olympiad finalist, a National AP Scholar, a National Merit Commended Scholar and he even published a study in the Finger Lakes Journal of Secondary Education after conducting an ecological audit of his school. This fall, Ashish plans to attend Duke University and pursue an undergraduate degree in engineering. 

Farita Tasnim from Columbus, Georgia

Farita is part of the Columbus High School class of 2015. Her impressive academic record is coupled with a superb extra-curricular resume. Farita leads her school’s robotics teams, as captain of both the FIRST and BEST robotics teams, and just led the FIRST team to this year’s world championships. Farita is also the captain of her school’s ham radio club and the math team. She also volunteers for Girls Inc., a program to promote science and technology for schoolgirls. This fall, Farita plans to attend MIT and pursue an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. 

Mayia Vranas from Danville, California

Mayia is part of the Monte Vista High School class of 2015.  Her stellar academic record is coupled with an impressive extra-curricular resume. Mayia volunteers at the Reutlinger Jewish Retirement Home, and helps 5th graders create science fair projects as a Science Alliance Mentor. She’s a member of her school’s chemistry club, plays the French horn and is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Mayia has presented her physics research at the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Science Conference and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Nuclear Theory Session. This fall, Mayia intends to begin an undergraduate degree in physics at UC Berkeley.