Raul Ayala is one of four graduating high school seniors who have been selected by the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) to receive the 2020 CGCS-Bernard Harris Math and Science Scholarships. The students were chosen from several hundred applicants in urban school districts across the nation for academic performance, leadership qualities and community involvement.
Now in its second year, the scholarship was created by former NASA astronaut, Dr. Bernard Harris, the first African American to walk in space, to encourage and assist promising students of diverse backgrounds who plan to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies after high school.
The awards were given to two African-American and two Hispanic seniors from high schools in the 76 big-city school districts represented by Council.
“Increasing cultural diversity in the nation’s STEM workforce is vital and has been a life-long mission for me,” said Dr. Harris. “I strongly believe in fostering the next generation of STEM leaders and am happy to help these talented students become the innovators and leaders of tomorrow as they pursue excellence in their chosen fields.”
Each scholar will receive $5,000 for continued education in a STEM-related field. Ayala attended the School of Health Professions at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center and plans to attend Brown University to study mechanical engineering.
“The Council is proud to partner with Dr. Bernard Harris on this important scholarship program to provide talented minority students in urban school districts a way to pursue STEM studies after high school,” said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools. “The generous support of Dr. Harris helps advance these young men and women as they begin the next stage of their lives.”
Administration of the scholarship program, including the application process, pre-selection and presentation of awards, is provided by the CGCS. Dr. Harris makes the final selection of recipients.