Obtaining a degree in engineering and moving into a career in environmental sustainability is a desire of Edmond Santa Fe Graduate Regan Van Stavern that will soon be realized thanks to the Gates Millennium Scholarship Program.
Van Stavern is one of this year’s 300 Gate scholarship recipients chosen from 37,000 who applied. Launched in 2017 and funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the program is dedicated to furthering the success of exceptional high school seniors. The scholarship covers tuition, room and board, opportunities to study abroad, travel expenses, and additional personal expenses for up to five years.
Students who receive this esteemed award have shown they meet qualifications such as having an outstanding academic record in high school, strong leadership ability, and exceptional personal success skills.
Upon learning of the award, Van Stavern said, “I was pretty shocked at first and almost didn’t believe it. I felt a great wave of relief knowing that my dreams are now more possible for me to achieve. After working so hard for this scholarship, the time and effort put into it paid off.”
Van Stavern wants to focus her future studies on maintaining the earth’s natural resources for future generations.
“My personal dreams are to use what I learn in college to better the world. I want to help sustain the environment that we live in by creating more sustainable infrastructures and focusing on communities that lack access to those infrastructures,” she said.
According to her dad, Aaron Van Stavern, Regan has been working toward this scholarship since she was a young girl.
“Since she was in elementary, she had her mind made up that she would move away and go to a college. As a parent, you kind of don’t take it seriously. She absolutely stuck to it, made a plan, and executed it for the next ten years,” he said. “She has always been motivated and determined to meet her goals. One of her hardest to reach was the Gates Scholarship and she did it.”
Van Stavern is excited for the “world of opportunities” that will open up due to this scholarship.
“I am able to attend a very prestigious college and experience many things I wouldn’t have been able to without this scholarship. It has given me even more motivation to pursue a career and create change in the world through my studies,” Van Stavern said.