Secretary Salazar Congratulates Interior Blacks-in-Government Members and Scholarship Recipients

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today commended the Department of the Interior's Blacks-in-Government (BIG) chapter for its community service and presented 10 recent high school graduates from the Washington, D.C area with college scholarships funded by BIG members.

“Congratulations are in order for the members of BIG as well as for the scholarship recipients,” Secretary Salazar noted in a ceremony at the department's headquarters. “Your generosity to the youth in our community not only encourages education but provides a role model for others as the Department of the Interior seeks to expand its role in providing opportunities for young people and in connecting them to nature.”

The DOI-BIG hosted a fundraising trip to South Africa in November 2008 and the proceeds raised from that trip are being used to provide the scholarship awards of $1,000 and $500 to help with college expenses.

Several of the recipients plan to enter natural resources fields related to the Interior Department. Jonathan D. Fennell, who graduated from The Potomac School in McLean, Virginia, hopes to study geology, environmental science or chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.

In an essay for his scholarship application, Fennell wrote: “Seismologists and volcanologists are able to monitor and predict volcanic eruptions and earthquakes utilizing the geographic information system and other geological tools and provide this valuable information to the international community, especially for the purpose of organizing their emergency preparedness activities that could minimize the loss of life, particularly in disadvantaged countries. Interior's U.S. Geological Survey performs such work.”

Jennifer Avelar, who graduated from Bladensburg High School, Bladensburg, Maryland, will attend the University of Maryland, College Park, where she intends to study Government and Environmental Science and Policy.

No matter what their intended fields of study, students appreciated the value of the BIG scholarship and a higher education. In her application essay, Blaire, who graduated from Walter Johnson High School, Bethesda, Maryland, and will study political science at Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia, Bedford summed up the reason for aspiring to a college education—and the reason for the BIG scholarships.

“A college education for my grandfather was a dream unfulfilled, but he dreamed that his children and grandchildren would go to college, and that we would use our education to improve our lives, but more importantly improve the lives of others,” Bedford wrote. “As I was growing up, visits to my grandfather were some of my most cherished moments. He would end each of our special visits with these words—‘value your education and always do your best in school.'”

Business and political science also spark the graduates' interest. Carmen Alston, who graduated from St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School, Alexandria, Virginia, will study international business at the University of Maryland. Tevin Jones, who graduated from Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Springdale, Maryland, will pursue his business administration studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Three of the recipients will study music. Brandi R. Doswel, a graduate of Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., will pursue studies in both music and engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. Joshua P. Sommerville, who graduated from Gaithersburg High School in Maryland, intends to study music education at Towson University. Miya C. Brown, a graduate of the School Without Walls in Washington, will study music at Barnard College in New York

Other artistically inclined scholarship recipients include Alisha Norris, a graduate of Potomac High School in Oxon Hill, Maryland, who will pursue fashion merchandising and accounting at Virginia Commonwealth University and Frederick O. Kenley, a graduate of Oxon Hill High School –also in Oxon Hill—who will study architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.


Was this page helpful?

Please provide a comment