Eleven Exceptional Los Angeles High School Seniors Selected as 2011 Milken Scholars

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Presented by the Milken Family Foundation, the Milken Scholars opportunity combines a $10,000 scholarship with access to a vast network of career opportunities.

The Milken Family Foundation (MFF), http://www.mff.org, announced today that 11 high school students have been named 2011 Milken Scholars. The highly selective process garnered approximately 500 nominations submitted by college advisors representing 117 high schools throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Each recipient will receive a $10,000 scholarship, but what makes the Milken Scholar award unique is the range of ongoing support and resources that extend beyond college into their professional careers. Being a Milken Scholar means joining an extended family and building relationships with MFF staff and fellow Scholars who provide a strong support system that lasts over time.

The 2011 Milken Scholars are:
David Lam, a graduate of San Gabriel High School, will attend Stanford University

Regina Leslie, a graduate of the California Academy of Mathematics and Science, will attend Rice University

Kristi Littleton, a graduate of Culver City High School of La Verne, will attend the University of Pennsylvania

Harleen Marwah, a graduate of Lutheran High School, will attend the University of Southern California

Luis Mercado, a graduate of Nogales High School, will attend the University of California, Davis

Angela Oh, a graduate of North Hollywood High School, will attend Harvard University

Mary Oh, a graduate of North Hollywood High School, will attend the University of Southern California

Peter Orme, a graduate of Maranatha High School, will attend Harvey Mudd College

Oliver Sitt, a graduate of Gabrielino High School, will attend the University of Pennsylvania

David Tang-Quan, a graduate of Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, will attend Harvard University

Carla Vasquez-Noriega, a graduate of Los Angeles High School, will attend Yale

While these outstanding students possess exemplary records of academic and personal achievement, each has done so despite significant personal obstacles. This year’s class of Milken Scholars includes valedictorians, debate champions, five National Merit Finalists and a 2011 U.S. Presidential Scholar. Several have conducted award-winning university-level research projects with one Scholar chosen as a finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search, which has been nicknamed the “Junior Nobel Prize.” Their community service efforts range from founding a nonprofit that brings student-led musical performances to under-served communities to mentoring young children in transitional housing.

“The remarkable young women and men who’ve been selected as Milken Scholars over the past 22 years have consistently worked to make the world a better place,” said Milken Family Foundation co-founder Michael Milken, who with his wife, Lori, instituted the program in 1989. “Doctors, research scientists, educators, entrepreneurs, diplomats – the denominator so common to their pursuits has been a genuine sense of service. Lori and I look forward to working with our newest class of high-school graduates as they join the Scholars family to continue that spirit of accomplishment and contribution.”

From college and career mentoring to assistance with internships, the program offers support that would typically be outside these students’ everyday reach. The program tries to ensure that Scholars have every opportunity to prepare themselves for the transition from high school to college and then from undergraduate work to professional careers. By providing these extraordinarily talented youth with the tools and networks to help manifest their dreams and ambitions, the program’s motto is to encourage “lifelong leaders for a better world.”

MFF staff communicate regularly with each of the Scholars to assist them with a variety of academic and career issues. Staff members periodically visit the Scholars in their college communities, bringing them together to share experiences and participate in social and cultural activities. Such guidance can be particularly important since many Scholars are first-generation college students.

The program’s more than 280 Milken Scholars hail from diverse backgrounds; nearly one-third were born outside the United States and three-quarters have parents originating from over 50 countries. All Milken Scholars are invited to attend a three-day annual Summit each July that culminates with a Recognition Dinner to formally introduce and welcome the new 2011 Milken Scholars. Working with Milken Family Foundation staff and a range of talented facilitators, the annual Milken Scholars Summit provides a forum for Scholars to discuss issues critical to their success at America’s most prestigious universities and in their careers. The celebration dinner recognizes the work and achievement of each new Scholar and acknowledges the family, friends and supporters who help make their success possible.

“Milken Scholars have demonstrated that they have the ability, determination and leadership skills to make substantial contributions to the world,” said Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Family Foundation and a director of the Milken Scholars. “The program provides a launching pad so that these remarkable young people can achieve their full potential. Whether teaching inner-city students or researching cures for cancer, Milken Scholars can be found at the forefront of society.”

For details about the program, visit: http://www.mff.org/scholars. Please contact, bbowers(at)mff(dot)org or (310) 570-4773 if you’d like additional information and/or photos of the 2011 Milken Scholars. Interviews can be arranged.

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Barbara Bowers
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