Two Belen High School Class of 2002 graduates have been selected as Gates Millennium Scholars.
Melanie Pino of Belen and Jennifer Willis of Tomé have been selected as recipients of the scholarship, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“The best and the brightest students shouldn’t be denied access to higher education simply because they can’t afford it,” Bill Gates has said in describing the purpose of the Gates Millennium Scholar program,which is designed to enable outstanding young Americans of minority ethnicity to attend the college of their choice.
The selection process requires independent readers to assess nominees based upon academic achievement, community service and leadership potential. In addition, the Gates Millennium Scholar program assesses financial eligibility.
The award provides monetary support for the student to complete college and continue on to earn master’s or doctorate degrees in mathematics, science, engineering, education or library science.
The amount awarded reflects the difference between the tuition and other scholarships received by the applicants. It allows students to not have to obtain student loans or participate in work-study.
Pino will be attending a private Catholic college, Fordham University in New York City, N.Y. She plans to focus on graphic design and advertising. She is the daughter of Jane Pino.
Willis plans to attend Arizona State University and pursue a degree in business. She is the daughter of Jerry and Della Willis.