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ORAU 2024 Pollard Scholarship recipients announced

ORAU awarded five William G. Pollard Scholarships of $2,500 each toward undergraduate studies for the 2024-25 academic year. The recipients of this year’s scholarships include Priya Latchana, Kira Palau, Taylor Layman, Inioluwa Abiodun-Adeniyi and Desdemona Stubbs. 

Annually, ORAU awards these scholarships to employees’ children who display exceptional achievements in their high school or undergraduate studies. To be considered, applicants must submit official transcripts from all high schools and colleges attended, three references (at least two of which must be from teachers), and a 500-word essay describing their professional and personal interests. 

Below are additional details on each of the 2024 winners:

Impact Areas

Priya Latchana

Priya Latchana, daughter of Jill and Neil Latchana, is a 2024 graduate of Colonel Zadok Magruder High School in Gaithersburg, Md. She is excited to continue her academic journey at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where she plans to dive deeper into the engineering field. As the 2023-2024 president of her school’s National Technical Honor Society, Latchana had the opportunity to share her enthusiasm for engineering by organizing a STEM Day event for elementary school students in her cluster. This experience allowed her to inspire younger students and foster a love for STEM subjects. In her free time, Latchana enjoys drawing, spending time outdoors with her two dogs, and exploring photography. These hobbies allow her to express her creativity and find balance in her life.

Pollard Scholarship winner Priya Latchana

Kira Palau

Kira Palau, daughter of Angela Palau, is a rising junior at the University of Colorado Boulder, studying chemical and biological engineering with a minor in leadership and business. She graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 2022. The last two summers she has worked with The Clinch River Environmental Organization evaluating the ecological health of local woodlands and wetlands. Additionally, last summer Palau participated in a self-directed research project at the University of Glasgow looking at the effects of increasing soil salinity on plant growth. She hopes to pursue environmentally conscious research to work in the field of green energy or genetic engineering.

Pollard Scholarship winner Kira Palau

Taylor Layman

Taylor Layman, daughter of Dr. Craig and Neisha Layman, was born and raised in Knoxville, Tenn. She is a rising senior at East Tennessee State University majoring in chemistry with a biochemistry concentration. During her time at ETSU, she made the Dean’s list for the fall and spring terms of the 2023--2024 school year, and participated in the American Chemical Society chemistry club, Tri Beta biology club, and C.H.E.M: leaders’ program. Layman’s long-term goal is to attend medical school and become a pediatrician. She currently works as a receptionist at All Tails Vet clinic, and has worked at each location, including the clinic, surgery center, and farm sanctuary. Tilted Tavern, the animal sanctuary, is a nonprofit organization that rescues abused and neglected farm animals and gives them a home to live out the rest of their lives.

Pollard Scholarship winner Taylor Layman

Inioluwa Abiodun-Adeniyi

Inioluwa Abiodun-Adeniyi, son of Foluso Abiodun-Adeniyi, is a graduate of Oak Ridge High School Class of 2024. He plans to attend the University of Tennessee to major in mechanical engineering and to minor in mathematics. During his high school journey, Abiodun-Adeniyi was recognized by the College Board National African American Recognition Program for outstanding academic achievement, was a member of the National Honor Society, gained varsity recognition in cross country, and was part of the Oak Ridge High School 30+ ACT score club. With his free time, he likes to go to the gym, run, and play basketball with his friends.

Pollard Scholarship winner Inioluwa Abiodun-Adeniyi

Desdemona Stubbs

Desdemona Stubbs, daughter of Desmond Stubbs, is from McDonough, Ga., and is a recent high school graduate of Ola High School. This fall, she will be attending Georgia Tech as a chemistry major and plans to become an anesthesiologist. As a high school student, Stubbs was a member of the Beta Club, National Honor Society, HOSA: Future Health Professionals, and Science Olympiads. She also received an AP Scholar distinction and was awarded the National African American Recognition Award.

Pollard Scholarship winner Desdemona Stubbs

The William G. Pollard Scholarship Awards are presented in honor of ORAU’s founder in recognition of his dedication to science and education. A University of Tennessee physics professor, Pollard founded the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies—which later became ORAU—to link the valuable scientific resources developed in Oak Ridge as part of the Manhattan Project with regional universities.

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About ORAU

ORAU, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, provides science, health, and workforce solutions that address national priorities and serve the public interest. Through our specialized teams of experts and access to a consortium of more than 150 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local, and commercial customers to provide innovative scientific and technical solutions and help advance their missions. ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Media Contacts

Pam BoneeDirector, CommunicationsCell: (865) 603-5142
Wendy WestManager, CommunicationsCell: (865) 207-7953