Student wins $36,000 scholarship to Cal

Abby Vogeley, Staff Writer

A student at Monte Vista has won a $36,000 scholarship from the Proton Onsite Scholarship and Innovation program, and is headed for success.

Mayia Vranas, a senior, was incredibly shocked to hear that she had won.

“[I was] really excited,” Vranas said. “I didn’t know how much of a chance I had for it, and so to actually be one of the three winners was amazing.”

Using Naviance, Vranas had discovered this scholarship after taking a quiz about her hobbies. After seeing that it fit her interests, and the later due date, she applied.

According to their website, the Proton Onsite scholarship “seeks to fuel the next generation of scientific innovation by recognizing and rewarding high school seniors who demonstrate outstanding achievement, excellence and community service.” Every year, three students from the nation are chosen to receive this incredible award.

In order to apply, applicants had to submit a transcript, their extracurricular activities, an essay about what they can do for sustainable energy technology, and a video essay.

Some of her extracurriculars include playing the French horn and volunteering as a mentor for Science Alliance, a program that helps fifth-graders create science fair projects.

For the essay portion, Vranas submitted a piece explaining an idea she was really passionate about.

“I had been doing independent research on nuclear fusion for the last couple of years,” said Vranas. “The idea was for a different method of nuclear fusion, so I sent in my paper and described what it was about for video essay.”

Vranas’ interest in physics has driven her to decide to go into physics at UC Berkeley, where the scholarship can fuel her goals of furthering her education. She hopes to go on to receive a PhD and do research.

“I want to use this scholarship to help me become a physicist,” said Vranas. “My dad is a physicist and he taught me so much about how the universe works. I want to be able to go and do my own research and add to the world of knowledge.”

The Proton Onsite scholarship is one of thousands of scholarships available for high school seniors. A few, like this scholarship, also have later deadlines. With so many out there, it may be tedious to look through them all, but Vranas urges incoming seniors to take the time to look.

“ Definitely look for scholarships earlier on, because it feels in senior year after doing the college applications that you’re done,” said Vranas.  “But a lot of the time there are these scholarships with deadlines in February that you don’t know about, so looking for them earlier on can be really helpful for your future.”