SLV Rural Electric awards Adams State Scholarships

(07-16-2008)

For 20 years, the San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative has invested in alternative energy - brain power. Each year, the co-op awards about $20,000 worth of scholarships to Adams State students.

"We do this because one of the principals of cooperatives is community service," said John Villyard, chief executive officer of SLV REC. With 7,000 members and 52 employees, SLV REC is one of 22 energy cooperatives in the Colorado system, he said.

Of the 13 different scholarships awarded by the co-op annually, the largest is for a full-time Adams State freshman from a San Luis Valley high school. It covers in-state tuition, fees, and a book allowance. The ASC scholarship is renewable for four years and requires achievement of GPA of 2.0 the first year, 2.5 the second year, and 3.0 the third and fourth years. In addition, the applicant or their parents/legal guardians must be served by SLV REC.

SLV REC created its Adams State scholarship in 1988 to help advance the expertise and careers of future leaders in its service area.

"Ideally, our scholarship recipients come back to the area," Villyard said.

He added that the co-op supports a number of community projects, including rodeos, parks, high school after-prom events, and the Stephanie L. Miner Women's Imaging Center at the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center.

A lot of the credit we get as a cooperative is based on what we do in the community. If it has to do with kids, it's even better," he said.

"Scholarship selection becomes more difficult each year," said Michelle Trujillo, SLV REC manager of customer service, who coordinates the scholarship program. "Kids are getting so amazing, it's hard to make a determination."

Amber Harlan

Amber Harlan

This year's SLV REC scholarship was awarded to Amber Harlan. Cassandra Cordova was awarded the second year scholarship, because last year's recipient left school. Kendra Smith was renewed for her third year, and Leslie Martinez, for her fourth year.

Harlan graduated at the top of her Monte Vista High School class. Among her numerous academic and athletic awards is selection as the 2007 Spud Bowl Queen. Harlan also received Adams State's new Porter Scholarship for math and science majors.

"Not only was this the smartest choice financially, I wanted to go to Adams State. I feel I can get a good education here that will help me succeed in medical school." Said Harlan, who plans to major in pre-med and become a cardiovascular surgeon serving the SLV. Multiple surgeries stemming from a childhood accident inspired her to explore the other side of medical care.

"I've always liked helping people, and medicine seems to be my fit. There's a lot of demand for this specialty," she said.

Cassandra Cordova

Cassandra Cordova

Cordova, a graduate of Centennial High School, will major in math at Adams State with a minor in Spanish. She will be the first generation in her family to attend college. She also received a Ronald McDonald House of Charity scholarship. Cordova excelled in high school, where served as president of the student council and was a member of the National Honor Society. She also tutored classmates in mathematics.

"Education is a gift you can give someone that no one can take away," she said. "Not many people have the patience to give that gift. I hope to give the gift of an education to every student I teach."

Her father passed away when she was in the ninth grade.

"My father always told me the more you learn, the more you earn. He's a big part of why I want to go to college," she said.