ORAU has awarded five William G. Pollard Scholarships of $2,500 each toward undergraduate studies for the 2020-2021 academic year. The recipients of this year’s scholarships are Jamie Batson, Cody Blankenship, Olivia Hudson, Audra Jean “AJ” Jones, and Savannah Jones.
Each year, ORAU awards these scholarships to employees’ children or stepchildren who display exceptional achievements in their high school or undergraduate studies. 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 professional and personal interests.
Here are more details about this year’s winners:
- Jamie Batson, daughter of Mark Batson and Tresa Thompson Batson of Knoxville, is a 2019 graduate of Karns High School, where she was salutatorian and a National Merit Finalist with a 4.68 grade point average (GPA). She attends the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and she has earned a 4.0 GPA in her first two semesters. She works as an intern at Team Health’s Tax Accounting Department. She loves animals and has worked many hours dog-sitting since she was 12 years old. Batson plans to earn a master’s degree in accounting, pass the Certified Public Accountant exam and work in the field of forensic accounting.
- Cody Blankenship, son of Steve and Sara Blankenship of Knoxville, is a 2020 graduate of Apostolic Christian School. He earned a 4.19 GPA, was selected as valedictorian, and completed 12 hours of dual-enrollment courses to graduate with distinction. Blankenship helped to found and lead the STEM Club at his school. The club set up a computer lab and completed a physical computing curriculum on Raspberry Pi computers. He was captain of the varsity soccer and basketball teams, and he won a gold medal in cross-country at the 2019 National Apostolic Christian School Competition. Blankenship will pursue a degree in computer science at the Tickle College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
- Olivia Hudson, daughter of Paul and Natascha Hudson, is a graduate and valedictorian of Coalfield High School, where she participated in BETA Club, Debate Club, and Future Business Leaders of America. She enjoys playing sports, particularly volleyball. Her interest in reading and writing led to her write a novel, which she seeks to publish. She will attend the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and pursue her goal of becoming a cardiologist. “I want to be able to give back to my community and hope that I will be able to make a difference in someone’s life,” she said.
- Audra Jean “AJ” Jones, daughter of Karen Chitwood of Oak Ridge, is a 2018 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, where she earned 3.88 GPA and graduated with honors, state honors, and state distinction. She attends Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, where she has a cumulative 3.87 GPA and is on the Dean’s List. She was recognized by Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and the National Society of Leadership Success. She participates in the Pre-Law Society, Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, and the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature. In 2019, she served as a legal intern for the Seventh Judicial Public Defender’s Office in Clinton. After receiving a bachelor of science degree in political science, Jones plans to attend law school and then practice civil and criminal law.
- Savannah Jones, daughter of Trevor and Melissa Jones of Andersonville, graduated from Union County High School with a 3.8 GPA. She served as Future Farmers of America (FFA) president, district FFA vice president, 4-H state chief, 4-H regional scribe, and Beta Club treasurer. She was the 2020 FFA East Tennessee Star in Agribusiness winner. She was a member of the state-winning FFA Cooperative Development Challenge Team in 2019 and a three-time finalist in the state 4-H Beef Project. She served as a homecoming candidate for the FFA chapter in 2018 and won her school’s homecoming competition by raising more than $17,000. She will attend the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and pursue an agribusiness major with a focus on law and policy.
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.
To see photos of the winners, visit https://www.orau.org/news/releases/2020/2020-pollard-scholarships.html.
This press release was submitted by Amy Schwinge of ORAU.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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