ERDC Alumni Association awards 9 scholarships

Published 4:53 pm Friday, June 21, 2024

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Alumni Association announced the winners of their 2024 scholarships Friday in Vicksburg. Nine high school graduates were recognized by the ERDC Alumni Association for their dedication, academic excellence and a promising future in their respective fields of study.

“Today, we celebrate the culmination of excellence and ambition as we honor nine ERDC Alumni Scholarship recipients,” said Ernie Smith, ERDC Alumni Association president. “We allocated $9,000 for 2024 through annual donations and fundraisers. This initiative underscores our commitment to paying it forward, attracting talented students to shape the future of research and conservation.”

Led by Chairperson Dr. Peggy Callaway, the ERDC Alumni scholarship committee reviewed numerous submissions to select the recipients. Committee members included Dr. James Houston, Dr. Bill Martin, Dr. Reed Mosher and Dr. Thomas Richardson.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“When we review these applications, we look for leadership qualities,” said Callaway. It’s heartening to see so many promising young minds eager to make an impact.”

Callaway also stated that the vision of the association is to “foster a strong community around education and ensure that our youth have the support and resources to thrive.”

There were nine recipients of the $1,000 scholarships. Addison Averett, a graduate of St. Aloysius High School, received the Kimmy Melton Memorial Scholarship for her embodiment of generosity and servant leadership. She plans to pursue biological sciences at the University of Mississippi.  She is the daughter of Jeff and Bess Averett.

Steven Clement, from St. Aloysius High School, will study aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University. He is the son of David and Lara Clement. 

Wesley Cowan, a homeschool graduate, aims to delve into forestry at Mississippi State University. He is the son of Mark and Jennifer Cowan.

Abby Garton, from River City Early College, will attend the University of Mississippi to study pharmaceutical sciences. She is the daughter of Byron and Amy Garton. 

James Hearn, a graduate of Porter’s Chapel Academy, will pursue civil engineering at Mississippi State University. He is the son of James William Hearn and Christy Hearn. 

Walker Lambiotte, from St. Aloysius High School, will pursue biological sciences at the University of Mississippi. He is the son of Brian and Chelsey Lambiotte.

Timothy Leach, a Clinton High School graduate, will study biology and psychology at Mississippi College. He is the son of Michael and Carrie Leach. 

John “Jax” Richards, from Littleton High School in Littleton, Mass., will pursue civil engineering at either Rochester Institute of Technology or the University of Colorado. He is the son of John and Katie Richards. 

Clara Smith, from St. Aloysius High School, plans to study chemical engineering at Mississippi State  University. She is the daughter of David and Heather Smith.

The recipients were happy to share their enthusiasm upon receiving the award.

“I’m honored to receive the ERDC Alumni Scholarship as I begin my journey in pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Mississippi,” said Abby Garton. “This support motivates me to excel in my studies and future career.”

Cowan expressed how much this award means to him. 

“Knowing two other recipients this year, who have accomplished so much during their high-school careers, makes this honor even more meaningful. It’s a wonderful way for ERDC to give back to our community and support the academic pursuits of young people.”

“Many recipients over years have come through ERDC programs like robotics,” said Callaway. “It’s rewarding to see them return, participate in summer events and even secure internships.”

One recent example of the success of the ERDC programs is Steven Clement. 

“Working with researchers and robotics teams as a student for over six years has been incredibly inspiring for me,” Clement said. “Seeing their dedication and achievements has fueled my passion for engineering.”

ERDC Commander Col. Christian Patterson emphasized the significance of the ERDC Alumni Association.  

“I encourage members of the ERDC family to join the alumni association,” Patterson urged. “Their steadfast support of ERDC’s initiatives and active participation are crucial for our continued growth. Together, with more members on board, we have limitless potential to achieve remarkable things.'”

The ERDC Alumni Association, composed of retirees and former employees of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), remains dedicated to supporting educational initiatives and fostering future scientists and engineers, officials said. Through donations and fundraising events, scholarships and other forms of financial assistance are created.  Since the formation of the association in 2018, approximately $37,500 has been awarded in scholarships.  The association underscores its commitment to advancing education and supporting promising individuals in their academic pursuits.