Buick Achievers Scholarship Names First Five Recipients


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Student winners featured in Buick Human Highlight Reel Show

DETROIT--April 5, 2013: The Buick Achievers Scholarship Program today announced the first five of 100 U.S. high school and undergraduate college students that will receive up to $25,000 in annual scholarships for demonstrating excellence in the classroom and in the community. 

Funded by the General Motors Foundation and established in 2011, Buick Achievers is one of the largest scholarship programs in the country. The program provides 100 students with up to $25,000 renewable for four years, and one additional year for those entering a qualified, five-year engineering program. Additionally, 1,000 students receive a one-time $2,000 award. To date, Buick Achievers has awarded nearly $12 million to more than 2,100 college-bound students.

"With the current U.S. student loan debt hovering around $1 trillion, the impact the Buick Achievers Scholarship will have on these students is immeasurable," said GM Foundation President Vivian Pickard. "For some, they will be the first in their family to attend college and this program will provide an opportunity to pursue an academic career without the related financial pressures."

With the future of manufacturing and many other industries driven by new technologies, the Buick Achievers Scholarship Program supports students interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, math, also known as STEM, information technology and other fields related to the automotive industry.

"The combination of academic achievement and community leadership exhibited by these Buick Achievers underscores the core values of this scholarship," said Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president, Buick Marketing. "Supporting students interested in a STEM major or career is essential for the growth in our industry and we applaud these future innovators and leaders for their commitment."

Featured during the Buick Human Highlight Reel Show that showcases inspirational stories of former student athletes and future leaders and innovators, the first five recipients of the 2013 Buick Achievers Scholarship Program include:

Donald Chao of Bellevue, Wash. , plans to attend the University of Michigan and major in mechanical engineering. As a seniorat Newport High School in Bellevue, he founded the non-profit Ocean Acidification Education Project, which has motivated thousands of individuals to protect marine ecosystems from deterioration. He served a five-year term on the City of Bellevue Youth Advisory Council, was the marketing committee director for the Arthritis Foundation (Great West Region), and founded the "Teach My Grandma" program to educate seniors on how to use technology to connect to their families. Donald is a member of his high school's National Honor Society, Key Club and swim team.

Nicole Kennard of Acworth, Ga. ,plans to attend Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall and major in Materials Engineering. As a seniorat North Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga., Nicole   has volunteered at nursing homes, toy drives, and Earth Day and Veterans Day events. She founded the Green Team, her school's first environmental club. Through her leadership, the club established a recycling program, which recycles classroom supplies and materials used during community and sporting events. Nicole is a member of her school's Marching Band, National Honor Society and Alpha School Leadership Team.

Sharnique Smith of Memphis, Tenn. , will attend the University of Mississippi in the fall. A senior at Arlington High School in Arlington, Tenn., Sharnique has participated in numerous community service projects through her involvement in the Teenage Improvement Club. Sharnique has also served as the Community Service Chairperson for the Phi Gamma Kappa Organization, assisting with various events including Earth Day. She also works as a volunteer dance instructor for young girls. Sharnique is active at her high school and is a member of the varsity dance team, Future Business Leaders of America and Multicultural Club.

Devin Willis of Chateaugay, NY , is set to attend Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., with plans to major in chemical engineering. His list of volunteer activities includes work at the local humane society, food pantry, blood drives and Operation Christmas Child. An avid skier, Devin mentors beginning youth skiers through an Elementary Ski Day program. Devin is a member of his school's National Honor Society, varsity soccer and alpine racing teams. 

Benjamin Zavala of Pittsburgh attends the University of Cincinnati, majoring in Transportation Design. Benjamin's passion for cars has led to his participation in numerous automotive design competitions. He has been recognized for his design concepts for automotive seats, tires, and a street legal electric car. Benjamin also volunteers at a computer recycling center, restoring computers that then are donated to local schools and families. During his college career, Benjamin has participated in several internships to support his interest in the automotive industry and is expected to graduate in 2014.

The complete 2013 class of Buick Achievers will be announced later this year. For more information on the program, visit Buick Achievers .

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