Local students earn scholarships from PEC


Students from McNeil High School and Westwood High School were among the chosen recipients for thousands of dollars in scholarships, Pedernales Electric Cooperative announced last week. 

The students, Kris Iyer and Tuan Pham of Westwood High School and Amritavarshini Mayavaram of McNeil High School, were each awarded $2,500 in scholarships during a reception at PEC’s headquarters in Johnson City. The students were among 40 other students from Austin area high schools given scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $10,000, totaling $120,000 in all. 

Pham, an 18-year-old senior at Westwood High School, said that receiving the scholarship felt immensely satisfying.  

“I was checking my email after school had just finished and I was rushed with gratification,” Pham said, adding that he hopes to study electrical and computer engineering in college to eventually start a career as an electronics or robotics engineer in Austin. 

“In a time of rising tuition and other costs, as well as an era of massive student debt, any amount of money is beneficial for helping me stay focused on learning rather than on how I will pay for it,” Pham said. 

Scholarships of $2,500 were also awarded to other local high school students, including Kaden Brunson of Cedar Park High School, Matthew Winkley of Tom Glenn High School, Rachel Beese of Leander High School, Kalyn O’Dell of Vista Ridge High School and Sydney Smith of Lago Vista High School. 

Recipients were selected from around 330 applications by a panel of judges based on their applicant profiles, including academic performance, community involvement, extracurricular activities and financial need. Applicants also submitted an essay in which they wrote how a PEC scholarship would help them achieve their educational and career goals. 

The scholarships can be used to pay expenses at accredited universities, colleges, junior colleges, technical schools or trade schools.