Alyssa Aguilar. Courtesy picture
Jimmy Wheeler/Courtesy Photo
Daniel Tafoya / Courtesy Photo
NEWS N3B LOS ALAMOS
Alyssa Aguilar, a student at Northern New Mexico College, and Daniel Tafoya and Jimmy Wheeler, both students at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos, were each awarded a $9,000 Danny Nichols and Dennis Huddleston Memorial Scholarship by N3B Los Alamos at the end of February.
N3B and its parent companies, Huntington Ingalls Industries and BWXT Technologies (BWXT), along with critical contractor partners Longenecker & Associates and Tetra Tech, have established the Danny Nichols and Dennis Huddleston Memorial Scholarship to attract talented students into remediation environmental, radioactive waste management and energy sectors.
N3B addresses the environmental impacts of the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Manhattan Project and Cold War-era operations for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Los Alamos Field Office of Environmental Management.
“I am always delighted to see this scholarship awarded to deserving students, as it often helps them launch professional careers near their colleges and hometowns,” said N3B President Kim Lebak. “A strong and talented workforce is essential to properly and safely perform this type of specialized work, so we are more than happy to offer this scholarship opportunity.”
Alyssa Aguilar, a sophomore at Northern New Mexico College, is pursuing an associate’s degree in radiation safety and a bachelor’s degree in environmental science. She looks forward to being a part of the various cleanup efforts at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
“My passion for a cleaner, safer environment has given me the opportunity to make a difference,” Aguilar said.
Daniel Tafoya, a student at UNM-Los Alamos seeking an Associate of Applied Science degree, is a tribal member and resident of Santa Clara Pueblo, where he was an active volunteer with the Santa Clara Fire Department. Clara Pueblo since 2011. He also worked in the Special Projects and Dam Safety program, where he “acquired a broad view of environmental and radioactive waste management.”
Jimmy Wheeler is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a certificate in welding at UNM-Los Alamos. He said he’s always loved the duo challenge of mechanical engineering – designing the parts – then welding the parts together. He enjoys learning how to properly select metal materials when welding and then safely dispose of them “to keep the environment safe and clean.”
The Danny Nichols and Dennis Huddleston Memorial Scholarship seeks students pursuing STEM degrees and is designed to support UNM-Los Alamos and Northern New Mexico College students who have completed at least 15 credit hours and have a minimum GPA of 3.3. Qualified candidates submitted brief essays about their background and interests.
In addition to an unrestricted $9,000 scholarship, this year’s winners had the opportunity to attend the 2022 Waste Management Symposia in Phoenix, Arizona to learn more about the field and be officially recognized. .
Previous scholarship recipients were Aaliyah Sandoval, Andrew Ortiz and Reyes Roybal for 2020, and Sheena Lewis, Belen Huerta and Althea Denlinger for 2021.
The annual Danny Nichols and Dennis Huddleston Memorial Scholarship honors the lives of longtime environmental professionals Danny Nichols and Dennis Huddleston.
Nichols has worked for over 30 years in the management of hazardous and radioactive waste disposal operations. He was Director of N3B’s Transuranic Waste Management Program and a respected leader within BWXT. He was well known for his good nature, expertise and willingness to invest in his colleagues.
Dennis Huddleston has worked for BWXT and other DOE contractors, coordinating complex environmental management programs at sites such as Hanford, Pantex, Rocky Flats and the Waste Insulation Pilot Plant. He was known for his expertise in solving difficult technical challenges, as well as his ability to provide strong leadership in times of stress and uncertainty.
N3B is a HII Nuclear led company with BWX Technologies, with critical contractors Longenecker & Associates and Tech2 Solutions. N3B is implementing the 10-year, $1.4 billion Los Alamos Legacy Cleanup contract for the local DOE Environmental Management Office in Los Alamos.