The $15,000 scholarship includes an internship and the opportunity to participate in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Data Science Summer Institute. Both students began their internship with LLNL on May 26 as the first-ever recipients from UC Merced.
"Both Jose and Teagan have been interested in STEM-related programs and specifically data science and its real world applications for several years." Dona Crawford, chair of the Livermore Lab Foundation, said in a statement. "They are great role models for our future generation of scientists and engineers."
The foundation will support each student with their educational and living expenses as they focus on their studies, internship, and what to do after graduation.
Garcia-Esparza and Zuniga both have been praised for their academic achievements and research. According to Gregg Camfield, executive vice chancellor and provost, their excellence is emblematic of the goals of UC Merced.
"We are excited to further our involvement with both organizations and for the experiential learning opportunities this affords to Teagan and Jose and future UC Merced students," he said in a statement.
Last year, the foundation awarded its scholarship to Alan Noun from Cal State East Bay. Noun graduated this year and is pursuing a career in software development.
The foundation was created to supply opportunities and support for scientific research, innovative technology, and educational endeavors at LLNL. The foundation aims to advance fundamental knowledge, create impactful technologies that enhance human health, safety and quality of life.
"We will continue to identify opportunities that 'open the door' to the future for all who are interested in STEM in the greater Bay Area and Central Valley," Crawford said. "We appreciate the strong new partnership with UC Merced and wish both Jose and Teagan the very best as they start their senior year."