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Estrellita Sena – 2020 Bryan Fearey & Maureen Connolly Scholarship for Science and the Arts Recipient

Estrellita Sena is the recipient of the 2020 Bryan Fearey & Maureen Connolly Scholarship for Science and the Arts, with a grant of $2,500 per year for up to four years at the University of New Mexico for her outstanding academics in Advanced Chemistry.

Sena attended Española Valley High in the community where she was raised. She describes Española Valley as, “…a really small, yet nice place. Everyone knows each other, supports, and watches out for each other.”

From a young age, Sena had a fascination with forensic science. “When I was younger, I used to watch Bones and I loved it so much. I really didn’t think of it as a career choice then. When I got to high school and began taking chemistry courses and eventually Advanced Chemistry, I fell in love with science and wanted to stick with chemistry because it is something I’m excited about. It makes me want to move forward with that as a career.”

Enduring Commitment to Science

Sena’s excitement for science and drive to fill a role that is lacking in her community prompted her to apply for the Bryan Fearey & Maureen Connolly Scholarship for Science and the Arts. The Fearey/Connolly Endowed Scholarship for Science and the Arts was created to honor their enduring commitment to science as it is fundamental to the nation’s national security needs.

The scholarship also provides financial support to students with similar interests in chemistry, performing music, and/or visual arts. The initial endowment awards a $10,000, four-year scholarship ($2,500 a year for up to four years) to one recipient annually.

 “I really wanted to make my family and my community proud of what I can do. I’m the oldest of five so it’s important to be a positive example to my siblings so they know they can go to college and succeed like me,”

When asked about her support system, she says, “Family. Number one. Above all. They’ve been with me from the start. I don’t come from a wealthy family. My parents work really hard to provide for us and that always meant a lot to me. Tim and Myra Martinez are a huge part as well, they’re there for anything I may need. I have a really huge support system and I’m grateful for each and every one of them.”


Bryan Fearey met Estrellita Sena in-person to present the scholarship. They found another common interest aside from chemistry, that of music.

“I didn’t know when I applied for the scholarship, but music played a big part in me being selected – I love music. I play the keys, I sing, and I just love it.”  Sena had the opportunity to meet Fearey and Connolly after receiving the scholarship.  “Dr. Fearey told me his whole family consists of musicians so it was really cool getting to know him. I’m excited to use this scholarship for my career and to collaborate with Dr. Fearey.”

Striving for excellence

Sena will be attending the University of New Mexico to study chemistry. She chose UNM because it is close to home and she’s “always wanted to be a Lobo.” Outside of chemistry and music, Sena will be trying out for the UNM Cheer Squad.

“I have to give a huge shout-out to my high school cheer coaches for giving me life lessons on and off the mat.”

We are very excited for Estrellita Sena and wish her well on her education journey. Go Lobos!