LAESF Career Pathways Scholarship Winner Strives for Career at LANL
Jimmy Wheeler, a 2021 Pojoaque Valley High School graduate and 2023 Career Pathways Scholarship recipient, has long aspired to join the ranks of LANL employees. Jimmy took time from his busy schedule to speak with the LANL Foundation Scholarship Program Director about his journey and progress toward this long standing goal.
Born and raised in Pojoaque, Jimmy spent a few of his high school years with his mother in Georgia, but returned to New Mexico and lived with his grandparents until graduating. When asked about his interest in working at LANL, Jimmy said, “I’ve always been a history buff and I am fascinated by the legacy of LANL. I have an aunt who works at LANL and I grew up hearing about the mission of the laboratory. I would be proud to work for them.”
As soon as he graduated high school, Jimmy began taking courses at UNM Los Alamos. “I wanted to get a head start, so I enrolled right away.”
“Welding is a passion of mine. I was first exposed to it by my great grandfather, who showed me how to weld things around the farm. I also love math and enjoy the work that Mechanical Engineers do. I have always been fascinated by how all mechanical systems work together.” Luckily for Jimmy, UNM Los Alamos offers degree and certificate programs in both of these areas, allowing him to pursue his dreams while remaining close to home and family. Jimmy is currently enrolled full-time in pursuit of a Certificate in Welding Technology while taking coursework toward a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
A first-generation college student, Jimmy sees education as the direct path to a better life. “Earning my college degree will be a major accomplishment not only for me but for my whole family. I know they will be proud to see me be successful and make a career for myself. I would like to say thank you to all the donors at LANL who helped make this scholarship possible. I am grateful for the scholarship awarded to me and thank you all for giving me this opportunity to continue my education. I would love to support the scholarship program once I finish school and hopefully begin working at LANL.”
In addition to being a full time student and working to support himself, Jimmy is an avid elk hunter, which allows him to disconnect from the stressors of life and spend time outdoors with his grandfather.
Please consider making a donation in any amount TODAY! 100% of your donation will go directly to scholarships for students like Jimmy. Click here to give now!