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ORAU announces recipients of 2020 Pollard Scholarships

Scholarships recognize area academic achievers and leaders

ORAU has awarded five William G. Pollard Scholarships of $2,500 each toward undergraduate studies for the 2020-2021 academic year. The recipients of this year’s scholarships are Jamie Batson, Cody Blankenship, Olivia Hudson, Audra Jean (AJ) Jones and Savannah Jones.

Each year, ORAU awards these scholarships to employees’ children or stepchildren who display exceptional achievements in their high school or undergraduate studies. Applicants must submit official transcripts from all high schools and colleges attended, three references (at least two of which must be from teachers) and a 500-word essay describing professional and personal interests.

The William G. Pollard Scholarship Awards are presented in honor of ORAU’s founder in recognition of his dedication to science and education. A University of Tennessee physics professor, Pollard founded the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies—which later became ORAU—to link the valuable scientific resources developed in Oak Ridge as part of the Manhattan Project with regional universities.

Below are additional details on each of this year’s winners:

Impact Areas

Jamie Batson

Daughter of Mark Batson and Tresa Thompson Batson of Knoxville, Jamie Batson is a 2019 graduate of Karns High School where she was salutatorian and a National Merit Finalist with a 4.68 grade point average (GPA). She attends the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and has earned a 4.0 GPA in her first two semesters. She works as an intern at Team Health’s Tax Accounting Department. She loves animals and has worked many hours dog-sitting since she was 12 years old. Batson plans to earn a master’s degree in accounting, pass the Certified Public Accountant exam and work in the field of forensic accounting.

Cody Blankenship

Son of Steve and Sara Blankenship of Knoxville, Cody Blankenship is a 2020 graduate of Apostolic Christian School. He earned a 4.19 GPA, was selected as valedictorian and completed 12 hours of dual-enrollment courses to graduate with distinction. Blankenship helped to found and lead the STEM Club at his school. The club set up a computer lab and completed a physical computing curriculum on Raspberry Pi computers. He was captain of the varsity soccer and basketball teams, and he won a gold medal in cross-country at the 2019 National Apostolic Christian School Competition. Blankenship will pursue a degree in computer science at the Tickle College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Olivia Hudson

Daughter of Paul and Natascha Hudson, Olivia Hudson is a graduate and valedictorian of Coalfield High School, where she participated in BETA Club, Debate Club and Future Business Leaders of America. She enjoys playing sports, particularly volleyball. Her interest in reading and writing led to her write a novel, which she seeks to publish. She will attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and pursue her goal of becoming a cardiologist. “I want to be able to give back to my community and hope that I will be able to make a difference in someone’s life,” she said.

Audra Jean (AJ) Jones

Daughter of Karen Chitwood of Oak Ridge, AJ Jones is a 2018 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, where she earned 3.88 GPA and graduated with honors, state honors and state distinction. She attends Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, where she has a cumulative 3.87 GPA and is on the Dean’s List. She was recognized by Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and the National Society of Leadership Success. She participates in the Pre-Law Society, Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature. In 2019, she served as a legal intern for the Seventh Judicial Public Defender’s Office in Clinton. After receiving a bachelor of science degree in political science, Jones plans to attend law school and then practice civil and criminal law.

Savannah Jones

Daughter of Trevor and Melissa Jones of Andersonville, Savannah Jones graduated from Union County High School with a 3.8 GPA. She served as Future Farmers of America (FFA) president, district FFA vice president, 4-H state chief, 4-H regional scribe and Beta Club treasurer. She was the 2020 FFA East Tennessee Star in Agribusiness winner. She was a member of the state winning FFA Cooperative Development Challenge Team in 2019 and a three-time finalist in the state 4-H Beef Project. She served as a homecoming candidate for the FFA chapter in 2018 and won her school’s homecoming competition by raising more than $17,000. She will attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and pursue an agribusiness major with a focus on law and policy.

ORAU Media Contacts and Information

About ORAU

ORAU, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, provides science, health, and workforce solutions that address national priorities and serve the public interest. Through our specialized teams of experts and access to a consortium of more than 150 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local, and commercial customers to provide innovative scientific and technical solutions and help advance their missions. ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Media Contacts

Pam BoneeDirector, CommunicationsCell: (865) 603-5142
Wendy WestManager, CommunicationsCell: (865) 207-7953