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ORAU 2023 Pollard Scholarship recipients announced

Scholarship program recognizes academic achievers and leaders

ORAU awarded five William G. Pollard Scholarships of $2,500 each toward undergraduate studies for the 2023-24 academic year. The recipients of this year’s scholarships include Taylor Layman, Nic Reynolds, Ella Stewart, Blake Hudson and Lauren Ferguson.

Annually, ORAU awards these scholarships to employees’ children who display exceptional achievements in their high school or undergraduate studies. To be considered, 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 their professional and personal interests.

Below are additional details on each of the 2023 winners:

Impact Areas

Taylor Layman, daughter of Dr. Craig and Neisha Layman of Knoxville, is a junior at East Tennessee State University where she plans to study biochemistry with a long-term goal of attending medical school and becoming a pediatrician. She is currently involved in an organic chemistry research internship at the University of Tennessee focusing on the isoprenoid pathway. The goal of the research is to alter compounds to make them membrane-permeant, so they may be used for several metabolic purposes.

2023 Pollard Scholarship winner Taylor Layman

Nic Reynolds, son of Sheena and William Reynolds, graduated as valedictorian from Anderson County High School in 2023. He plans to attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville this fall as a dual physics and history major. Reynolds has an interest in politics and has been heavily involved in community organizing efforts at both the state and national levels. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games. After he graduates from UTK, Reynolds hopes to pursue a Ph.D. and a law degree.

2023 Pollard Scholarship winner Nic Reynolds

Ella Stewart, daughter of Leigha Justice and Mark Stewart, is a rising senior at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, majoring in journalism and electronic media with a creative concentration and a minor in business administration. She made the spring 2023 dean’s list with magna cum laude honors. In addition to her coursework, Stewart is a content creator for Ablaze magazine, a student-led media publication, that launched its first print edition in May 2023. She also is a communications and information student assistant with UT Facilities Services where she provides social media posts.

2023 Pollard Scholarship winner Ella Stewart

Blake Hudson, son of Paul and Natascha Hudson, will attend Tennessee Technological University to study electrical engineering this fall. In his free time, Hudson is very involved in his church, loves being outside and enjoys working on small engines. He owns a landscaping business that he started last summer. Hudson is looking forward to the journey of becoming an electrical engineer, and he hopes to give back to his community and make a difference in someone’s life as he achieves his goals.

2023 Pollard Scholarship winner Blake Hudson

Lauren Ferguson, daughter of Michelle Ferguson, is a rising sophomore at Ohio State University where she is majoring in biomedical engineering and biochemistry. She plans to use her degrees to pursue a career in cancer research. This summer, Ferguson is researching methods to treat radiation-resistant cancers at the University of Cincinnati through the Cancer Research Scholars Program. At Ohio State, she works in the engineering department as a teaching assistant and as a math tutor in the Math and Statistics Learning Center. Ferguson also is the president of Knitting and Crafting Club.

2023 Pollard Scholarship winner Lauren Ferguson

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.

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