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Morgan Kopecky, Shaun Howard announced as SCAG scholarship winners in Orange County

Two students were announced Thursday as Orange County recipients of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) 2019 scholarship.

Morgan Kopecky of Irvine, a Senior at Woodbridge High School, and Shaun Howard, a Senior at Aliso Niguel High School in Aliso Viejo, will receive $4,000 in financial support and participate in a two-week internship with SCAG or a local planning agency.

The scholarship program, now in its ninth year, is intended to provide financial support to a select group of high school and community college students and offer local planning experience that students can use to develop their long-term career goals.

Ten students from across the six-county SCAG region were announced as winners during SCAG’s Regional Council meeting in Los Angeles.

“We’re so happy to be able to help Morgan and Shaun in the next stage of their academic journeys. They are remarkable young adults and future leaders for our region,” said Bill Jahn, President of SCAG.

As part of the application process, students were required to submit a completed application form; a minimum 500-word essay, describing their interests in urban planning and public policy; two letters of recommendation; and a current academic transcript.

Kopecky plans to attend Stanford University, majoring in Engineering.

In her essay, she wrote that she wants to use her passion for engineering to inspire others and keep them informed about changes in their community: “I hope to communicate my engineering work to lawmakers so they can make informed and conscious decisions that will impact millions. Bridging the divide between STEM fields and policy making allows scientists and government to improve the lives of everyone, and I cannot wait to be part of this.”

Howard plans to major in Civil Engineering at UCLA. “The current state of automobiles in America puts too much strain on people’s health and welfare,” he wrote in his essay. “My highest aspiration is to become a transportation engineer and urban planner who helps encourage a movement toward transportation infrastructure and urban policy that is much more sympathetic to people, not cars. I believe with full conviction that putting the spotlight onto actual human beings will have a beneficial impact that we have thus far been denying ourselves.”

This article was released by the Southern California Association of Governments.