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Urban Students Named 2019 Math and Science Scholars

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Tonya Harris

June 5, 2019                                                                           (202) 393-2427 or



Urban Students Named 2019 Math and Science Scholars


Council of the Great City Schools Awards CGCS-Bernard Harris Scholarships


WASHINGTON, D.C.— Four graduating high school seniors have been selected by the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) to receive the 2019 CGCS-Bernard Harris Math and Science Scholarship. The students were chosen from several hundred applicants in urban school districts across the nation for their academic performance, leadership qualities and community involvement.

The scholarship was created by former NASA astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris, the first African-American to walk in space, to encourage and assist promising students of diverse backgrounds who plan to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies after high school.

The awards were given to two African-American and two Hispanic seniors from high schools in four of the 75 urban school districts represented by the Council.

“These scholarships are a wonderful way to promote academic excellence in math and science and spur more young people to enter the STEM field,” said Dr. Harris. “I am proud to support these young men and women as they create a brighter future for themselves and become the leaders and innovators of tomorrow.”

Each scholar will receive $5,000 for continued education in a STEM-related field. This year’s award winners are:

  • DeGreer Harris, Charles R. Drew Charter School, Atlanta Public Schools
  • Nasya Lucien, Nova High School, Broward County (FL) Public Schools
  • Ruben Marroquin, East Early College High School, Houston Independent School District
  • Kaitlyn Quesada, San Fernando Senior High School, Los Angeles Independent School District

In the fall, Harris will attend Stanford University and major in either material science engineering or chemical engineering. Lucien will study biomedical engineering at Duke University. Marroquin plans to study electrical and computer engineering at Rice University, and Quesada will pursue a degree in bioengineering at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Formerly called the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Math and Science Scholarship, the name of the financial aid program changed when Harris assumed the funding through his Harris Institute.

“Throughout the years these competitive scholarships have provided talented minority students in big-city school districts a way to pursue STEM studies after high school and excel in their career pursuits,” said Council Executive Director Michael Casserly. “We appreciate the generous support of The Harris Institute, which enabled this important scholarship program to continue.”

Administration of the scholarship program, including the application process, pre-selection and presentation of awards, is provided by CGCS. Dr. Harris makes the final selection of recipients.



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About The Council of the Great City Schools

The Council of the Great City Schools is the only national organization exclusively representing the needs of urban public schools.  Composed of 75 large city school districts, its mission is to promote the cause of urban schools and to advocate for inner-city students through legislation, research and media relations.  The organization also provides a network for school districts sharing common problems to exchange information, and to collectively address new challenges as they emerge to deliver the best possible education for urban youth.  



About The Harris Institute

The Harris Institute is a 501 (c) (3), non-profit organization founded by former NASA Astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr., to serve socially and economically disadvantaged communities locally and across the nation striving to reach the most underserved populations in the areas of Education, Health, and Wealth. The institute supports programs that empower individuals, in particular minorities and economically and/ or socially disadvantaged, to recognize their potential and pursue their dreams. The education mission of The Harris Institute is to enable youth to develop and achieve their full potential through the support of social, recreational and educational programs. The Harris Institute believes students can be prepared now for the careers of the future through a structured education program and the use of positive role models. More than 50,000 students have participated and benefited from THI programs.