The Ascend Cares Foundation, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization managed and funded by Ascend Performance Materials, awarded scholarships to 25 children of Ascend employees in Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Texas.
The program, now in its third year, awarded a total of $50,000 to the children of Ascend employees located at US sites and selected based on their outstanding community service and strong academic achievements. The scholarships are made possible by employee donations and support from Ascend in the form of matching funds. Each applicant was required to meet specific academic criteria, write essays outlining their community service experiences and provide letters of recommendation.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to invest in tomorrow’s leaders and provide these students with some financial support as they start the next phase of their academic careers,” said Rachell Gold, executive director of the Ascend Cares Foundation. “Our scholarship committee was very impressed with these students' hard work in school and commitment to their communities.”
2017 scholarship recipients include the following students:
Anna Elmore of Alvin, 18, is a graduate of Alvin High School. Anna was a member of the National Honor Society and was active in her high school’s band where she played clarinet, bass clarinet and served as drum major and head drum major during her junior and senior years. Outside of school, she volunteers with the Alvin Animal Adoption Center. Anna plans to attend Texas State University in the fall and major in marketing. Her parents are Carolyn and Jeff Elmore. Jeff Elmore is an operator with Ascend.
Shelby Joseph of San Marcos, 22, is a first year graduate student at Texas State University. Shelby is majoring in professional counseling. She is a part of Aggie Guide Dogs and Service Dogs, Texas A&M Counseling Services and the National Society for Leadership and Success. Outside of school, she volunteers with the Bryan Animal Center, Texas Counseling Association and Phoenix Center. Her parents are Laurel and James Joseph. James Joseph is an environmental technician with Ascend.
Kathryn Kaiser of Santa Fe, 19, is a sophomore at Texas A&M University majoring in education. She is involved in Big Event, Campus Crusade for Christ and serves as a counselor for a campus organization called Impact. Her parents are Jill and Scott Kaiser. Scott Kaiser is a process technician with Ascend.
Shalini Lakshmi of Alvin, 19, is a freshman at the University of Houston, majoring in engineering and currently a member of the National Honor Society. Outside of school, she volunteers with the Houston Food Bank, Memorial Hermann Hospital and the Alvin Public Library. Her parents are Giri Lakshmi and Vanirao Appaji. Giri Lakshmi is a leader of the company’s six sigma program, known as A2E and is based in Alvin.
Brock Zayas of Friendswood, 19, is a freshman at San Jacinto College – South where he is majoring in mechanical engineering. Outside of school, he volunteers with a number of schools and community organizations, including Bauerschlag Elementary School, Friendswood Community Church, Lake Jackson – Camp Karankawa, Landolt Elementary School, Gilmore Carnival, Ross Elementary School, Football Community Service, Creekside Middle School, Clear Springs High School and Bronco’s Little League Football. His parents are Christine and Fred Zayas. Fred Zayas is an A2E and quality leader with Ascend.
Malloray Diamond of Athens, 21, is a first year graduate student at the University of Alabama where she is majoring in law. As an undergraduate, she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi and provided peer mentoring for the University of Alabama’s Department of History. Outside of school, she volunteered with the Ronald McDonald House Charities and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Her parents are Leigha and Greg Diamond. Leigha Diamond is a senior administrator with Ascend.
Kelsey Rae Walling of Danville, 21, is a senior at Jacksonville State University, majoring in communications. Outside of school, she volunteers with StreetReach, Legacy Village, No Fences Cowboy Church, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Phi Mu Fraternity. Her parents are Brent and Kristal Walling. Brent Walling is a chemical process operator with Ascend.
Braden Wright of Decatur, 18, is a senior at Austin High School. Braden plans to attend Calhoun Community College and major in engineering. Outside of school, he volunteers with the Ascend Cares Foundation and Rebuilding Together. His parents are Kelley Wright and Terry Lee Wright. Terry Lee Wright is a maintenance coordinator with Ascend.
Taylor Maulden of Elberta, 18, is a senior at Abeka Academy. Taylor plans to attend Coastal Alabama Community College and major in physical therapy. Outside of school, she volunteers with Hope Haven, Ecumenical Ministries, a Benefit for Leland Stewart, Optimist Club and the Foley Fire Department. Her parents are Erin and Richard Maulden. Richard Maulden is a maintenance planner/scheduler with Ascend Performance Materials in Foley.
Taylor McCord of Fort Mill, 21, is a senior at Clemson University, majoring in sociology. Outside of school, she volunteers with a number of philanthropic groups, including Camp Spearhead, Adopt-a-Highway, Clemson Elementary, Clemson Child Center, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, South Carolina Cancer Foundation, American Cancer Society and American Red Cross. Her parents are Tina and Hal McCord. Hal McCord is the site director at the company’s Greenwood facility.
Lauren Rhodes of Ninety Six, 18, graduated from Ninety Six High School and plans to attend the College of Charleston and major in early childhood education. Outside of school, Taylor is involved with Salkehatchie, Operation Christmas Child, Salvation Army Angel Tree, Meals on Wheels, St. Paul Vacation Bible School, Miracle League and Cheerleading Kiddie Camp. Her parents are Dawn and Gregory Rhodes. Gregory Rhodes is an electrical engineer with Ascend.
Halli Talley of Waterloo, 21, is a senior at the College of Charleston, majoring in special education. Outside of school, she volunteers with REACH where she mentors students with intellectual and/or development disabilities. Her parents are Wendy and Timmy Talley. Timmy Talley is a polymer operator with Ascend.
Allison Anderson of Flower Mound, 19, will be a sophomore at Harding University, majoring in marketing and public relations. Outside of school, she volunteers with Searcy Senior Center, The Maple House, Lake Village Nursing Home, Denver Recue, Impact Missions and Wonder Elementary School. Her parents are Cheryl and Joel Anderson. Joel Anderson is a human resources director based with Ascend.
Robert Astorga of Houston, 19, is a freshman at the University of Houston – Downtown, majoring in political science. Outside of school, he has been involved with Helms Elementary School, Houston Food Bank, Bayou City Art Festival, St. Joseph – St. Stephen Church, Yellowstone Academy and the City of Houston – Municipal Courts. His parents are Dina and Marcel Astorga. Dina Astorga is an international trade compliance specialist with Ascend.
Jonathan Tran of Houston, 18, is a senior at Clear Lake High School who plans to attend Texas A&M University and major in mechanical engineering. Outside of school, Jonathan volunteers with St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church and the Sunflower Mission. His parents are Terri and Peter Tran. Peter Tran is HRIS advisor with Ascend.
Micah Brown of Flomaton, 21, is a junior at Troy University, majoring in elementary education. Outside of school, she volunteers with Feed the Veterans, Open Gym, Park Memorial, Heart Walk, City Wide Clean Up, Salvation Army Bell Ringing, Food Drive Alpha Gamma Delta and Harvest Pumpkin Patch. Her parents are Lori and Michael T. Brown. Michael T. Brown is a maintenance mechanic with Ascend.
Omari Christopher Harris of Pensacola, 17, is a senior at Booker T. Washington High School. He plans to attend Florida A&M University and major in business administration. Outside of school, Omari volunteers with Hope Camp, Cobb Community Center, Mt. Pilgrim Vacation Bible School and the Ronald McDonald House. His parents are Marcia and Hillary Harris Jr. Marcia Harris is a chemical processor with Ascend.
Keyana Mahallati of Pensacola, 17, is a senior at West Florida High School of Advanced Technology. Keyana plans to attend Florida State University and major in biological science. Outside of school, she volunteers with Chain Reaction. Her parents are Golnar Mahallati and Majid Mahallati. Majid Mahallati is a lead chemical operator with Ascend.
Abri’ McDaniel of Cantonment, 18, is a sophomore at Troy University, majoring in biomedical sciences. She is a member of the Troy University Gospel Choir. Outside of school, she is involved with the Ronald McDonald House and NAACP. Her parents are Twana and Donald McDaniel. Donald McDaniel is a powerhouse operator with Ascend.
Tylon McDaniel of Pensacola, 18, is a senior at West Florida High school of Advanced Technology. Tylon plans to attend Pensacola State College and major in engineering. Outside of school, he volunteers with the Ronald McDonald House, ARC Gateway and the Optimist Club. His parents are Donna and Robin McDaniel. Robin McDaniel is a CP control room lead with Ascend.
Jacob Norre of Cantonment, 19, is a sophomore at Texas A&M University where he is a member of the Corps of Cadets. Outside of school, he volunteers with the Miracle League. His parents are Cathy and Michael Norre. Michael Norre is a project manager with Ascend.
Bailee Reeder of Pensacola, 19, is a sophomore at and ambassador for Pensacola State College where she is majoring in nursing. Her parents are Dana and Justin Reeder. Justin Reeder is a lead processor with Ascend.
Shelby Lee Willett of Milton, 20, is a junior at the University of Mobile majoring in elementary education. Outside of school, Shelby volunteers in the vacation bible school programs with Wacissa United Methodist Church, Hickory Hammock Baptist Church and Shepherd House. She has also done mission work in Guatemala and Peru. Her parents are Casey and Trent Willett. Trent Willett is a lead mechanic with Ascend.
Allison Woodfin of Molino, 19, is a freshman at Troy University, majoring in communications and a member of Chi Omega. Outside of school, she serves as an intern in the Escambia County Office of Community and Media Relations. She has volunteered with Escambia 4-H, a National Youth Development Program under the guidance of the University of Florida. Her parents are Jennifer and Hudson Woodfin. Hudson Woodfin is a reliability specialist and mobile workforce lead with Ascend.
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