MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
Three Colonel Nate Smith Memorial Scholarships were presented to a Marine and two family members of Marines during the Museum Historical Society’s Quarterly Breakfast, at the Visitor’s Reception Center at the MCRD Museum, July 27.
Recipients of the $1000 scholarships were David Mendez, son of Master Sgt. David N. Mendez, contact team member, 12th Marine Corps District; Mariah Muller, daughter of 1 st Sgt. Stephen W. Muller, company 1st Sgt., Co. H, 2nd Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment; and Staff Sgt. Ethan Mahoney, instructor, Drill Instructor School.
Those eligible for the scholarships included Marines, sailors, their dependents, and those enrolled in an accredited graduate or undergraduate program. Applicants must also be assigned to the depot or the Western Recruiting Region. In addition, qualifying applicants had to have a high school diploma or planned on graduating this June.
The scholarships were based on academic performance, community and extracurricular activities and future potential. They were presented by Nancy Smith, wife of Col. Nate Smith, and Col. Carl. F. Huenefeld, chief of staff, MCRD and the WRR.
“There were many applicants, and they were all very strong,” said Lynn A. Stuart, executive director, MCRD Museum Historical Society. “The panel reviewed the applicants independently from each other and ranked them. When they came together, all three members of the panel ranked the same top three applicants. This made the final decision very easy.”
Whether it was with involvement with community projects, community organizations, or community service, the final members were all active members of their community, said Stuart.
Mendez graduated this year from Junipero Serra High School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. During his freshman and sophomore years, he was on the honor roll. He played high school football, baseball, and competed in track and field. He also volunteered with Coaches Youth Football; Habitat for Humanity; and served the homeless. Mendez was accepted at Whittier College, Whittier, Calif., and is aiming to earn a degree in kinesiology.
Muller graduated this year from Temecula Valley High School, Temecula, Calif., and was in the National Honor Society her junior and senior years. She volunteered with “invisible Children,” which help Ugandan children in war-affected areas; at her local library; and for the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure. Muller said she wants to combine her writing skills and interest in social networking to help the impoverished. She will use her scholarship at Berkley University, Berkley, Calif., where she has been accepted and will be attending this fall.
Mahoney has served 10 years in the Corps, receiving a meritorious promotion to both corporal and sergeant. After spending two and a half years training recruits as a drill instructor, he became an instructor at the depot’s Drill Instructor School, where he continues to serve. He has been on four overseas deployments; three in Iraq as a combat engineer. He has earned two Navy and Marine Achievement medals and one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal. He has earned 69 credit hours toward a degree in organizational management, and attends Ashford College, holding a grade point average of 3.67.
“I didn’t expect to win at all,” said Mahoney.
He attributes his family values to making him more competitive.
“It’s important to me to get an education and set the example for my family,” he said.