Investing In Our Youth Today Builds A Better Tomorrow

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Investing In Our Youth Today Builds A Better Tomorrow

We are pleased to recognize the 2020 Watson Land Company College Scholarship recipients: a selection of students who are pursuing their studies at institutions of higher education. WLC’s scholarship program was established in 1982 to provide financial assistance to qualified, promising young adults who live in the areas where we have a business presence. Since the scholarship program was established, Watson has awarded 38 scholarships to more than one hundred deserving future leaders of our communities. We are proud to honor these extraordinary individuals, as well as help to make a positive impact in the neighborhoods they reside in. 

The $10,000 scholarship, which consists of a $2,500 annual grant that is renewed over four years, acknowledges young adults who exhibit scholastic distinction, are involved in their community and are in need of financial aid. Each recipient must meet certain criteria, which includes self-selecting a rigorous course of study throughout high school in preparation for higher education, accomplishing positive contributions to the community by contributing his or her time and talent to support worthy causes while improving the quality of life for others, and conducting himself or herself with integrity and professionalism during his or her high school experience.

Courtney Hooks, Claremont McKenna College Sophomore

One such recipient who surpassed all these standards is Courtney Hooks. Currently, a sophomore at Claremont McKenna College studying Biochemistry, with a plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, Courtney was inspired to pursue a career in the sciences from her STEM-focused high school, the California Academy of Mathematics and Science in Carson, California. Studying renewable energy, sustainability, and advocacy for environmental racism in the black community are her passions, with a professional goal of conducting research in the area of environmentalism and sustainable energy.

“Over the years, I have become passionate about pursuing a career that works to improve the quality of life in my community, which has been negatively affected by diesel emissions coming from freeways for many years,” Courtney stated. 

Along the way, Courtney has also developed an interest in political legislation and advocacy in regard to green initiatives. She wants to search for new techniques in chemical engineering that “contribute to finding viable solutions to these and other environmental problems.” 

Growing up in Inglewood, California has been a big stimulus on her outlook. In particular, the low air quality, toxic chemicals, and pollution, as well as the health issues and racial inequities that stem from these elements, motivated Courtney to want to make a change. Studies show that African Americans are prone to live near landfills and industrial factories, in neighborhoods with higher instances of greenhouse gasses and toxic waste. Consequently, they are three times more likely to die from exposure to contaminants.

“I realize that my community is depending on me, and others, to make this dream a reality, because lives are truly depending on it,” Courtney said.

Community plays a large role in Courtney’s life. For a major portion of her teenage life, she actively volunteered for the Concerned Citizens Community Involvement (CCCI), a non-profit dedicated to promoting health, education, and well-being for people living in South Los Angeles. She also is an Executive Board Member of the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Board for the Sunrise Movement at the Claremont Colleges. And most recently, she has been contributing her time to test South Los Angeles community members for COVID-19.

This mindset of giving back is what motivated Courtney to apply for a Watson Land Company scholarship. Watson’s core values reflected the tenets that are important to her as well, and so it seemed like a perfect match. 

“I am honored to have been given the opportunity to represent this scholarship with the utmost pride and respect that it deserves,” She stated. 

We are excited about Courtney’s future and congratulate her on winning a Watson Land Company College Scholarship. We would also like to thank everyone who has applied for WLC scholarships; Watson wishes all of them educational, professional, and personal success. 

To learn more about Watson Land Company and its community endeavors, please explore our website.