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Sandy Journal

Canyon School District students receive STEM scholarships

Jul 25, 2017 03:55PM ● By Julie Slama

Albion Middle School student Alvin Tai recently received a RizePoint STEM scholarship to attend the Robotics Exploration camp from RizePoint CEO Frank Maylett. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Albion Middle School student Alvin Tai wants to learn more about robotics.
So the sixth-grader decided to apply for a RizePoint STEM scholarship to attend the Robotics Exploration camp to learn more about the field.
“I’ve had fun learning about robotics, so I’m really interested in wanting to learn more,” Alvin said.
On May 17, 20 Canyons School District students from fifth grade through tenth grade were honored as RizePoint scholarship recipients after a committee reviewed their applications, which included personal explanations of their own ambitions to learn at a STEM camp, their academic records and recommendations from a teacher and a peer. 
RizePoint, headquartered in Cottonwood Heights, has mobile and cloud-based auditing software that helps organizations improve the quality, safety and sustainability of their products, services and facilities.  Companies can gather better data, see results earlier and act faster on any red flags.  RizePoint’s auditing software is used by five of the top eight hospitality brands, including Marriott and IHG, and five of the top eight food service brands, including McDonald’s and Wendy’s.
This is the second year the RizePoint scholarships have been awarded. Most of the recipients are students in fifth grade and middle school.
“This helps students attend a summer camp outside of what they learn in the district,” Canyons Education Foundation Development Officer Laura Barlow said. “It gives our students a great opportunity to learn new, fun things and that is huge.  It enhances what they’re already learning and gives them a jumpstart into STEM. It excites students about learning.”
Students selected their camps and some of those chosen this year include GREAT Camp, Girls Go Digital, Tech Camp, HTML Coding, Lego Mindstorms and Scratch, Smart Camp, Code Changers, Youth Academy of Excellence Inventions of Antiquity, Aviation Day Camp, Junior Naturalist, Play Well Master Engineering, Code Changers, Bricks 4Kidz, Mars Exploration in Kansas, and Hatfield Marine Science Investigations in Oregon.
RizePoint CEO Frank Maylett said the organization looks at students’ applications to see why the scholarship is important to them.
“We award the STEM scholarships to young men and women for some amazing opportunities because we want to invest in their future as many of these smart, talented and motivated students will be working in technology, and we can help them in that path,” he said. “For some students, this is the first time they’ve filled out a scholarship application.  This is something they earn and impacts their lives and what they’re doing.”
Maylett said a new report found that the growing Utah technology sector had 15,000 unfilled jobs and was struggling to find skilled workers in the 5,000 tech companies in the state. 
He said some students want to discover answers to help animals, find cures for chronic diseases, or have just moved to Utah and want to have this opportunity that hasn’t been offered before. Some students write about their interests in the STEM field, but also address the need for the scholarship.
“Some students might not be able to afford to attend a camp so this is a way we can help them enroll in some pretty amazing opportunities,” he said about the first program of its kind in Utah. “We’ve had students say that they wouldn’t be able to attend otherwise as it would be a financial burden.”
Alvin’s mother, Angela, said that her son wanted this opportunity, but knew he had to help.
“It was touching that he wanted to find a way to help pay for this opportunity and that was through this scholarship,” she said. 
Maylett also said RizePoint supports STEM education, with a focus on access to providing that technical education for females.
Mt. Jordan seventh-grader Shaylee Nielsen plans to attend Odyssey Camp this summer with her first-ever scholarship. Shaylee learned about the scholarship from her teacher in one of favorite classes — science.
“It’s my first scholarship and space camp sounds fun,” she said. “I kind of skydive with iFly and have a two-hour mission to Mars.”
In addition to Alvin and Shaylee, this year’s winners include Abdullah Husin, Hillcrest High; Abigail Slama-Catron, Midvale Middle; Amelia Slama-Catron, Hillcrest High; Andrew Romanovsky, Midvale Middle; Bradley Williams, East Sandy Elementary; Charles Avila, Mt. Jordan Middle; Christian Soderberg, Lone Peak Elementary; Diana Alzerreca, Eastmont Middle; Drake Larsen, Draper Park Middle; Emily Erickson, Indian Hills Middle; Emily Waters, Union Middle; Eric Snaufer, Midvale Middle; Kiriana Jolley, Eastmont Middle; Romeny Molia Salanoa, Alta View Elementary; Ryan Pomeroy, Indian Hills Middle; Savanna Moursal, Butler Elementary; Talia Larsen, Corner Canyon High; and Yuexi Chloe Chen, Granite Elementary.