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AUSA Awards $50K in Van Autreve Scholarships

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U.S. Army
Friday, December 15, 2017

The Association of the U.S. Army has announced eight scholarship awards from a new education program created in the name of the fourth sergeant major of the Army.

The top award recipient in the SMA Leon Van Autreve Scholarships is Adam Pendry, a 17-year-old from Birmingham, Ala., who is described by his math teacher as “one of the hardest-working, most gifted students” encountered in 22 years as an educator.

Pendry is receiving a $25,000 scholarship.

A senior and valedictorian at Oak Mountain High School, he is the son of Sgt. Maj. Joseph and Rhonda Pendry.

Pendry’s dream is to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “In robotics, I have discovered my passion for all things technical, and the engineering design process has inspired me to pursue a career in physics with the eventual goal of a master’s degree in aerospace engineering,” he wrote in an essay submitted to AUSA when he applied for the scholarship. “In the future, I want to be part of the team that discovers some important truth about the universe, or of a team that sends a man to Mars.”

A $10,000 scholarship is going to Staff Sgt. Bryanne Peterson of Front Royal, Va., an Army Reserve public affairs specialist.

Married with three children, Peterson is a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech who is working on a doctorate in Integrative STEM education. She also is a Girl Scout troop leader, robotics coach and 4-H instructor. In her 16 years of military service, she has been a drill sergeant, training NCO, platoon sergeant and mentor to junior soldiers.

Second Lt. Maria Colompos, a Northern Illinois University graduate assigned to a military police battalion in Kaiserslautern, Germany, has earned a $5,000 scholarship.

A 2016 ROTC graduate, Colompos is a Chicago native working on a master’s degree in public policy and administration through Northwestern University. Fluent in Greek and Spanish, she served as a Spanish translator for a humanitarian mission in Guatemala. She volunteers at a wounded warrior center in Landstuhl, Germany, and is a mentor for at-risk adolescents through the Save Chicago Campaign and at the Chicago Veterans Association. 

Five people are receiving $2,000 scholarships:

  • Pfc. Stacy Allen, a dental specialist assigned to Dental Health Activity Bavaria clinic in Grafenwoehr, Germany, is a Jackson County, Ky., native who enlisted in 2016. A volunteer for the American Red Cross and USO, she is a sponsor for the Holt International Program, a member of the dental clinic social committee and the organizer of an annual volleyball meet. She plans to attend Kaplan University to work on a health sciences degree.
  • Lluviay Rocio Gonzalez, the wife of Staff Sgt. Gonzalez Cesar, lives in Hohenfels, Germany, where she is a volunteer involved in the local Family Readiness Group and Army Community Service. She plans to attend the University of Maryland University College-Europe to pursue a master’s in business administration.
  • Spc. Lyle Jensen of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, is a third-generation paratrooper whose mother and father served in Iraq. He is attending Colorado State University, pursuing a degree in health and exercise science. 
  • Tyler Prosser, a student at Gila Ridge High School in Yuma, Ariz., is the daughter of Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Prosser, Yuma Proving Ground’s command sergeant major. She wants to become a military officer through an ROTC program at Ohio State or Penn State, and wants to get a degree in clinical psychology.
  • First Sgt. Gerald Rouse Jr. of Abingdon, Md., is an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who spent 12 years in the 82nd Airborne Division and is now part of the Army Test and Evaluation Command. He is enrolled at Ashford University, working on a bachelor’s degree in social and criminal justice.