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Zachary Scheppat Memorial Science Scholarship

Funded by
2 winners, $2,500 each
Application Deadline
Jun 5, 2024
Winners Announced
Jul 5, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior
Tutoring, science clubs, volunteering, community service
Field of Study:
Physical science, biological science, medical science or science education

Zachary Scheppat passed away in 2022 due to a battle with epilepsy.

Zachary was a fantastic student and a passionate scientist, even going so far as to become a science tutor. The science students of today will be the bright, innovative minds of the future as science becomes increasingly important in our world. In order to ensure that these leaders of tomorrow achieve their full potential, it’s crucial for all students to have the financial support to attend college.

This scholarship seeks to honor the memory of Zachary Scheppat by supporting students pursuing degrees in science or science education.

Any high school senior in Washington state who has tutoring or volunteering experience and plans to study physical science, biological science, or science education may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, tell us what impact you hope to have through your science or science education career.

Selection Criteria:
Published March 4, 2024
Essay Topic

What impact do you hope to have through your career in the sciences and/or science education?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Patrick Kovis
Tri-Cities PrepPasco, WA
Ever since I was a kid I’ve had an interest in how things work. When I was in grade school, I loved spending my summer catching small insects in habitats, keeping them safe, feeding them, and then releasing them into my yard. I raised spiders, ladybugs, ant colonies, mantises, and butterflies. As I entered middle school, I turned my attention to the sky. For the next few years, I read everything I could get on astronomy and astrophysics. But then I competed in my seventh-grade science fair. In that competition, I completed an experiment on Microbial Fuel Cells. This project reignited my interest in the biological sciences and I decided to test two projects based on my original experiment over the next two years. This experience helped me realize my genuine passion for biology. I still love astrophysics and think the study of space is fascinating; however, I think it is more theoretical and slightly less practical. I want to help people on Earth by studying bioengineering. My friends and family have been a critical force in my decision to pursue science in college. My parents have always supported my curiosity in biology. On the other hand, my friends have fought beside me and inspired me to be greater than I ever thought I could become. Whether fighting in the gym, fighting through the terrible wind on a run, or fighting with each other over the best way to finish our calculus homework, together we have learned how to persevere, stick together, love one another, and how to help other people. We work, serve, win, and lose together. I couldn’t embark on my journey without their support, without the time I’ve spent with them, and without the lessons I’ve learned on our journey together. While in college, I hope to explore continuing peer tutoring. Over the last four years, I have enjoyed participating in my high schools peer tutoring program. I have been able to tutor fellow students in biology, Spanish and English Literature. I frequently spend time editing my friends English essays and helping them with College admissions essays and applications.Currently, I am considering medical research to help people recover from illness or fight illnesses. I have recently discovered bio-engineering. I am passionate about the idea of engineering devices that can solve illnesses and help people live better lives. This degree would allow me to continue to explore genetics and pair my passion for solving problems with my love of biology.
Ezri Zemke
Eastern Washington UniversitySPOKANE, WA
I love science. It is full of boundless potential, both for good and ill. Science is our way of understanding the world around us and seeing the connections between every living thing. I am someone who has struggled with connection, so science presents a unique opportunity for me. My goal is to learn more about these connections and to further not only my personal understanding, but the world’s understanding of connection. I am planning to undergrad in biochemistry and hope to pursue a PhD in nuclear chemistry. My goal is to work in genetic engineering in order to increase plants’ ability to survive and thrive in radioactive conditions. Nuclear chemistry is a field where the power for both good and bad has been extremely visible. This field of chemistry has produced both the atomic bomb and treatments for cancer, making it the perfect example of the limitless potential of chemistry. But in the furthering of our knowledge of nuclear reactions we have done irreparable harm to our planet. There are countless areas that are no longer habitable and won’t be for generations. These areas are more than radioactive monstrosities but have the potential to improve our world in unexpected ways. The human species is growing in magnitude and in this process of expansion has destroyed several habitats and environments. Because of this growth, many species are endangered or extinct. And due to the nature of connectivity, our planet will suffer from this loss of biodiversity. Everything is connected; as we kill off plant species, the Earth’s carefully balanced system is degraded, and we inadvertently put our own species in danger. As our species grows it is undeniable that we will need more space, leading to further expansion and destruction. But there is a way to save the fading biodiversity. Plants have shown limited ability to survive in radioactive sites, but long-term exposure removes their ability to reproduce and causes many other types of harm. If genetic engineering can remove or at least decrease the negative effects of radiation on plant species it would allow us to place the rapidly disappearing plant growth in areas that are protected from our expansion. Creating the ability for plants to thrive under radiation will provide the ability to bring back life to the sites of so much nuclear destruction and will save some of the biodiversity that keeps our planet alive. Our planet is very important to me and I hope that through pursuing an education in the sciences, I can play a role in rebuilding our environment.
Ishan Misro
Issaquah High SchoolIssaquah, WA
“Kayla entered the waiting room.” I pressed admit. A little girl popped into the Zoom meeting, only her forehead and pigtails visible. As she angled the camera, I saw her face. She seemed so normal. Why did I assume that she’d be different? Kayla was Peerguide’s first student from foster care. After three months of outreach, I connected my nonprofit with numerous social workers through the Washington state foster care system, and they began regularly sending foster students to PeerGuide for tutoring. I was proud of my nonprofit’s mission to serve students from underrepresented backgrounds, so when the first student signed up, I was eager to teach her. Upon her guardian’s initial inquiry, I contacted Kayla’s social worker. She explained that Kayla had been taken into government custody after being found abused at age five. She emphasized Kayla’s intelligence but noted her lack of academic support, as her foster mother worked three jobs. This background caused some apprehension and uncertainty within me as I was only a high school sophomore, but I still agreed to help because I knew she would benefit from my assistance. After several sessions, I realized that she was nothing like my preconceived notions of what a foster child would be like. I thought she would be reserved, traumatized, and behind in school. However, she was outgoing, caring, and very bright. I also learned she loved mac and cheese, Harry Potter, and Taylor Swift. I began looking forward to our sessions, and she soon became the highlight of my Mondays and Thursdays. Working with Kayla, I learned how to communicate more effectively, value a younger student’s perspective, and appreciate someone’s story. Most importantly, I learned how to make a difference in another person’s life. Through our collaboration, the friendship we fostered, and the impact I was making, I was thrilled to learn alongside her. By networking and growing PeerGuide when I wasn’t working with Kayla, I expanded the organization to over 350 students and more than 250 tutors. The countless relationships I helped foster, similar to the one I had built with Kayla, were gratifying as students and tutors worldwide still engaged in learning during the pandemic. Developing PeerGuide over the past years has painted a clear picture of what I want coming out of college. I want to help people. By pursuing the sciences and medicine, I hope to connect with people on an emotional level, one where I can help them with tangible results and be emotionally supportive when they need me most. I feel like I can accomplish this as a doctor, having the ability to heal and care for others simultaneously. However, I want my career to be multifaceted. Eventually, I want to become a high school AP Biology teacher, making students gaze in awe at the curvature of the mitochondria's matrix and have them memorize that it is "the powerhouse of the cell," as I once did. I want students to engage in science and be as passionate about studying it as I am. I want to combine my passion for teaching and my love for science to help more students like Kayla I meet in the future.
Anusha Rao
Issaquah High SchoolIssaquah, WA
Everyday uses of math captivated me from a young age, encouraged by my parents reciting the times table to me over dinner and math competitions all over the state. My summers were filled with STEM learning as they took me to technology-related workshops, app-development sessions, and science fairs. Growing older, I began to branch out: working for a math tutoring service, volunteering to help peers with calculus, and volunteering in STEM-related fields. Tutoring for math and physics problems gave way to my passion for teaching, a career path I am considering for the future. My role in math tutoring was to develop new ways to approach a subject with only one right answer, which encouraged both students and myself to think about math creatively. I want to continue tutoring as a part-time job post-graduation, especially for students that do not have well-established educational resources. Another vision I have for my future career is creating beneficial technology for neurodiverse and disabled communities. My cousin was diagnosed with autism when he was young, which originally inspired me to connect with the local autistic community. Throughout high school, I have explored opportunities to collaborate with different organizations for volunteering, planning fundraisers, and community events. Two companies, NavigateVR (aimed toward young adults) and Floreo (aimed towards children), developed virtual reality technology that would display a social situation to people with autism and helped them learn to respond to overwhelming stimuli through virtual reality rather than experiencing it for the first time in real life. This technology is not perfected yet but is important to develop as it can potentially help students and young adults with autism engage socially. I want to use my knowledge in both biology and computer science to create AI or machine learning technology that can adapt to individuals, and provide personalized feedback or advice to approach these overstimulating situations. Additionally, I would like to focus on creating smaller, more affordable products that I can donate to schools to aid in learning specifically for special education programs. This upcoming school year, I will be attending the University of California-Berkeley to pursue an undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics. The applied mathematics major includes specialization in three areas of interest, and I hope to study machine learning, economics, and biology/psychology (with more of an informatics focus). This opportunity will allow me to learn more about technology and the effects of technology on biological processes or psychology. The last issue that I am passionate about is sustainability. I’m particularly interested in solving urbanization and the current effects of redlining. There is a large disparity in average temperatures between previously redlined urban areas and suburbs, which can interfere with learning for students or general well-being. The materials used in infrastructure are often unhealthier than suburban areas and contribute to the declining health of residents. In my career in science, I want to use my knowledge in math, biology, and chemistry to create affordable and sustainable infrastructure that can be easily implemented in cities and involve children in the process so that they can connect with their community. To conclude, I want to create an impact in the science field by helping groups that have consistently been overlooked. Using the practical skills, hands-on experiences, and technical knowledge I learn in college, I hope to create beneficial technology, educate young minds, and implement sustainable processes or infrastructure alongside those from marginalized groups.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jun 5, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jul 5, 2024.

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