Cox Charities Surprises 10 High School Seniors with Scholarships

Thursday, June 25, 2020

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It was a day of anticipation as Cox Charities Advisory Board members signed onto a video call to surprise high school seniors with scholarships to help defray college costs. Due to state and national social distancing recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19, Cox Charities opted to virtually announce 10 recent high school graduates from Orange County and Palos Verdes as the 2020 Cox Scholars recipients.

This year, Cox Charities awarded a total of $32,500 in scholarships to 10 students. Charities is the philanthropic arm of Cox Communications and is funded by employee donations, matched by Cox, and overseen by an advisory board consisting of employees who volunteer their time. The donations are used to support the community in the form of scholarships and nonprofit grants. Statewide, Cox Charities has awarded more than $1.7 million in scholarships to date.

“This year has been unprecedented in so many ways for our graduating high school seniors, and we’re excited to bring them some good news during this challenging time,” said Sam Attisha, senior vice president and region manager for Cox Communications in California. “These 2020 Cox Scholars are so deserving of these scholarships, and Cox and our employees are proud to recognize all of their hard work and accomplishments.”

Cox Charities Advisory Board members invited students to participate in video calls to learn about their post-graduation plans and what a scholarship would mean to them. The students were unaware at the start of the calls that they had already been selected as Cox Scholars and were surprised and excited to learn that Cox would be awarding each of them with a scholarship for college.

Cox Charities awards college scholarships to graduating high school seniors across our California service areas, including Orange County, Palos Verdes, San Diego and Santa Barbara. These Cox Scholars are pursuing careers in a STEM related field with a passion for giving back to their community.  

Meet the 2020 Cox Scholars

The students were selected based on their academic success, community service, leadership and commitment to their education. The 2020 Cox Scholars for the Orange County and Palos Verdes regions are:

Casey Gallagher recently graduated from Tustin High School and will be attending the University of California, Santa Barbara. She’ll be majoring in environmental studies and hopes to pursue a career in global leadership where she’ll work towards environmental protection through international programs such as the United Nations. Casey has spent time volunteering with organizations such as Blue Buoy in Tustin, which teaches underprivileged children to swim. In addition, she spends her time working with her school district and local officials on projects like eliminating the sale of single-use plastic water bottles in government-owned buildings in the city of Tustin. 

Chloe Gonzalez recently graduated from Palos Verdes High School and hopes to pursue a degree in mathematics this fall with the intention of following a career in education. Chloe’s experience as a teacher’s assistant and camp counselor at Chadwick’s summer program is what inspired her to pursue a career as a teacher. While in high school, Chloe was very involved with her school’s theater program, participating in performances, working as stage crew, and even serving as the assistant director of the drama department. Chloe also made time to volunteer in her community with organizations like Autism Care Today and Ready, Willing and Able.

Erica Hsueh recently graduated from Northwood High School in Irvine and will be attending Princeton University. She’ll be majoring in computer science with the hopes to one day work for an innovative company that uses technology to better people’s lives. Erica enjoys volunteering her time with her organization, Bytes of Code, which provides computer science education to young girls.

Aidan Kelly recently graduated from Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita and plans to study aerospace engineering this fall with the hopes of working in aerospace research and development. Aidan’s goal after undergrad is to pursue a master’s degree in the field and then work for a company that is focused on sustainably advancing the aerospace industry. While in high school, Aidan was involved in the National Honors Society, Lion’s Heart, and Capo Beach Calvary.

Avery Klauke graduated from University High School in Irvine and will be attending the University of California, Berkeley. She’ll be studying applied math or statistics with the hopes of becoming professor after graduate school. Avery spends her summers volunteering as a swim coach for the recreational Irvine Swim League where she provides support and encouragement to young kids who are just beginning to learn about sportsmanship, teamwork, and hard work.

Kayla Lihardo recently graduated from University High School in Irvine and will be attending Duke University. She plans on studying neuroscience, as well as dance and art history. She hopes to pursue a career in the neuroscience field, specifically in neuroaesthetics. Kayla has volunteered with Stempower Her Club at her high school, which helps younger students learn science and encourages them to pursue their passion in the STEM field.  

Anton Lok graduated from Palos Verdes High School and will be attending Stanford University. He’ll be studying electrical engineering with the goal of being an automotive electrical system designer. Anton has volunteered with the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and the Key Club at his high school, where he most recently was club president. 

Mary Norman recently graduated from Foothill High School in Tustin and will be attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She’ll be majoring in environmental engineering with the hopes of becoming an engineer. Mary enjoys volunteering with organizations like Tustin Dollars for Scholars and Challenge Success in her local community.

Alyssa Simmons recently graduated from Laguna Hills High School and will be attending Loyola Marymount University. She’ll be majoring in sociology and will be on a pre-law track there. Her goal is to become a civil rights attorney. Alyssa volunteers with the Sickle Cell Foundation of Orange County.  

Maxwell Tumbrello recently graduated from San Clemente High School and plans to study engineering in the fall with the hopes of pursing a career in electrical engineering. Maxwell discovered his passion for science and math during his sophomore year of high school, which inspired him to choose a major in the STEM field. In his free time, Maxwell volunteers with a clubs like Inspire to Be, which tutors elementary and middle school students in math, as well as raises money for nonprofits like Wounded Warriors Project and organizes food drives.  


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