The local section of the American Nuclear Society is offering several scholarships for high school students in preparation for the upcoming school year.

The Savannah River section, or ANS-SR, is offering $1,000 scholarships for high school seniors and technical school students. The scholarships are offered in the memory of longtime ANS-SR member, Dr. Richard Benjamin.

“He mentored countless new professionals in the nuclear science and technology areas, and was a strong proponent of ANS on national, international and Aiken-Augusta local levels,” members wrote in a letter. “The scholarship is named in his memory, and it is the intent of the Savannah River Section that it is to be awarded on an annual basis, beginning with the 2014-2015 academic year.”

The scholarship will be awarded for academic study in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – or STEM – for the upcoming academic year beginning in August 2014.

Section Chair Kevin O’Kula said the number of scholarships will be based on the number and quality of applications. However, there will most likely be between two and four scholarships awarded, O’Kula said.

Applicants must be high school seniors or technical school students who are currently attending school in one of the counties in the CSRA.

“This is a long-term commitment to Aiken, Richmond, Columbia and surrounding county students. Eventually, we hope to grow our baseline sustainable, endowed funds and offer larger funding level opportunities,” O’Kula added. “The ANS Savannah River Section does this to encourage today’s students to become the educators, engineers, scientists and other nuclear professionals of the future.”

Applicants must also include a cover letter, high school transcript, two letters of recommendation, a statement of no more than 150 words of why a STEM career is a goal and the name of the school where the scholarship will be applied.

Applications must be received no later than May 2 and winners will be notified on or before May 23.

Applications can be sent to or through mail to Benjamin Memorial Scholarship ANS Savannah River Section P.O. Box 7001, Aiken, S.C. 29804.

For more information, email Kevin O’Kula at

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University.