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The Ira and Gladys West Scholarship Fund
The Dahlgren Heritage Museum is leading the effort to establish a mathematics scholarship in honor of two lifelong Dahlgren employees, Ira and Gladys West. The Wests have lived in the King George community since they graduated college in the late 1950s. Both worked at the Dahlgren Navy Base and made many little known contributions to the Navy in their years there. Dr. Gladys West, a mathematician who contributed to the development of GPS, was inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame in 2018. She was among a small group of women who manually executed computing for the US military in the era before electronic systems. Her work was later depicted in the movie Hidden Figures. Mr. West spent the majority of his career working on Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile programs and was one of the first African American supervisors on the base. Even today, the Wests continue to work with and inspire elementary school students by enhancing reading skills and through mentoring.
The Dahlgren Heritage Museum is a small non-profit organization dedicated to gathering, preserving, interpreting, displaying and maintaining the artifacts that are the physical, intellectual, social and cultural heritage of the U.S. Navy Base and community at Dahlgren. In other words, telling the stories of Dahlgren. As Dahlgren celebrates its centennial year, the Museum hopes to tell the stories of the community’s many contributions to the Navy and accomplishments of its hidden figures such as Gladys and Ira West.
The Dahlgren Navy Base is located in King George, a largely rural community with many first generation college students. As college costs continue to rise, it is crucial that all students have the ability to afford education – particularly those who wish to pursue mathematics and other STEM degrees.
Each year, The Ira and Gladys West Scholarship Fund will award at least one annual scholarship of $1,000 to a graduating senior in King George County. The West family and the Dahlgren Heritage Museum believes in the “hidden” power of an education rich in math and sciences. With this scholarship, they hope to support students pursuing a degree in mathematics or other Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) related fields. Priority will be given to high achieving and highly motivated students with demonstrated financial need.
Scholarships are eligible for yearly renewal but require reapplication and will be considered along with all applicants for the award.
Photo credit: Mike Morones/The Free Lance-Star
To contribute to this fund, simply click Donate Now.
Donations may also be mailed to:
The Community Foundation - The Ira and Gladys West Scholarship Fund
PO Box 208, Fredericksburg, VA 22404-0208
Please make your check payable to: The Ira and Gladys West Scholarship Fund
About Scholarship Funds
Donors help area students achieve their dreams by establishing or contributing to a scholarship fund at The Community Foundation. Scholarship funds are flexible and can be structured to benefit students at any education level, or for a specific institution. Donors often use scholarship funds to honor or memorialize a loved one.
Donors maintain an active voice in the student selection process while they rely upon The Community Foundation’s Scholarship Committee to handle the necessary paperwork and ensure that scholarships are distributed equitably.
Let us help you create the fund that works best for your charitable giving goals!
Apply for a Scholarship
Applicants to this fund must:
- Be a graduating senior from King George County
- Plan to pursue a degree in Mathematics or other STEM related fields
- Be a highly motivated and/or high achieving student with a minimum 3.0 GPA
- Demonstrate financial need
- Demonstrate plans to attend an institution of higher learning, which may be a 2-year or a 4-year college or university
Eligible Localities: King George County
Eligible High Schools: Home Schooled, King George High School
How to Apply
The online application portal will walk students through our application process.
- Students submit general information such as address and high school, as well as information about extracurricular activities or awards.
- Students use the online application to provide the name and email address of their guidance counselor and other individuals. These contacts will receive an email requesting the student’s high school transcript or a personal reference.
- Each of our various scholarships has its own essay guidelines, as described below.
Call 540 373-9292 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Please provide the following:
- Two letters of recommendation: one from a teacher and one from a
teacher, counselor, coach, employer or other individual who knows you well.
- A copy of the Student Aid Report (SAR) Summary page as documentation of financial need.
- An essay of no more than 900 words that answers the following:
This scholarship supports students pursuing degrees in Mathematics or other STEM fields. Describe why you think a STEM education is important and why you are motivated to pursue a STEM degree. What are some of your educational achievements? Explain how your education and experiences have affected your academic and career goals. Please include the field of study you plan on pursuing and how your education will prepare you for your future goals.