The Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Austin

Congratulations to our 2018 Scholarship Winners!

25 Apr 2018 4:21 PM | Joyce Statz (Administrator)
At its May 2018 General Meeting, the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Austin awards its 2018 scholarships to four outstanding students. We congratulate them all and wish them great success in their studies and in their careers!

2018 PBKAAGA Scholarship Winners

Philip F. Patman Memorial Baccalaureate Scholarship

Ember Amara Bower   $2000

Ember Bower was born and raised in Wisconsin, and she developed a passion for biology beginning in a childhood full of rescued baby raccoons and flying squirrels, meticulously documented animal tracks, and sketchbooks of wildflowers and trees. She is an adult student, returning to Texas State University to study wildlife biology after spending a decade out of school. During these years, she considers herself to have been shaped by the opportunities and challenges from living in Tennessee, Germany, and Florida; strengthened by the tenacity and personal growth resulting from a lifelong struggle with chronic illness.

She is thankful to have settled in Texas, far away from Wisconsin’s frigid winters, surrounded by the unique and vibrant ecosystem and fascinating aquifers of the hill country. When she’s not studying biology, you can find her catching lizards, hiking, swimming, and exploring state parks with her husband Matt and their 3 children, Martin (7), Elise (5), and Edmund (3). She also enjoys baking, gardening, and reading science fiction. Most recently, she’s excited to have added 4 backyard chickens to her family.

Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Scholarship for Academic Excellence

Vincent Myron Hao    $2500

Vincent Hao, a graduate of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA), will attend Stanford University, where he is interested in studying economics, business, and creative writing. In high school, Vincent participated in Model UN as an officer and has competed in conferences across Texas.  He also founded the Entrepreneur’s Club at LASA, which participated in business competitions such as Diamond Challenge. Digital Bridge, his non-profit service, won third place at the 2018 Diamond Challenge Competition.

Vincent works closely with the Alzheimer’s Association of Central Texas; last summer he was an intern designing events to raise funding and awareness for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.  He also is co-founder and Vice President of East Austin Digital Connection, a non-profit which assists businesses in gentrifying communities by providing web-design services.

In his free time, Vincent writes poetry and stories. His work has been published in seven literary magazines.  He also enjoys writing screenplays and creating short films through LASA’s Audio Video Production program. An avid fan of basketball, Vincent often spends time watching NBA games on the couch or playing recreational basketball with his friends.  


Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Scholarship for Academic Excellence

Kevin A. Black  $2500

A native Austinite who graduated from the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, Kevin Black is most passionate about computer science and engineering, which is why his two most meaningful extracurricular activities are Computer Science Club and Science Olympiad.

To him, Science Olympiad exemplifies balance. It’s the perfect combination of individualism and teamwork; events are competed in as partners, but competitions are won as a team. It also blends academics and engineering with build-and-study events, both of which he enjoys. As part of the Science Olympiad team, he had the opportunity to travel the country to various tournaments during his  four years of high school, some of which were the most memorable experiences of his high school career.

During junior and senor years, Kevin was a captain of LASA’s Computer Science Club. During that time, alongside leading the club, he competed in numerous hacking competitions and developed a parallel interest in cybersecurity. He also worked on several software applications for the school community, including a new school website and an app for easily checking grades.

During the summers, Kevin continued developing his skills and interests by working at Silicon Labs, a semiconductor company headquartered in Austin. He really enjoyed his time there as well.

Kevin is an Eagle Scout and a lifelong Boy Scout, through which he learned many skills and enjoyed a lot of community service. His Eagle Project consisted of designing and installing signs in Brushy Creek, which he completed last summer alongside his job.

Phi Beta Kappa Physicians’ Scholarship for Academic Excellence

Lillian Lin Sun  $2500

A graduate of Westlake High School, Lillian Sun leads her robotics team's non-profit initiative to build "wheelchair-esque" seats for children in hospitals, and has served more than 150 hours at her local library.  In addition, Lillian is also an advocate for women in STEM: together with her friends, she started the first All-Girls robotics team in her district. 

Lillian is an avid violinist. She is the concertmaster of the Westlake Symphony Orchestra and the Austin Youth Symphony Orchestra, and she placed 8th in the Texas All-State Orchestra. She has also won several music competitions, including those at the Starlight Symphony Young Artist Festival and the Asian American Young Musician's Festival. Lillian also leads her school's Mu Alpha Theta mathematics honors club and has served/is serving as an officer on the Health Occupations Students of America Club, Orchestra Board, and Latin Club.

Through a summer internship, Lillian has been able to contribute to developments in "laser-sintering,” using high-powered lasers to fuse ceramic particles at molecular levels to form extremely strong ceramic materials. She has also discovered patterns indicative of breast cancer in DNA during a summer research program, and she is currently writing a manuscript in the hopes of publishing a paper on her work.

Outside of school and work, Lillian loves winding down in her local martial arts studio. She has been in Taekwondo for 11 years and currently holds a second-degree advanced black belt. She also is a baker, hard-cover book collector, and movie-watcher.

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