Two Joel Barlow High School seniors were selected as finalists to compete for the $15,000 scholarship in honor of the late Barton L. Weller, founder of Vitramon Inc. in Monroe, and whose generosity has made this award possible.

Established in 1977, the scholarship’s purpose is to encourage academic excellence in a substantial independent research or study project. The scholarship is open to all full-time senior-year students at Joel Barlow, Masuk, Newtown, Shelton, and Trumbull High Schools. The seniors selected are Julia Krepsztul (daughter of Pawel and Ewa Krepsztul) of Redding; and Meghan Ogrinz (daughter of Michael Ogrinz and Monica Black) of Easton.

Entrants were required to submit proposals for projects in any field of study in which they have an interest. A total of eight proposals were received. Three finalists were selected on the basis of Originality, the Format of the Proposal, Project Potential, and the care with which the proposal and its planned implementation has been thought through.

On Nov. 5, each finalist received $200 to help defray expenses during the five-month project period. Prior to the Awards Dinner on April 21, 2021 at Fairfield University, the scholarship recipient will be announced. At the dinner, the $15,000 scholarship will be presented to the student whose project is judged to be the best.

This scholarship will be paid directly to the college or university for deposit into the student’s account. The scholarship will be awarded without regard to the student’s existing financial status.

Julia’s project is entitled, “Environmental Racism in the United States of America.” The objective of her project is to research and document sources of environmental racism in the U.S. and show that environmental hazards disproportionately impact people of color, and to provide possible solutions to this pressing matter.

Megan’s project is entitled, “Interactive Database for Healthcare Solutions in Remote Locations.” The objective of her project is to create an interactive online database that enables communication between healthcare workers, scientific researchers, and volunteers to progress efforts of offering COVID-19 relief and hand-washing stations in remote locations.

The other finalist competing for the scholarship is Taegan Smith, a Newtown High School student, whose project is “Movements: An Exploration of Impactful Women in History Told Through Dance.”

Photo at top: Michael J. Smith, chairman of The Weller Foundation, Inc. presents the $200 checks to the 2020-21 Barton L. Weller Scholarship finalists outside the Edith Wheeler Memorial Library in Monroe: Julia Krepsztul – Joel Barlow High School, Taegan Smith – Newtown High School, and Meghan Ogrinz – Joel Barlow High School. — Leslie Baker Photo

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