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Fourteen 2014 Los Angeles Milken Scholars Join Recipients from NYC and DC for Annual Summit

More than 250 guests and dignitaries honored this year’s Scholars at a Recognition Dinner on Saturday, July 26th at the Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey

2014 LA Milken Scholars

Pictured, back row, from left: Dr. Jane Foley, Milken Scholars Program Director; Lori Milken, Milken Scholars Co-Founder; Mike Milken, Milken Scholars Co-Founder; Taylor Chavez; Tony Hua; Claire Huang; Kayla McGarrell; Jonathan Meng; William Oh; Linda Shin; Shao Zhao; Ralph Finerman, Milken Family Foundation Trustee; Mariano Guzman, Milken Family Foundation Trustee; and Gregory Milken, Milken Scholars Program Director.

Front row, from left: Carlos Flores; Daniel Lee; Luis Mora; David Tseng; and Nathan Williams.

Click to view a gallery of photos from this and other Milken Scholars events.

SANTA MONICA, CA (July 30, 2014) – Fourteen recent high school graduates from the Greater Los Angeles area have been selected as 2014 Milken Scholars. Together with new Scholars from New York City and the District of Columbia, they comprise this year’s class of 24 Milken Scholars. Chosen based on their academic performance, community service, leadership and ability to persevere in the face of challenges, each Scholar will receive a $10,000 scholarship.  The program is a joint initiative of the Milken Family Foundation and the Milken Institute. The uniqueness of the Milken Scholars’ opportunity lies in the ongoing mentoring, assistance with internships, opportunities for community service, and access to a wide range of resources throughout their academic and professional careers.

Milken Scholars logo

Throughout their college careers, Milken Scholars are in regular communication with Milken Scholars staff, mentors and with one another. Each summer they participate in a three-day Summit in Los Angeles, this year held at Loyola Marymount University, where Scholars staff and a range of distinguished speakers provide a forum for the participants to discuss issues crucial to their personal, academic and professional success. The Summits offer opportunities for Scholars to form and renew friendships, reflect on their personal growth, and exchange ideas and aspirations.

“These remarkable students have already proven they have the capacity to change the world for the better,” notes the program’s director, Gregory Milken.  “The Milken Scholars program provides them with the support to develop their potential and become tomorrow’s leaders.”

The 2014 Los Angeles Milken Scholars are:

Taylor Chavez 2014 LA Milken ScholarTaylor Chavez, valedictorian of Montebello High School is a National AP Scholar, National Hispanic Scholar, QuestBridge College Match Finalist and a life member of the California Scholarship Federation. Her leadership skills are evidenced by election as president of the National Honor Society and vice president of the Key Club, and selection as a Hugh O’Brien Leadership Representative and a Girls’ State Delegate. Taylor heads to Stanford where she will study bioengineering, computer science and business for a career as a biomedical technician.

Carlos Flores 2014 LA Milken ScholarCarlos Flores, a National AP Scholar and valedictorian at Whittier High School, founded and was president of both BEES, an organization celebrating Bio-, Economical, Educational and Social diversity, and the Amy Biehl Foundation Activist Club focused on human rights. Throughout high school he was Student Advisory Board president and a Debate Club officer. He will be the first in his family to attend a four-year university when he enters Harvard to study political science for a career in law, journalism, or public administration.

Tony Hua 2014 LA Milken ScholarTony Hua is valedictorian and the 2013 Student of the Year at South El Monte High School. He is an AP Scholar with Distinction, QuestBridge College Match Finalist and Edison Scholar. Tony captained the tennis team and founded the school’s TESLA engineering club which won first place at the Solar Cup, a national solar-powered boat race competition. He conducted research in an embryology laboratory at UC Davis and was a summer intern at JPL. He will study mechanical engineering at Stanford. 

Claire Huang 2014 LA Milken ScholarClaire Huang graduated from Diamond Bar High School and is a National Merit Commended Scholar.  She was part of a team of students that founded the first California school chapter of the Technology Student Association and served as the entertainment editor of her school newspaper. She devoted over 150 hours as a summer research intern at UCLA’s Reed Neurological Center. In preparation for a career as a neuroscientist or neurologist, Claire will study neurobiology and computer science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Kang Min Lee 2014 LA Milken ScholarDaniel Lee is the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies salutatorian and an AP Scholar with Distinction. He served as the co-president of the school’s running club and was a student editor for the Korea Daily News. Active in Model UN, he won statewide Best Research Awards in 2012 and 2013. In the UCLA High School Summer Research Program, he worked in the Neptune Lab of the Electrical Engineering Department. Daniel will attend Dartmouth to study electrical engineering and economics.

Kayla McGarrell 2014 LA Milken ScholarKayla McGarrell graduated from Glendora High School as an AP Scholar, National Achievement Scholar and National Honor Society member.  For her efforts as president of the Rotary Glendora Interact Club, she was recognized with the Rotary Speech Leadership Award. Kayla was captain of the cross country team and participated in Stanford University’s High School Summer College program. She will attend Harvard to study biology and pre-med in preparation for a career as a doctor in the Doctors Without Borders organization.

Xianglong Meng 2014 LA Milken ScholarJonathan Meng graduated from Santa Monica High School as an AP Regional Scholar and a member of the National Society of High School Seniors. Through his involvement in the UCLA Math Club, he participated in the American Math Competition. He was president of the Chinese Club, a member of both the basketball and volleyball teams and received Red Cross awards for his volunteerism. Jonathan will study psychology and neuroscience at Williams College with a career goal as a social psychologist.

Luis Mora 2014 LA Milken ScholarLuis Mora, an AP Scholar with Distinction and a National Hispanic Recognition Scholar, graduated from Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy while concurrently earning an AA degree in math and natural sciences from Los Angeles Harbor College. As an intern at JPL he reorganized, repaired and upgraded the Radiation Effects database. He was secretary of the Key Club and served as the technology coordinator’s assistant. Luis will study mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a career in automotive or aerospace engineering.

William Oh 2014 LA Milken ScholarWilliam Oh is salutatorian of Golden Valley High School and a U.S. Presidential Scholars Program Semi-finalist, an AP Scholar with Distinction and a National Merit Commended Scholar.  He was president of the Associated Student Body, Key Club and the Speech and Debate team. Elected as the Student Board Member on the William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board, he also was a member on the Santa Clarita Youth Advisory Board. William will attend Harvard to study government and political science.

Lee Puckett 2014 LA Milken ScholarLee Puckett, an Edison Scholar and AP Scholar with Honor, earned straight A’s at Long Beach Polytechnic High School and was tapped as an International Ambassador to represent the school at community functions and student government board meetings. He was president of the Engineering Club and lead mechanic on the Solar Cup Team, captain of Team One, the school’s top Math Team group, captain of the varsity swim team, and is an Eagle Scout. Lee will attend Cornell to study chemical engineering.

Linda Shin 2014 LA Milken ScholarLinda Shin, a National Merit Scholar Finalist from Granada Hills Charter High School, is an AP Scholar with Distinction and QuestBridge College Prep Scholar who earned the top score of 5 on all of her AP Exams. She has conducted both neuroscience and bio-behavioral laboratory research as a summer intern at UCLA.  A championship debater, Linda was honored with the National Forensics League Academic All-America Award. She founded her school’s Amnesty International club chapter. This fall Linda will study biology at Stanford.

David Tseng 2014 LA Milken ScholarDavid Tseng, Gabrielino High School’s valedictorian, is a National Merit Scholar, a Regents Scholar at UC Berkeley and a National AP Scholar who scored 5’s on 11 AP Exams. He earned Renaissance Science Awards in physics and chemistry and Renaissance Math Awards in pre-calculus and calculus and was named the school’s Outstanding Junior Male. He held leadership roles in five campus organizations and conducted earthquake research at Cal State L.A. David will attend UC Berkeley to pursue studies in mechanical engineering.

Nathan Williams 2014 LA Milken ScholarNathan Williams, valedictorian at Granada Hills Charter School, is an Army ROTC scholarship winner, recipient of a National Hispanic Recognition Program award and an Eagle Scout. He was president and a founder of the Model UN Club and chosen to attend the Model UN Conference in Qatar. He was named the Best Speaker at Stanford’s Junior Statesman of America Summer School competition and an Octofinalist at Stanford’s National Invitational Junior Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Nathan will study international relations and political science at Harvard.

Shao Zhao 2014 LA Milken ScholarShao Zhao, valedictorian of Downtown Magnets High School, is an AP Scholar with Distinction and a Warren Christopher Scholar.  This debate champion and team captain earned 15 Top Ten Speaker Awards and three team tournament first-place wins. As a participant in the Academy of Finance, the school’s selective Business Magnet program, she completed an additional rigorous course load including a finance class at USC. Shao will be the first in her family to attend college when she enters Harvard to study political science.

Since its founding in 1989 by Lori and Michael Milken, the Milken Scholars program has supported more than 350 Scholars from diverse backgrounds.  Nearly one-third were born outside the United States and three-quarters have parents originating from 60 countries. Nearly half were the first in their family to attend college.  Milken Scholars are selected in their senior year of high school through a rigorous nomination, application review and interview process.  Nominations are based on the following criteria:

  • Minimum grade point average of 3.6 (unweighted) or 90% in all academic high school subject areas
  • Minimum composite SAT I Reasoning score of 1850 with results submitted for Critical Reading, Math, and Writing, or a minimum ACT score of 28
  • Active participation in community service activities
  • A record of leadership
  • Financial or other obstacles
  • Admission to a four-year college or university prior to final selection
  • United States Citizenship or Permanent Residency

For details about the Milken Scholars program, visit

To schedule interviews, contact Jana Rausch,; (310) 570-4774.