The Lebanon Valley Conservancy (TLVC) announced the recipient of their annual Richard H. and Karen R. Light Memorial Scholarship on May 28.
The scholarship awarded $2,500 to Palmyra Area High School Senior Jamie Lynn Kantorczyk, who will be studying biological engineering, with a focus on agricultural engineering, at Penn State University.
“After visiting local farms and learning about best management practices, I could see myself doing this in the future,” said Kantorczyk in her application essay. “I would like to work with farmers, assisting in implementing best management practices to increase efficiency and sustainability on Pennsylvania farms.”
Kantorczyk was chosen for the scholarship because of her passion for the environment and active involvement in extracurricular activities including the Envirothon team, which she has been on since 7th grade, STEM Club, National Honors Society, Key Club, and Technology Student Association.
“What made her stick out [among applicants] was that what she was studying was really relevant to Lebanon County,” said TLVC executive director Laurie Crawford. “She seemed deeply rooted with her family and she plans to stay in Lebanon County.”
“I was first sparked by the environmental field from my older sister and Envirothon,” said Kantorczyk, who wanted to join Envirothon after observing her sister’s experiences with the program.
When she was old enough to join Envirothon herself, she received a perfect score at her first competition and says she “has been motivated ever since.”
Kantorczyk’s recommender, Palmyra High School English teacher Pete Conrad, described her as an “individual of great potential,” who “exhibits a dedication to serving others and has shown some of the best leadership qualities in her class.”
In her career, Kantorczyk hopes to help farmers make their farms more productive, efficient and sustainable, which will ensure the safety of natural resources and lead to improvements in the quality of the water, soil and air surrounding these farms.
“Adverse environmental impacts will always face society, which means environmental engineers need to find ways to assure that the planet and its resources will be safe for years to come,” said Kantorczyk.
About the Scholarship
The TLVC scholarship is available to graduating seniors who reside in the Lebanon Valley and current students at Lebanon Valley College or Harrisburg Area College who are studying or plan to study an environment-related field.
If they meet these eligibility requirements, applicants of the scholarship are required to complete a form, write an essay, and obtain a recommendation from a teacher or professor.
Since its establishment in 2005, the scholarship program has continued to grow, receiving around 10 applicants each year and providing an increased amount of money for the award.
The award was established in honor of Richard and Karen Light, who passed away in 2016 and 2018, respectively. Both were actively involved in TLVC, along with several other environmental conservation organizations, including Quittapahilla Audubon Society, Lancaster Bird Club, Manada Conservancy, and Friends of Memorial Lake and Swatara State Park.
Richard Light was a self-taught naturalist and Karen Light was a teacher and principal in the Cornwall Lebanon School District. They both had a passion for nature and its conservation and enjoyed sharing their knowledge and passion with others.
“Their hearts and passions revolved around conservation and inspiring others to preserve this beautiful earth,” said TLVC in the scholarship application. “To this end, the recipients of The Richard H. and Karen R. Light Memorial Scholarship are encouraged to carry on the mission of these true lovers of our Mother Earth.”
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