N3B Los Alamos Awards $9,000 Scholarships To Three Area Students

Alyssa Aguilar. Courtesy photo

Jimmy Wheeler/Courtesy photo

Daniel Tafoya/Courtesy photo


Alyssa Aguilar, a student at Northern New Mexico College, along with  Daniel Tafoya and Jimmy Wheeler, both students at University of New Mexico-Los Alamos,  were each awarded a $9,000 Danny Nichols and Dennis Huddleston Memorial Scholarship by  N3B Los Alamos in late February. 

N3B and its parent companies, Huntington Ingalls Industries and BWXT Technologies (BWXT),  along with critical subcontractor partners Longenecker & Associates and Tetra Tech,  established the Danny Nichols and Dennis Huddleston Memorial Scholarship to attract talented  students into the environmental remediation, radioactive waste management and energy  industries.  

N3B addresses environmental impacts from Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Manhattan  Project- and Cold War-era operations for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office. 

“I am always thrilled to see this scholarship awarded to deserving students, as it often helps them launch professional careers near their colleges and hometowns,” said N3B President Kim  Lebak. “A strong, talented workforce is essential to properly and safely perform this type of  specialized work, so we are more than happy to provide this scholarship opportunity.” 

Alyssa Aguilar, a sophomore at Northern New Mexico College, is pursuing an associate’s  degree in radiation protection and a bachelor’s in environmental science. She looks forward to being part of the diverse cleanup efforts at Los Alamos National Laboratory. 

“My passion for a cleaner, safer environment has presented me with an opportunity to make a  difference,” Aguilar said.  

Daniel Tafoya, a student at UNM-Los Alamos seeking an associate’s degree in applied  sciences, is a tribal member and resident of Santa Clara Pueblo, where he has served as an  active volunteer on the Santa Clara Pueblo Fire Department since 2011. He has also worked in  the Special Projects and Safety of Dam program, where he has “gained a broad view of environmental and radioactive waste management.” 

Jimmy Wheeler is pursuing a mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree and a certificate in welding at UNM-Los Alamos. He said he has always liked the duo challenge of mechanical engineering – designing the parts – and then welding the pieces together. He enjoys learning about proper selection of metal materials in welding followed by safe disposal “to keep the environment safe and clean.”  

The Danny Nichols and Dennis Huddleston Memorial Scholarship seeks students pursuing  STEM degrees and is designed to support students at UNM-Los Alamos and Northern New  Mexico College who have completed at least 15 credit hours and have a minimum GPA of 3.3.  Qualified applicants submitted brief essays about their background and interests. 

In addition to a $9,000 unrestricted scholarship, awardees this year were offered the opportunity  to attend the Waste Management Symposia 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona, to learn more about the  field and to be formally acknowledged.  

Previous scholarship recipients were Aaliyah Sandoval, Andrew Ortiz and Reyes Roybal for  2020, and Sheena Lewis, Belen Huerta and Althea Denlinger for 2021. 

The annual Danny Nichols and Dennis Huddleston Memorial Scholarship honors the lives of longtime environmental professionals Danny Nichols and Dennis Huddleston.  

Nichols worked for more than 30 years managing hazardous and radioactive waste disposition operations. He was manager of N3B’s Contact-handled Transuranic Waste Program and a respected leader within BWXT. He was well-known for his good nature, expertise and willingness to invest in his colleagues. 

Dennis Huddleston worked for BWXT and other DOE contractors, coordinating complex environmental management programs at sites such as Hanford, Pantex, Rocky Flats and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. He was known for his expertise in addressing difficult technical challenges, as well as his ability to provide strong leadership in times of stress and uncertainty. 

About N3B 

N3B is an HII Nuclear-led company with BWX Technologies, with critical subcontractors  Longenecker & Associates and Tech2 Solutions. N3B implements the $1.4 billion, 10-year Los Alamos Legacy Cleanup Contract for the DOE’s Environmental Management Los Alamos Field  Office.