Academies of Loudoun and Rock Ridge High School senior Akshita Panigrahi has been selected as the 2021 Willowcroft Science Scholarship recipient.
The $5,000= Willowcroft Award, one of the scholarships supported by the Willowcroft Science Endowment, is given each year, typically at the LCPS Regional Science and Engineering Fair, to a student who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the sciences. The endowment is made possible by Lewis Parker, a longtime Regional Science and Engineering Fair supporter and the owner of Willowcroft Farm Vineyards.
Panigrahi’s teacher and mentor, Michael Croly, also received $5,000 as part of the scholarship.
Parker said he created the scholarship to motivate students to make science a part of their lives and as a way to say thanks to the teachers who work so hard to support students.
Parker’s two daughters were active in science fairs when they attended Loudoun Valley High School, and he said their experience helped influence the way they think and helped prepare them for successful careers. “So this scholarship is my way of giving back to the school system,” Parker said.
The science fair judges were impressed by Panigrahi’s commitment to scientific research, passion for STEM, and skill in presenting. After she graduates next month, she will go on to study engineering and applied science at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Willowcroft Science Endowment is a component fund of the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties.