Lena Jones, Hannah Kim of The Archer School named Milken Scholars
Two Brentwood high school students have won prestigious scholarships for their respective work in artificial intelligence and ethics.
The Milken Scholars, a joint initiative of the Milken Institute and the Milken Family Foundation, has chosen 11 talented students from greater Los Angeles for its 2020 scholarship program after a rigorous nomination, application and interview process. Open to college-bound high school seniors in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York City, Milken Scholars are selected based on academic performance, community service, leadership and their ability to persevere in the face of personal challenges.
Among these 11 students are two students from Brentwood’s The Archer Schol for Girls.
As senior chair of the Honor Education Council at The Archer School for Girls, Lena Jones was an ethical compass for her school community. She led discussions about ethical behavior and presided over hearings for violations of the honor code, writing and presenting the council’s recommendations for disposition. The council also created educational scavenger hunts to honor National Coming Out Day and the International Day of the Girl, and gave presentations to students and faculty throughout the year. Lena’s moderate, collaborative approach led to her selection as a delegate to the American Legion Auxiliary California Girls State, a civics training program, where she campaigned for and won election to the Supreme Court. Lena was one of two students chosen to represent California at ALA Girls Nation, where she was elected Senate Chaplain. She was asked to serve as a Girls Nation junior counselor in 2021.
Lena was selected as a Ron Brown Captain and Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation Senator. She won Archer’s 2019 Curiosity Award and the 2020 Diana Meehan Award, given to a senior in honor of Archer co-founder Dr. Diana Meehan. After graduation, Lena wrote a proposal which finalized the incorporation of “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” in future Archer curricula. She plays the cello and received the Herb Alpert Emerging Young Artist Award in 2018 for creative writing. Lena ran middle distance on Archer’s track and field team, taking silver in the Louis Zamperini Invitational and leading the team to the top of the Liberty League. She has provided emotional support to patients as a volunteer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, shadowed prosecutors in the Major Crimes division of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, led activities for children as a counselor at the South Seas House summer camp, and distributed clothing and canned goods to homeless veterans at the Veteran Stand Down event.
“Learning I’d received the Milken Scholarship was an electrifying start to the never-ending journey offered by the tightly knit community of Milken Scholars. Mere months into becoming a Scholar, I found myself surrounded by myriad mentors who were more than willing to give me advice and guide me to open doors of opportunity. As a witness to the benefits of my mother’s mentoring program, I am already looking forward to becoming a mentor to future generations of Scholars and giving back however I can,” Lena said. “I plan to attend law school after graduating, and I cherish every cent given toward that goal. The gratitude I feel for the Milken Family Foundation and their program could never be fully expressed. Still, from the short time I’ve been a part of this group, I can tell you that Lori and Michael Milken built something greater than a scholarship fund. Money and connections draw the eye, but I believe the inner workings of the Milken Scholars Program will change lives.”
Hannah Kim believes artificial intelligence (AI) holds the key to our planet’s future. As an intern at the University of Southern California Bridge Institute, Hannah helped create detailed 3-D model of the pancreatic beta cell, key to understanding diabetes and creating targeted drug therapies; her team’s work was published in Cell, a Cell Press scientific journal. For her honors research project at The Archer School for Girls, Hannah developed a convolutional neural network that analyzes Doppler-shifted sound waves to let hearing-impaired drivers distinguish emergency vehicle sounds from background noises. Her prototype mobile app and windshield-projected display won an honorable mention from National Center for Women and Information Technology and an Archer RISE Award in engineering and technology. Hannah researched biodegradable manufacturing and recycling as an intern at Los Angeles Sanitation & Environment, presenting her conclusions to members of the Los Angeles City Council at City Hall.
Hannah is an AP Scholar, National Merit Commended Scholar and Coca-Cola Scholar. She earned the gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award for four years straight. A founding member of the Los Angeles Student Activism Coalition, Hannah organized a rally in Santa Monica on the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting that drew 2,000 participants and earned commendation from California State Senator Ben Allen. She is a varsity swimmer and serves on Archer’s Community Service Leadership Board, which organized an Adopt-a-Family program that supported 500 families from Skid Row with toiletries, clothing and toys. An accomplished cellist, Hannah has won multiple awards and competitions, attended California’s All-State festivals, and soloed at the Colburn School’s Zipper Hall. She performs with a chamber orchestra at homeless shelters and orphanages, and her work preparing younger students for youth orchestra auditions with Love-In-Music earned her recognition from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles City Council.
“Being named a Milken Scholar is a true honor. The mentorship and support network that this program offers is unparalleled. I’ve already made connections with my fellow scholars and advisors, and I look forward to developing profound friendships so that we can collectively make positive change in the world as future global leaders,” Hannah said.
To pass on her love of science, Hannah founded Mobile Science Camp (MSC), whose 28 student instructors have brought science lessons and hands-on experiments to more than 650 students through 16 mini-science camps. Hannah’s work with MSC has been recognized by U.S. Representative Ted Lieu and the Brentwood Community Council. The next step: taking MSC international. The group is sending classroom kits and pre-recorded introductory lessons to Nobel Peace Laureate Malala Yousafzai’s school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon.
Hannah will study computer science at Stanford in preparation for a career in scientific research.