Scholarship Recipients

Congratulations to our scholarship recipients.

Anna Flores
photo of anna flores
2021 Ernest Quintana and Marty Sterkel Education Scholarship

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area’s Anna Flores received the Ernest Quintana and Marty Sterkel Education Scholarship from Western National Parks Association (WNPA) in 2021. Flores was recognized for her commitment to National Park Service (NPS) and dedication to continuing her college education. Flores’s work as a Spanish communications assistant included educating the public at the park visitor center, interacting with visitors at the Native American Indian Culture Center, and creating new programs focused on the park’s popular topics. Despite a difficult childhood and various academic hurdles, Flores continues to persevere as a first-generation Chicana student in STEM with a passion for the healing purposes of nature. She plans to continue educating and reconnecting her people with nature in a healing and therapeutic way.

Eva Vieyra
photo of Eva Vieyra
2021 Ernest Quintana and Marty Sterkel Education Scholarship

Eva Vieyra was awarded the Ernest Quintana and Marty Sterkel Education Scholarship in 2021 by Western National Parks Association (WNPA). As a member of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area youth, Vieyra worked with inspirational role models and other college students to beautify the park, reestablishing her connection with the earth. She worked with other Latinx folks in National Park Service (NPS) who shared her passion for nature and aim to diversify park participation. Vieyra hopes to become an NPS staff member and create inclusive programs to address racial discrepancies that interfere with exposure of national parks to diverse communities.

Maya Tainatongo
photo of Maya Taintongo
2020 Ernest Quintana and Marty Sterkel Education Scholarship

Maya Tainatongo was the recipient of the Western National Park Association’s (WNPA) Ernest Quintana and Marty Sterkel Education Program Scholarship in 2020 for her dedication to her work at Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona. During her time there, she taught children about the park and its history, including the indigenous Hohokam people who lived on the land before it become a national park. Her Mexican American and Pacific Islander heritage helped her understand the value of feeling welcomed in a community. After graduation from the University of Arizona, Tainatongo hopes to create programs within the national parks for underrepresented groups.

Vanessa Wyns
2019 Ernest Quintana and Marty Sterkel Education Scholarship

From the borderlands community at Coronado National Memorial, Vanessa Wyns was awarded 2019’s Ernest Quintana and Marty Sterkel Education Scholarship. In her time as an intern, Wyns crusaded to create equal education opportunities and park access for the underserved Mexican-American community in the area. She used her language skills to translate visitor material, design and distribute Spanish marketing material, and deliver educational programs that allowed the park to connect with Spanish-speaking visitors. Wyns’ aspirations for her career include celebrating borderlands culture in the national parks and continuing her work to remedy local inequities in nature access and education.