Tech Employee Gets Gates Millennium Scholarship

SOCORRO, N.M. April 20, 2010 – New Mexico Tech employee Patrick Drake learned Monday that he was selected for the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship.

Patrick Drake, outside Macey Center, where he's worked for nearly three years. The Socorro High senior earned a Gates Millennium Scholarship.

Drake is a Socorro High School senior and has worked at Macey Center for almost three years. He found out Monday morning that he was selected to receive the full-ride scholarship.

“I was so shocked and so thankful,” Drake said. “I sat down at the mail box and tore it open right away. Then I ran home and woke my mom up.”

More than 20,000 students across the nation applied for the 1,000 available Gates scholarships, which will pay all his college fees, including graduate school, at any accredited college in America. Through his work at Macey Center, Drake discovered his passion for the hospitality industry. He plans on studying hotel and restaurant management at New Mexico State University.

“He’s an amazing young man,” said Nowka Leviner, director of Macey Center. “He’s pleasant and will do anything to solve a problem. He’s been a great addition to our staff.”

Drake said he’s learned how to do nearly everything at Macey Center – lights, sound, customer service, ticketing and much more.

“Working with Nowka, I realized that I like to work with people,” Drake said. “There’s so much to do here. The job is never the same. She’s been an excellent mentor for me.”

The Gates Millennium Scholarship, founded in 1999 by Bill and Melinda Gates, offers complete college funding for high school seniors who are minorities, U.S. citizens, have good grades, are PELL-grant eligible and have shown leadership skills and community service.

Drake currently serves as the President of the Socorro High School Student Council, which means he is in charge of all student-sponsored activities. He is also a member of the National Honor Society, Renaissance Council and Staging for Drama Club. He is the son of Dawnya Chavez of Socorro.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech