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A national scholarship program has placed two Montgomery College students on the map. The Darrel Hess Community College Geography Scholarship awarded scholarships to Mario Perez and Tony Vo, both enrolled in the MC applied geography program. This scholarship is sponsored through the American Association of Geographers (AAG).

Perez and Vo were the only two students to receive this scholarship in the country and are attending the Awards Luncheon at the annual American Association of Geographers meeting in New Orleans on April 14.

Mario Perez

Perez is graduating this semester from Montgomery College and is transferring to the University of Maryland to start classes in the fall. He joined the program at MC because he wants to become a city planner. “I am going for my bachelor’s degree in geography and master’s degree in urban planning, both from the University of Maryland.”

The selection is based on scholastic excellence and academic promise and only eligible for community college students who are transferring to four-year institutions.

“It feels amazing to be one of the two recipients to receive this scholarship,” said Vo, who is also planning on transferring to the University of Maryland.

“To be selected by such a prestigious society and to represent MC during my last semester at the school makes it very special,” Perez said. “It’s great that MC is investing in students and giving us this chance to participate in this aspect of academia while in community college.”

Tony Vo

Vo mentioned that he got introduced to geography when he joined the Army National Guard and that the “GIS (Geographic Information Systems) portion was a big part of my job, and I learned more and became interested in geography as a whole.”

“Stephanie in the GIS lab [Stephanie Calderon, Instructional Assistant] really provides great support to the geography students and the Geo MC club,” Perez said. “She is the person that told us about the Darrel Hess Community College Geography scholarship.”

Calderon expressed how proud she is of them. “Especially, since they are the only two winners in the country. I believe both Tony and Mario have a bright and positive future ahead of them,” she said.

The award consists of a scholarship to be used for any educational expenses in the amount of $1,500 and a formal certificate of merit.

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