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Scholarships Target Business and Technology

Herndon Dulles Chamber of Commerce awards two graduates with scholarships to pursue business and technology

Although graduation is still fresh in their minds, the two recipients of the Herndon Dulles Chamber of Commerce scholarships are already thinking about their college courses in the business and technology fields.

This year's recipients, Kristin Danenberger of Bachan Court, a graduate of South Lakes High School, and Armen Karimian of Frink's Court, a graduate of Herndon High School, were awarded the scholarships earlier this month at their respective high schools.

The scholarships have been awarded annually for the last nine years to students who plan to pursue post-high school education in the areas of business or technology, and who are either employees or dependents of the Herndon Dulles Chamber or its member organizations.

DANENBERGER, whose father is an employee for the Minerals Management Service and a member of the Herndon Dulles Chamber, was awarded with the scholarship at a school ceremony recognizing her for maintaining a GPA of 3.7 or higher during her four years at South Lakes.

"I was surprised," she said. "I didn't think it was going to turn out to be anything."

Danenberger said it was her father, Bud, who told her to apply for the scholarship, which he said he had learned about two years earlier through the chamber.

"We're certainly pleased and honored," said her father. "And thankful to the Herndon Dulles Chamber of Commerce, not only for our daughter's award but also for our family to be given the opportunity for this sort of thing."

Commenting on his daughter's graduation, he said, "It's going to be very different for us," adding that she is an only child and he thinks the move will be a big transition for her.

In contrast, she said she is eager to begin the next step of her education.

"It's a whole new part of life, I'll be meeting new people," she said, adding that she plans to be active in a lot of different groups and organizations once at school.

IN HER FOUR YEARS at South Lakes, Danenberger was a cheerleader for two years, played lacrosse for one year and participated in other extracurricular groups.

To add to her busy schedule she recently completed a six-month internship with the Human Resources Department of the Reston Association, where she said she did everything from hiring summer staff and payroll work to filing and recording documents.

Although she enjoyed her internship because it "showed me the way offices operate," she said she wants to take business courses in college.

"I want to go into some form of business, it's something I have been interested in since I was younger," Danenberger said. She added she's not sure if she wants to pursue finance, international business or management.

KARIMIAN IS TAKING the other route, a career in technology.

Having begun as an intern for the chamber almost two years ago, he has worked his way up to office manager where he now maintains the computer system, among other things.

"He's just an exceptional help here at the chamber," said Connie Hutchinson, manager of the chamber's visitor center. "He very quickly became indispensable."

Karimian said it was Hutchinson who told him to apply for the scholarship.

"I was surprised to win," he said, "but I had a little thought that I might because Connie told me to apply. But I didn't think I would win because I didn't have a lot of academic honors."

Karimian was presented with the scholarship at an awards ceremony where he was also given the Kevan Ulsaker Technical Assistant Award and one of two Cooperartive Employment, or COE, "Student of the Year" medallions from the Herndon High School business department.

HUTCHINSON EXPLAINED the chamber looks not only at academic achievements, but also the student's involvement in the community and the work they do outside of school. She said Karimian's work with the visitor's center and the rest of the chamber was exceptional.

"He's technologically inclined," she said. "He took care of technical issues that normally we would have to send out for help on."

Karimian said he helped develop the www.visitherndon.com Web site as well as the Herndon High School Web site through his technical aide class.

"My mom was pretty happy at the awards night," Karimian said of his scholarships, adding she was even happier when they found out how much they were worth.

This summer Karimian plans to work full time as office manager for the chamber before starting school in the fall. He plans to continue working there while attending Northern Virginia Community College, where he will take general courses before transferring to either George Mason University or James Madison University to pursue a career in computer graphics and design.

Danenberger also plans to keep her job, as a waitress at Euro Bistro in Herndon, this summer and will continue to work while attending James Madison University this fall.