Four Auburn students awarded BECU Foundation Scholarships

Crystal Chindavongsa - Courtesy photo
Crystal Chindavongsa
— image credit: Courtesy photo

For the Reporter

As part of BECU's commitment to education and assisting outstanding students, the BECU Foundation awarded 75 BECU student-members with $3,000 scholarships toward their college education.

Four students from Auburn were awarded scholarships:

Crystal Chindavongsa

The Auburn Mountainview High School student will attend the University of Washington and fundraised for Relay for Life of Kent for her main service project.

Here is what Chindavongsa had to say about her experience:

"Relay For Life is an 18-hour event under the American Cancer Society created to celebrate the survivors, remember the lost ones and fight back against cancer. The Relay For Life of Kent has routinely raised over $150,000 each year. Participants form teams that raise money prior to the event and during it - walk around the track alongside our survivors to manifest the tiring fight against cancer that many of them face. We want to make sure they know they are not alone and we will be with them every step of the way."

Jonathan Baunach

The Auburn Riverside High School student will attend St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minn.). He volunteered at a summer camp for his main service project.

Here is what Baunach had to say about his experience:

"Growing up as part of a summer camp family was a wonderful experience until I realized that my beliefs and that of the camp were very different. Taking a stand for what I believe in, even if it meant losing the income and friends that I had from the camp has shaped my future in a dramatic way."

Matlyn Knott

The Auburn High School student will attend Northwest Nazarene University (Nampa, Idaho). She served as a Young Life club leader at local middle school for her main service project.

Here is what Knott had to say about her experience:

"Young Life is a Christian outlet that provides kids with a safe place to be around leaders and other kids their age who love Jesus. It is lead by people who volunteer their time to attend club, plan every event, and be a part of kids lives. Young Life makes it so that kids who might not have someone that genuinely care will receive one on one attention from someone who values them, making those kids aware of how much they are worth."

Ryan Johnson

The Auburn High School student will attend Pacific Lutheran University. He volunteered on various projects through advanced leadership class for his main service project.

Here is what Johnson had to say about his experience:

"The best part of volunteering is giving back to someone in the community who is truly deserving. Bobby Vogel is the No. 1 fan of all things at AHS and his positive attitude and support for the entire school are genuine and welcoming. Helping Bobby set up his Christmas tree, decorate his home and string up the outdoor lights this past year was a real pleasure and a rewarding experience for all of us."

BECU's commitment

For more than 18 years, the BECU Foundation has awarded these scholarships to outstanding high school and undergraduate college students.

Through additional fundraising and community support, the BECU Foundation was able to expand the scholarship program by giving away more scholarships than previous years, said Debbie Wege, executive director of the BECU Foundation.

"We take pride in the fact that our program continues to grow each year and that these student-members are putting the credit union philosophy of 'people helping people' to work in their communities," she said.

Each year, the BECU Foundation awarded top honors to two high school and two college students.

In the college category, the W. Jim Roller Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Kristina Knutson for her work sponsoring the Burned Children Recovery Foundation. The BECU Board of Directors Recognition Award was given to Daniel Konzelman for volunteering to perform music at local events, festivals and benefit concerts.

In the high school category, the M. Bud Jewell Memorial Award was given to Chindavongsa for her work fundraising for Relay for Life of Kent, and the Gary Oakland Scholarship was awarded to Shelby Mensalvas for serving as team captain of Relay for Life.

"Over the years, we've given more than $1.7 million dollars in scholarships to 790 students, and every year I look forward to giving out the next set of awards," Wege said.

The recipients participated in all types of service projects, from creating a non-profit business – Foster Bikes, to serving on the board of the Pierce County chapter of United Way and serving as Young Life Student President.

The BECU Foundation received hundreds of applications and selected 75 recipients based on academic achievement, amount of time dedicated to volunteering in the community, and an essay about their community involvement.

For a complete list of the recipients as well as additional information, visit

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