Scholarship Information

Dr. Adrian R. Lawler was an American Field Service (AFS) exchange student to Sweden in 1957, the second AFS student from Oak Ridge. He established this scholarship to assist future exchange students attending Oak Ridge, Tennessee schools to study in the various countries of the world, and to thank the City of Oak Ridge for its help to him during his school years there.

Dr. Lawler received his AB in Biology from the University of Rochester, 1962, Rochester, NY; MA in Marine science, Virginia Inst. of Marine Sci (VIMS), William & Mary, 1964; Ph.D. in Marine Biology, VIMS, William & Mary, 1971, Under Dr. W. J. Hargis, Jr.

He completed postdoctoral work in Marine Parasitology, Gulf Coast Res Lab, Ocean Springs, Ms, 1971-73 ; he was hired by Dr. Gordon Gunter. He was co-founder of Toxicology, at the Gulf Coast Research Lab, 1975, and served as the first Aquarium Supervisor at the J. L. Scott Aquarium, Biloxi, Ms., 1984 -1998.

He discovered several species new to science, and now advises people on diseases transmitted from fishes and other marine life, to humans, and various other aquarium subjects.


To partially fund students attending Oak Ridge schools in exchange student programs/international meetings.

Who is Eligible for the Scholarship?

Priority of funding for students is (highest to lowest):

No more than one scholarship will be awarded to any student during his/her lifetime.

The application form should be returned with:

Also, the applicant should arrange for three references who will complete and email or mail a letter of reference directly to the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation at the address at the end of this information sheet and on the application form by the application deadline. The references should be obtained from professional sources (excluding family) that are well acquainted with the applicant's educational background, intellectual abilities, jobs and volunteer experience, and personal character.

The amount of scholarship funds available will vary from year to year. Applicants should apply for scholarships in the range of $500 to $2000.

What Exchange Programs Can Be Funded?

The scholarship does not usually provide for total funding in order to encourage students to earn part of their funding as a life lesson. Exceptions to the partial-funding objective may be made for students who are disabled (but can still travel) or whose financial situation makes personal funding a hardship. Recipients may receive greater or total funding only if sufficient funds are available for that year. The Scholarship Committee may choose to select fewer students in order to provide greater funding for a qualified student who is disabled or in financial need.

Funding is not for vacation or sightseeing trips, but for learning/educational trips, either during the school year or during the summer, and before or after high school graduation, as ascertained/approved by the Scholarship Committee.

What Other Programs Can Be Funded?

Discretionary funding is available, at the special approval of the Scholarship Committee, for attending/sponsoring international meetings designed to further a better understanding of other cultures/peoples, no matter what country hosts the meetings. A written request to the Scholarship Committee will initiate the consideration for funding.

Qualifications for this type of funding are:

Nondiscrimination Policy

Students are to be selected without regard to gender, race, color, creed, religion, sexual preference, disability, politics, wealth, class/caste, or any other discriminatory issue.

For More Information

Contact the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation.

Past Lawler Scholars

Tiffany Potok (Spring 2016)

Tiffany Potok met students from throughout the world as an honors student at University of Glasgow, one of Europe’s oldest universities. Along with Scottish students, she met Canadians and lived in a flat with students from Brazil, China, Cyprus, and Malaysia during the spring semester this year. She studied the Scottish enlightenment and took neuroscience courses while there. And she brought home some life lessons as well. "One of the main take-aways I have is this: We focus way too much on cultural differences and how that separates us," Potok said. "We need to focus more on what makes us all human." The scholarship helped her realize what Lawler hoped students would discover from his gift. The Lawler Scholarship enabled Potok to travel throughout Scotland during her studies there. She had dreamed of studying in Scotland since she was in the fifth grade, when she, her mother, and brother traveled there with her father, who was on a business trip. She is the daughter of Thomas and Judith Potok. "One of my favorite memories of Scotland was walking down the streets in Glasgow, looking at the buildings, and thinking that the buildings were older than my country," she said. [more...]

Patricia Garland (Spring 2014)

Studying and working with students at Hong Kong City University, Patricia Garland viewed sustainability challenges and solutions through a new lens. "Culturally, it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I had never been able to work with other cultures in this capacity," said Patricia. "It was fascinating." Her crosscultural learning experience has provided valued insights that will help her as she pursues a career in sustainability, either working on a college campus or for a company in the private sector. Now earning a master’s degree in sustainability from Arizona State University, she encountered real challenges during her study abroad – decreasing marine biodiversity affecting the fishing industry, and landfill space quickly filling up while serving Hong Kong’s 7 million inhabitants. Policy solutions, she learned, must take the political realities into consideration.

Benjamin Gavin (Fall 2013)

Benjamin Gavin has a life goal of visiting every country in the world. His studies abroad during his junior year of college will allow him to check off several countries on his list.

The International Relations Club at Oak Ridge High School generated his interest in international affairs, and the Dr. Adrian R. Lawler Exchange Student Scholarship provided a $1,000 scholarship to assist him in his studies abroad.

Gavin is spending this semester in Ho Chi Minh City, where he will have opportunities to study economics, humanities, and Asian religions. [more...]

Robert Smith (Spring 2013)

Robert Smith is absorbing the culture of India as he studies abroad this semester with assistance from the Dr. Adrian R. Lawler Exchange Student Scholarship.

Smith is the 2012 recipient of the Lawler Scholarship, which supports international study programs and is administered by the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation. Lawler, an Oak Ridge High School graduate and the second local student to participate in an American Field Service international program in 1957, established the scholarship in 2008 to offer students here similar opportunities to gain tolerance and understanding. [more...]

Katelyn Campbell

Katelyn Campbell, a junior at Murray State University who is studying abroad in Germany this semester, is the first recipient of the Dr. Adrian R. Lawler Exchange Student Scholarship established earlier this year for students from Oak Ridge. [more...]

Amy Obarski

Oak Ridge High School graduate Amy Obarski wants to find inspiration for filmmaking through study abroad in a location she wouldn't ordinarily visit. A local scholarship is helping the Ithaca College student to spend a month in Seoul, South Korea, this summer to study documentary film production. [more...]

Brighton Hatfield

After hosting a foreign exchange student this year, Oak Ridge High School sophomore Brighton Hatfield decided to become one herself. [more...]

Anna Reddick

Anna Reddick hoped to study abroad in a place she wouldn't normally have the opportunity to travel. A scholarship will help her achieve that goal as she pursues anthropology studies in a remote area of the Himalayan Mountains this summer. [more...]

Meghan Riemer

International study this summer at the Kyoto Institute of Culture and Language will fulfill a lifelong dream for Meghan Riemer. [more...]

Lucas Campbell

Lucas Campbell will prepare to work in the global marketplace during his spring semester studies abroad at Georgia Tech-Lorraine in Metz, France, thanks to help from a local scholarship. [more...]