On May 14, approximately 150 people gathered at the Stevenson Union on the Southern Oregon University campus to honor this year's eight AAUW Scholarship recipients as well as 38 outstanding women graduates representing individual SOU academic departments.
The AAUW, or American Association of University Women, is a national organization of women and men that advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research. AAUW provides scholarship help to women students each year. Members organize an annual branch appeal to solicit donations for the RCC and SOU endowment funds, read and evaluate applications, interview finalists, and select scholarship winners. Members of the committee spend the third week in March on evaluating applications and interviewing finalists. The scholarship awards are presented to SOU and RCC students at the May Honors Brunch.
This year, the Ashland branch awarded seven scholarships: Four $1,625 scholarships to female students at Rogue Community College, three $2,000 scholarships to female undergraduate students at Southern Oregon University, and one $2,000 scholarship to a female graduate student at SOU. In addition, this year marked the presentation of the first AAUW Ashland Charlene Edwards Graduate Student Scholarship. Senior Amanda Engler, the recipient, received $2,000. She plans a career in the fields of special education and art history.
Recipients of the SOU undergraduate award include:
- Tatsiana Asheichyk has journeyed from Belarus to SOU in order to major in music. Her path has not been an easy one, but as an accomplished pianist, she feels she has found a new home at SOU;
- Jeannie Herman's life experiences, resilience and compassion helped her decide to major in psychology. After earning her graduate degree, she hopes to become a licensed professional psychologist working with underprivileged teenagers.
- Laura Velazquez-Rangel's journey has taken her all the way from a pueblo in Michoacan, Mexico, to the Rogue Valley — something she now says was "the best thing that ever happened." With a major in psychology and a minor in Spanish, Laura plans to earn a Ph.D. and become a clinical psychologist with the aim of better serving the Rogue Valley, in particular its Latino community.
The four Rogue Community College, or RCC, scholarship recipients include:
- Holly Campbell, is a first-generation college student, mother of a 3-year-old, and wife of a disabled Marine Corps veteran. Campbell's aim is to obtain dental assistant certification; the AAUW scholarship will allow her to remain at RCC so she can complete the prerequisites for a dental hygiene program;
- Shawna Davis is accepting a scholarship for the second year in a row. A full-time mom and student, she will graduate next year with an associate degree in criminal justice. The Central Point Police Department recently selected her as one of only four reserve officers from a pool of 150 applicants.
- Pamela Medina successfully took over a declining manufacturing business when her former husband became ill — at the same time caring for him and raising their five children. Medina already attends RCC part time; the AAUW scholarship will assist in her goal of becoming a full-time student majoring in business management.
- Sherri ViTaris, whose goals include breaking down barriers for women entering and working in the trades. As she concludes her first year at RCC, she already has earned dual certification in architectural CAD and construction technology. She serves on the RCC STEM Committee and is working toward her AAS in construction industry management.