Two leading women’s organizations have announced $50,000 in scholarships and awards aimed at advancing the education and careers of 33 girls and women across Jefferson County.
Ranging from middle and high school girls to women studying at technical schools and colleges and headed for medical school, the recipients include workers who are at the same time pursuing diplomas.
The funders? The American Association of University Women’s Port Townsend branch and its affiliate, the University Women’s Foundation of Jefferson County.
The scholarships were announced during a May 11 presentation which saw the $11,000 Elmira K. Beyer Endowed Scholarship - based on academic performance, financial need, and educational and professional goals - awarded to Natalie Moug, a lifelong resident of Jefferson County, who works as a paraeducator with the Chimacum School District in special education services.
Moug said that working with some of the most challenged children in Chimacum has only increased her desire to become a teacher, because she loves watching children succeed at reaching their goals.
When Moug isn’t working as a paraeducator, she’s earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in education through Olympic College’s online program with Western Washington University.
Josefine Wallace received an $8,500 Academic Endowed Scholarship, and has been accepted to the University of Washington School of Medicine. This scholarship will help her achieve her plans to practice primary care medicine in Jefferson County, and eventually work in public health and health policy positions.
When not studying medicine, Wallace spends time at sea, having worked on tall ships for years, including the schooner Adventuress. Her community service in Jefferson County includes stints at the YMCA, SNAP, food bank and MASH Clinic.
Other college-level awards to Jefferson County women include a $5,000 technical and career school scholarship to Ellena Schaefer, as well as Lisa T. Painter scholarships for the study of law, fine arts or health care in the amounts of $3,100 to McKenzie Kieffer, and $2,500 each to Mimi Molotsky and Corrine Pierson.
The $3,300 Constance Anna Pash Scholarship for STEM went to Brinnon’s Tirzah Small, who plays flute with the Port Angeles Symphony, the Port Townsend Orchestra and RainShadow Chorale, while also earning BA and MA degrees in Math.
“I desire to open students’ minds to the fact that the process of learning mathematics is about far more than numbers and solving equations,” Small said. “The study of mathematics develops logic, problem-solving skills, patience and perseverance, all of which can be applied to every aspect of life.”
Environmental scholarships include $1,000 to Samantha Rae and $3,000 to McKenzie Ginther, the latter of whom has an AA from Peninsula College, and is currently seeking her bachelor’s degree in environmental science at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Ginther has been a volunteer for Jefferson County Search and Rescue for the past seven years.
Second-year college assistance funds of $1,000 each went to past AAUW/UWF scholars Lauren Taracka, Halli Trafton and Katrina Love.
High school STEM scholar awards of $100 each went to Port Townsend’s Lily O’Shea, Rosalyn Salmon and Karen Absher; Chimacum’s Elizabeth Shiflett, Haley Morrison and Solana Gonzalez; and Quilcene’s McKenzie Kieffer, Lexi Ritter and Scarlett McBride.
Young women in middle school benefit from the AAUW/UWF by being sent to a week-long “Tech Trek” STEM summer camp in Tacoma, at Pacific Lutheran University.
“Tech Trek is a teaching camp designed to encourage the students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Celia Fry, vice president of scholarships for AAUW of Port Townsend. “Classes, lab sessions and field trips are part of the camping experience, along with an opportunity to meet women working in STEM fields.”
This year’s crop of middle schoolers include:
• From Blue Heron Middle School in Port Townsend, Josephine Mack, Hazel Windstorm, Virginia Su, Ruby Mesas and Ruby Mills.
• From Chimacum, Julia Breitweg, Kylee Johnson, Ella Kasperson and Ava Shiflett.
• From Quilcene, Ava Erickson.
• From the Sunfield Education Association in Port Hadlock, Charlotte Chapel.