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Scholarship Recipients 2017 -- Two of Their Stories

Each of the women selected maintains a GPA well above the required 2.5 and fits the definition of non-traditional student whose grit and determination are reflected in the essays that were submitted as a part of their scholarship applications. Here are excerpts from their speeches made at the Ninth Trailblazers Awards Luncheon, March 10, 2017.

First Student

"I had thought about becoming a dental hygienist while in high school. I saved the money and spent a year and a half taking the nine prerequisite courses I needed before applying to the highly competitive Hudson Valley Community College’s Dental Hygiene program. When I was waiting to hear if I was awarded any of the scholarships I had applied for, I got the list of expenses for my first semester and I was floored. When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it’s kind of scary to have to come up with $2,000 in the next couple of months.

Luckily I received an email the next week that I had received a Women’s Fund scholarship. I was so happy – I told everyone, 'The best thing happened to me today!'

I was so relieved and surprised that the Women’s Fund believed in me and wanted to invest in me. This scholarship really reduced my anxiety and gave me some peace of mind about going back to school. I had been questioning myself, wondering if I could really do it. Thank you for empowering me.”

Second Student

“I had worked in finance and banking for 28 years. In 2014, I decided to make a career change, to double major in Culinary Arts and Hotel Management. Going back to school was very, very difficult for me. I was surrounded by young adults and applying myself in ways I never had before.

My proudest moment was when I opened the letter and read that I had received a Women’s Fund scholarship. By receiving this scholarship, I no longer have to worry how I am going to pay for the rest of my education. This scholarship has validated not only my decision to go back to school but also my ability to do so. I plan to open my own bakery when I graduate. I would like to give back by mentoring young women who are interested in cooking and being an entrepreneur.”