The Scholarship Committee and members of our AAUW So Placer Board met for lunch with our 3 Sierra College scholarship recipients on August 11th at McCormick and Schmick’s. Our students are Melissa Wenzel, Carisa Lolmaugh and Micheal Wilson. The students are all outgoing and entertaining, and the members thoroughly enjoyed interacting and learning more about them on a personal level. The students also had the opportunity to learn more about AAUW and our members personally and how/why we’re members of the AAUW. The Scholarship Committee attempts to schedule a lunch with our Sierra College students and AAUW members at least twice a year, as well to meet with them on an “as needed” basis, to support them and allow them to interact with more of our members at the luncheons. The students also receive copies of Branch Lines each month and are invited to all of our activities. Last year, when our students attended the “Kick-Off” meeting, they admitted that although they knew a little about the AAUW, they had no idea of all of our philanthropic work and how dynamic our members were and they were definitely impressed! We’re looking forward to having them attend the “Kick-Off” again this year and to their having a successful school year!
Our Branch offers scholarships to women who are returning to college at Sierra College and meet the following criteria:
- Must be enrolled in 12 units at the time of application
- Must be enrolled in 12 units at the time they receive the scholarship
- Must have a 3.0 GPA or better
- Must have completed 24 units at time they receive scholarship
- Must be a resident of Placer County, prefer South Placer County
- Must be re-entry women with financial need
- Must complete Budget Form
- We will interview and select the winner(s)
Micheal (pronounced Michael) Wilson was chosen as our 3rd scholarship student at Sierra College on Monday, May 9, after an afternoon spent interviewing 6 applicants. Last year we only had 4 applicants for our two scholarships, so it was wonderful to have so many applicants for our 3rd scholarship this year. That is, except for the fact that it made it tremendously difficult for the Scholarship Committee to choose from the 6 obviously deserving and very qualified students!
Micheal said in her application and during her interview that she is a third generation welfare recipient and a single mother. However, she has always worked to provide for her daughter and said that her family were hard workers but never valued education. In her job as a Dispatcher and Office Manager for a trucking company, she said it was difficult to make a salary sufficient enough to support herself and her daughter. She felt she was in a familiar pattern and made the decision
to do something different…..to get an education! It was difficult going against her family’s values and legacy, but she wanted more for her daughter. She lost a year of schooling at Heald College when they closed but is now even more determined to move forward. She said she’s been inspired, challenged, and motivated by the staff at Sierra College. She’s looking forward to graduating in 2017 with an AA degree in Communications and then transferring to CSUS for her BA degree.
Micheal has multiple student loans and she and her daughter live on a very tight budget. Her quote in her application says it all: that a scholarship means that we are investing in her education and helping to mold the next generation. She views scholarships as “hand-ups,” not “hand-outs.”
When asked for 3 adjectives to describe herself, she said: charismatic, driven/determined, and a
role model. We agreed! One of her goals is to work in Human Resources where she feels she
can make a difference in women’s lives by promoting both equal pay and education.
Of the 6 students the Scholarship Committee interviewed, there were 3 who we really wanted to give scholarships to. However, when we finally decided on Micheal, it was because we felt that she was truly a student who our scholarship will make a difference for and who will eventually make a difference in other women’s lives!
Carisa Lolmaugh is a vivacious young lady who describes herself as holistic, artistic and determined. She has multiple interests and has worked at Art Beast, a children’s art studio where she was known for her creativity, positive attitude and energy. Those attributes came across in the interview as did her passion for a future career in soil conservation and environmental issues. If anyone can make a difference in helping California with its conservation efforts in the future, Carissa is planning on being part of it. When she completes her studies at Sierra College, she would like to transfer to the University of CA, Davis or Cal Poly to major in Soil Science or Hydrology.
Melissa Wenzel is an enthusiastic woman who returned to school as an adult learner with a teenage daughter. She’s in her 2nd year at Sierra College and interested in working with and making a difference for children who struggle with behavioral health, mental health, substance abuse and gang involvement. At present she volunteers and works with families who have lost loved ones. She describes herself as persistent, strong willed and open minded and is focused on obtaining a Psychology Degree at CSUS and eventually her Masters Degree. Her long term plans are to work for an agency in Sacramento or Placer County and to make a difference in troubled children’s lives.
Chair: Betty Manning