First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe and the Virginia Council on Women announced the winners of the 4th annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Essay Contest for high school junior and senior girls.
The Council awarded five scholarships to female juniors and seniors pursuing STEM careers at institutions of higher education, the highest award winner receiving a $10,000 scholarship. Three hundred and eighty-one young women from across the Commonwealth submitted essays focusing on the student’s vision for a future STEM career. The awardees were recognized today at a reception hosted by the Governor and First Lady at the Executive Mansion.
The First Lady congratulated the awardees today saying, “Advancing STEM education across the Commonwealth is a top priority of our administration’s efforts to build a new Virginia economy. The STEM Essay Contest encourages young women to think, study and express themselves on topics that are perfectly aligned with our modern economy. The Governor and I are so proud of this year’s contest winners and all of the Virginia students who are preparing to lead the economy of the future in these important STEM fields.”
The award recipients are as follows:
- First Place, $10,000 scholarship award: Valerie Chen of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA
- Second Place, $8,000 scholarship award: Anna Ruefer, Homeschool, Fairfax Station, VA
- Third Place, $5,000 scholarship award: Paige Haley of St. Margaret’s School, Tappahannock, VA
- Fourth Place, $5,000 scholarship award: Nayla Labban of Mills E. Godwin High School, Henrico, VA
- Fifth Place, $5,000 scholarship award: Bailey Sasseville of Lake Braddock Secondary School, Burke, VA
Applicants were required to be females who reside in Virginia, are enrolled as a junior or senior in high school and hold at least a 2.5 GPA.
The Council extends their sincere thanks to all of the sponsors and judges of this year’s STEM Scholarship Awards. The sponsors were: Capital One; Wells Fargo; Morrison & Foerster LLP; Hunton & Williams LLP; Buckley Sandler LLP; Patient First; Troutman Sanders LLP; McGuireWoods LLP; Murphy & McGonigle, PC; Holland & Knight; Stony Point Surgery Center; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Appalachian Power Company; Tracy Key, Chair of the VA Council on Women; Williams Media; National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). The judges who generously gave their time in judging entries were: Marty Wilson, Richmond; Katie Crepps, Richmond; Allison Couillard, Richmond; Meta Braymer, Richmond; Kit Young, Richmond; Donna Hearn, Charlottesville; Kimberly Snipes, Richmond; Belinda Ragonese, Richmond; Katherine Waddell, Richmond; Courtney Rodeheaver Coyle, Richmond; Meredith Johnson Harbach, Richmond; Carol Rick Gibbons, Richmond; Brook Trible, Richmond; Barbara Kapas, Reston; Donna Ciliberto, Richmond; Laura Mandela, Alexandria; Christine Hales, Richmond; Mary Quillen, St. Paul; Dr. Beth Du Novey, Richmond; Olivia Gans Turner, Fairfax; Jessica Ankney, Reston; Tina Robertson, Richmond; Kelly Stuart, Richmond.
The purpose of the Virginia Council on Women is to help women reach their potential and maximize their contributions to society and the Commonwealth as wage earners and citizens. The Council has initiated several projects to meet this goal. One is the annual STEM essay contest for young women in high school. For more information on the Council or on available sponsorship opportunities, please visit: https://commonwealth.virginia.gov/council-on-women/.