For the 2022-23 academic year, AAUW Ashland awarded nearly $33,000 in scholarships to four students at Southern Oregon University (SOU) and four students at Rogue Community College (RCC). Our scholarships are available to enrolled students at our local partner schools, SOU and RCC. Students apply for the AAUW Ashland Scholarship by using their school’s scholarship process and deadlines.
Our awards are prioritized to those in financial need, often identified as a first generation college student; and/or non-traditional student returning to higher education, after a break due to life circumstances and/or challenges. Yet they persevere in their educational journey, by supporting their families, contributing to their community’s well-being, and participating in their school’s learning environments. Support women in higher education at RCC and/or SOU by making a gift or donation.
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Celebration of Scholars
AAUW Ashland honors its scholarship recipients at an Annual Celebration of Scholars event. This is a joyous occasion at which our members, the community, and the recipients’ friends and family can recognize the hard work and achievements of these special women.
This year’s event will be held on Wednesday, October 18, at 6:00-8pm at SOU.
Rogue Community College Scholars
Callie Danielle Abney is a second-year Allied Health nursing student at RCC pursuing an Associate in Applied Science degree with a focus in nursing. She plans to attend OHSU in the fall of 2024 to obtain her Bachelor of Science degree. Within the last year, she has spent over 120 hours volunteering with the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County in the medical therapy department and the business department. She plans on pursuing a career as an Oncology Infusion Nurse at the Heimann Cancer Treatment Center, eager to aid our community in their fight against cancer.
“Growing up, my grandmother was one of my best friends, and I attribute a lot of the woman I am today to her. As tough as she was, in 2019, she lost her fight, and I was honored to be her hospice care provider. Her battle inspired my love for oncology. The amazing nurses we spent so much time with during her treatments inspired me to want to impact someone else’s life the way they did ours. I look forward to serving the members of our community as an Oncology Infusion Nurse.”
Melissa Fritts is a full-time Allied Health student and in June of 2024 she will graduate with an Associates of Applied Science-Registered Nurse. She has worked as a medical assistant for 10+ years. She previously graduated from RCC with an Associate of General Studies and 2 certificates, one for medical assisting and the other for phlebotomy. As a mother of two school aged children, she returns to school to become a hospice nurse. During the Covid pandemic, Melissa volunteered for Saturday and Sunday Covid vaccine clinics
“I knew I wanted to be a nurse since I was a child and would make up different patient scenarios every time I saw a passing ambulance. In 2018, after my dad’s death, that’s when I truly knew which direction my nursing career was going to go. With his time in the ICU and in hospice, I got to see a whole new side of nursing—a side that deals with the taboo subject of death. The most compassionate and caring people accompanied my family and me through the most unimaginable time in our lives. I hope to be able to do that for others.”
Jessica Rutter is an RCC student enrolled in their Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer program. She is on track to graduate and transfer to SOU with honors and four associate degrees this year as she pursues a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration. Jessica is a full-time first-generation, nontraditional college student and mother to many. In addition to working locally as a CNA2, she works at the RCC Riverside Campus as a peer tutor and office assistant for TRiO Student Support Services. Jessica works diligently to balance college life, work, and family while still finding time to help those in need and setting good examples for her children.
“As a healthcare administrator, I hope to work with regional, state, and federal organizations, in addition to community partners, in the not-too-distant future to improve patient outcomes and employer-employee relations within our region. Our community is in desperate need of qualified administrators to assist with meeting our area’s growing needs. I can attest to the value of a strong administrator’s presence having worked in healthcare for over 16 years. By achieving my academic goals, I aspire to not only be the best version of myself for my future role in our community but also to encourage others to do better for themselves and their fellow humans.”
Amber Wilson is an undergraduate student entering her final year of RCC’s registered nursing program. Since beginning her journey into healthcare, Amber is state certified as a nursing assistant and a medication aide. She received her Associate’s degree in general studies, was accepted into RCC’s registered nursing program. Within the community, she is excited about volunteering with Hawthorne Daily Potluck and helping with her younger siblings’ high school theater troupe. Within healthcare, she is passionate about safe staffing, community health, and fighting healthcare bias towards women and other marginalized groups.
“When I discovered nursing as a career, my life changed. I realized my interests merge in the field of nursing, and I saw a new opportunity for myself. The opportunities to expand my knowledge, connect in meaningful ways, and learn skills that are valuable to my community. Growing up in a low-income household, it hasn’t always been easy to prioritize education. However, I was the first of my siblings to finish high school, and I hope to be the first in my family to receive a bachelor’s degree. I am so grateful for this scholarship opportunity, and I hope to pay it forward to my community in the future.”
Southern Oregon University Scholars
Scarlet Celestino is a senior at SOU, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with double minors in Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies and Social Sciences. She is awarded the Wolf-Pizor Family Scholarship. While attending school full time, she also works in a mental health clinic in Medford as a medical assistant and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation technician, which has broadened her experience and bolstered her passion for the field of psychology. After graduation, Scarlet plans to obtain her Master’s Degree in counseling with a concentration in gender-affirming care, and eventually open her own private practice here in the Rogue Valley.
“Growing up in a rural town, I didn’t take my first psychology course until community college, but with it I immediately knew I had found my calling. As a first-generation college student, I worked in multiple clinical settings before my return to academia; each setting endowed me with valuable knowledge and skills that supplement my education and future career. I’m also inspired by mine and many loved ones’ stories of transcending mental illness. My professional goals are to reduce stigma and increase mental health resource accessibility, and to serve and advocate for underrepresented groups, especially the LGBTQ+ community. I’m eager to contribute my services to the Rogue Valley, where I am happy to now call home.”
Stephany Hernandez is a graduate student at SOU, studying for a Masters of Science in Education, with an ESOL concentration. She has a bachelor’s degree in Education Studies, with an Oregon initial teaching license (multiple subjects endorsement). At age 16, Stephany emigrated from Zacatecas, Mexico. Though this transition has been difficult, she remains active in her Mexican and American communities. Stephany volunteers at a local institution in her Mexican hometown to support less fortunate indigenous children. She collects groceries and supplies and offers free tutoring for children who lack educational opportunities. Stephany also volunteers at Henley Elementary School in Klamath Falls, Oregon.
“I firmly believe that coming from a challenging upbringing should not have the power to dictate anyone’s future. From an early age, I understood the importance of education, self-cultivation, and diligence. Finding my true calling was not difficult as someone once told me to find what helped me connect with my true self and aim at the qualities already set within myself. It was then that I became aware of my passion for teaching. My ultimate goal is to offer my future students holistic support inside and outside the classroom and create a welcoming, inclusive, and flexible learning environment.”
Natasha Robinson is a graduate student in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at SOU; and she is awarded the Lang Family Scholarship. A first generation college student, she graduated in June 2023 at SOU, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. A Ford Family Foundation Scholar and a McNair Post Baccalaureate Scholar, she is interested in understanding the stigma around addiction, and how a community’s attitudes may have an effect on the overdose epidemic. A single mother, Natasha works closely within her community by volunteering with Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Josephine County Recovery Fair, and Overdose Awareness Day activities.
“My passion to become a counselor and help others, stems from my personal experience with substance use. During my recovery from addiction, I was met with counselors that inspired me to continue to reach towards my goals and follow my dreams. I realized through counseling that it is never too late to change my life path which led me to where I am today. My education has proven to me that my journey through trauma and addiction, can also inspire those around me. I fell in love with leading the way by staying dedicated to making a positive impact in my community.”
Samantha Sanders is a senior double majoring in Theatre and Psychology at SOU. Her studies emphasize social psychology, and her upcoming year includes an intensive program in performance. Samantha plans to follow her bachelor’s with a MA in Counseling to provide drama therapy while she performs in theater. This year, she is enthralled to continue her work as a beaming soul in the community, and the senior Theatre House Manager for the Oregon Center for the Arts. A first generation college student, she has been the primary caregiver for her beloved elderly adoptive parents for over eight years.
“The nuances of individuals’ life experiences are my enduring, lifelong fascination. I have always loved people, art, stories, theatre, and making a difference in the lives of others. Studying humanity through both a scientific and artistic perspective has gifted me with a unique mindset; this enables me to bring a thoughtful and constructive approach to my endeavors. My studies bring me immeasurable joy, intrigue, and peace. I wish to bring the light my education brings me into the lives of others through theatre and social work. Nothing would bring me greater satisfaction.”
AAUW Ashland Scholarship Awards
AAUW Ashland Scholarship Awards are one of the premier efforts of this Branch since 1996. Scholarships are critical to advancing higher educational opportunities for women. Scholarships are especially important because women disproportionately bear the burden of student debt. (hyperlink to: https://www.aauw.org/research/deeper-in-debt/ )
We have awarded scholarships to students at Southern Oregon University and Rogue Community College, managed by each school’s financial aid process and each school manages their student accounts. The Scholarship Committee reviews the applications, selects and interviews finalists, and recommends awards. We actively seek mature students who have an educational plan despite different or challenging life experiences, such as: mothers, returning to school after interruption, first generation college students, etc. Each recipient is paired with a Branch member to serve as a mentor.
The total amount awarded is determined by the current annual and available earnings from our endowment funds held at the SOU and RCC Foundations. Scholarships are awarded and the recipients recognized at the Celebration of Scholars held in May.
To join the AAUW Ashland Scholarship Committee and participate in the advocacy and selection process, please contact Chair, Wanda Chin.
Donate to the AAUW Ashland Scholarship Funds.
Scholarships are awarded to full time SOU graduate or undergraduate female students of any age who have financial need and have demonstrated leadership in school and/or community activities, volunteer service, and/or employment, internship or work.
SOU Scholarship Criteria
Scholarships are awarded to female students with financial need in any field of study and of any age and have demonstrated leadership in community activities, volunteer service, and/or employment.
RCC Scholarship Criteria