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Five women receive scholarships from Wooster branch of AAUW

Working toward a degree in surgical nursing, Leigh Ann Sterner of Wooster looks over textbooks from her classes at Malone University School of Nursing. Sterner, a mother and grandmother, is one of the five recipients of the 2014 AAUW scholarships awarded to women who had their education interrupted or delayed.

Karen Skubik

The tradition of turning the profits from the sale of used books into college scholarships continues as the Wooster Branch of the American Association of University Women announces the names of five women receiving this year’s awards.

Last fall, AAUW combined forces with the Wooster Kiwanis Club at the Wayne County Fairgrounds and sold $15,000 in used books. The two service organizations allocated one-third of the sales towards helping Wayne County women who fall into the category of non-traditional student enrolled in a qualified associate or bachelor degree program.

“The women were chosen by a committee of three” after submitting applications by the May 1 deadline, said AAUW scholarship chair Prue Holtman.

Brittany Bullard, Leigh Ann Sterner and Jennifer Warden, all of Wooster, and Rhonda Donda and Kelly Williams of Orrville are the 2014 recipients. The funds they receive, administred through the Wayne County Community Foundation, can be applied toward tuition or book expenses. Holtman said they were chosen to receive this year’s awards because, “they all show determination to continue their education and complete a degree.”

Warden is a good example of a typical scholarship recipient. “I graduated high school at the age of 17 and, while I felt ready to move away from home and go to college, I was certainly not prepared for the amount of focus and dedication required and my grades showed it,” she said. After missing a financial aid deadline and finding out she wasn’t technically enrolled for her sophomore year, Warden took the rest of the year off, found a job and met her future husband. “(I) eventually realized that continuing my education would have to stay on the back burner,” she said.

Currently working as manager of Spoon Market and Deli, Warden feels her business management major at the University of Akron Wayne College will help her be more effective, which will in turn help Spoon’s business.

Warden and her husband both work fulltime. “With a mortgage, car payment, and all of the other expenses of life, paying for a college education on our income is not easy,” she said “The AAUW scholarship will help me cover the cost of textbooks for several classes.” In addition, Warden said, “This degree will afford me a great deal of flexibility in the future.”

Sterner and Williams are pursuing their nursing degrees at Malone University and Kent State University, respectively, with AAUW’s help. Donda also is studying nursing at UA Wayne.

Williams currently works as a licensed practical nurse. “I started my education a while ago and decided it was time to go back,” she said. With a 17-month-old son, Williams acknowledged the support she receives from her parents, husband and in-laws is invaluable. They all help her work towards a goal of obtaining her associate’s degree in Nursing. The AAUW scholarship will also be a huge help, according to Williams, who plans to use the award to pay for books with any leftover money going towards tuition.

The cycle of used books to scholarships to college books will continue as AAUW and Kiwanis plan to old their annual sale Sept. 24-27 at the Wayne County Fairgrounds.

Published: August 4, 2014
New Article ID: 2014708049978