AAUW awards $37,000 in scholarships, presents distinguished award

AAUW awards scholarships to 26 women while those past recipients now graduating are honored at the Scholarship Luncheon held Monday, St. George, Utah, May 8, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Lysa McCarroll, St. George News

ST. GEORGE —The “Woman of the Year” award was presented during the American Association of University Women’s sold-out luncheon.

By unanimous selection Pam Wootten, with more than a dozen years of service, was presented the prestigious “Distinguished Woman of the Year” award during the Annual Scholarship luncheon hosted by the American Association of University Women, or AAUW. The event was held at the Courtyard Marriott 185 S. 1470 E. in St. George Monday.

Pam Wootten is presented the “Distinguished Woman of the Year” award at the AAUW’s scholarship luncheon Tuesday, St. George, Utah, May 9, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Jodi White, St. George News

The Distinguished Woman of the Year Award is an initiative of AAUW of Utah. The recognition is nonpartisan and open to women residents of Utah, with a minimum of a baccalaureate degree, who have demonstrated their commitment to women’s equity, advancement and education. They do not need to be AAUW members. Each of the state’s five branches selects its own distinguished woman.

Wootten, served as a past president of the Utah AAUW state chapter, and has served in numerous positions during her years of service to the organization, and is one of the founders of the eSMART Camp program for girls. eSMART is one of several national AAUW programs that encourages 7th grade girls to learn science, technology, engineering, and math skills.

Wooten graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and has a Master of Arts degree from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. She was also an active member of AAUW while living in Grand Junction, Colorado and Monterey, California as well.

“From the time she and her husband, Mark, moved here, Pam has made a difference in the work, growth and contribution of AAUW members here and statewide,” branch president Lysa McCarroll said in announcing the recognition.

During the luncheon, 26 scholarship recipients were also announced.

2017 AAUW Scholarship recipients listed at the Scholarship Luncheon held Monday, St. George, Utah, May 8, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Lysa McCarroll, St. George News

The 26 recipients awarded academic scholarships will benefit from $37,000 in funds that the American Association of University Women raised for the 2017-18 academic year. All of the scholarship recipients are current or soon to be students at Dixie State University.

These scholarships are an important resource for women in the St. George community and offer more than financial aid. In 2014 the organization formed a partnership with Dixie State University’s Women’s Resource Center implementing a mentoring program to cultivate relationships between students and businesswomen in the community whose role is to help students achieve success beyond their academic careers.

“The AAUW is special because scholarship recipients can be paired with an AAUW member for a mentorship opportunity that is very valuable to many women as they pursue their education,” director of the Dixie State Women’s Resource Center Florence Bacabac said.

The Branch Scholarship Committee members selected recipients from a pool of 59 applicants after an evaluation of their essays, grades, field of study and financial need, followed by personal interviews, and students may receive up to three annual scholarships.

“Our winners are excellent scholars who have financial need and meet our criteria by showing the desire and determination to finish their Baccalaureate Degree,” Pat Dalpiaz, co-chair of the branch’s Scholarship Committee said.

Thirteen previous scholarship winners who are now graduating were also recognized.

AAUW Bench Scholarship Program

Past scholarship recipients who are now graduating honored at the AAUW Scholarship Luncheon held Monday, St. George, Utah, May 8, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Lysa McCarroll, St. George News

Creating a scholarship program was the association’s first task upon creating a branch in St. George in 1981. The program was founded to assist communities outside the realm of usual scholarship recipients. These communities include women currently attending Dixie State who intend to finish their degrees, women who did not finish college but would like to return to finish their education and women interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics professions.

The Scholarship program was initially developed to serve students attending Dixie State University, but the program now awards scholarships to students to attend another local university if Dixie State Univerisity does not offer their major. Of the 26 recipients one will be going to Utah Valley University.

The AAUW scholarships are open to women who are Utah residents and either attend or plan to attend Dixie State, demonstrate an ability to graduate, have financial need, and have a 2.5 GPA or higher. Scholarships will be awarded to part-time and full-time students who are taking at least seven credits.

About AAUW 

The American Association of University Women is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls and has more than 170,000 members. Since its inception in 1881, AAUW members have researched and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day: educational, social, economic and political. The AAUW St. George Utah Branch is an extension of the National AAUW and is the largest branch in the state with 142 members. Founded in 1981 their mission is to help advance equity for women and girls in Utah through advocacy, philanthropy and education. AAUW St. George Branch is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization.

For more information contact the AAUW website. 

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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