AAUW Presents Back-to-School Scholarships – Times-Standard

The Humboldt County branch of the American Association of University Women recently awarded its annual support-focused back-to-school scholarships to upper division and graduate female students at Cal Poly Humboldt.

Eligibility for “re-entry” requires applicants to have had a break of at least five years in their college/university teaching experience.

AAUW-Humboldt focused on providing scholarships to women returning to school after a long break in recognition of the value a degree can bring, but how difficult it can be when family, finances and other obstacles arise.

Four scholarships were awarded, ranging from $1,000 to $2,000. The recipients are:

• Mickelle Ammer is enrolled in Cal Poly Humboldt’s new RN-to-BSN program. After earning her associate degree in nursing from College of the Redwoods in 2014, she began working at Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital. She continued to work, now part-time, dealing with challenges and medical debt due to a serious health condition, and caring for her two young children. The selection committee was impressed with her critical thinking about the changes she wants to see in health care and her goal of becoming a nurse educator, but most of all found her resilience inspiring.

• Julia Bartley is working on her Masters in Natural Resources with a focus on Forest Ecology. His thesis focuses on the use of prescribed burning (controlled burning) as a land management tool. She worked for eight years after her undergraduate studies in land management agencies and organizations, including The Nature Conservancy. Her experiences as often one of the few, if not the only, women in male-dominated wildfire crews sparked a strong desire to serve as a mentor to help traditionally underrepresented students succeed in careers in natural resources.

• Ashley Dickinson works in the field of rare plant conservation and is strongly committed to promoting biodiversity and understanding how to protect endangered plants. A master’s candidate in natural resources, Dickinson’s current research focuses on understanding the extinction risk of a rare plant, the two-flowered pea, found only in Humboldt County. She showed great dedication to her work, persisting through logistical challenges and difficulties, disrupting important seasonal study periods and factory access. His community involvement includes volunteer work with the North Coast Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

• Sarah Leidinger is pursuing a master’s degree in geology. She currently has a very ambitious course schedule while working part-time as a GIS analyst with an environmental consulting company. The selection committee was impressed with the way she explained complex concepts and talked about her work mentoring GIS students. Leidinger is also very focused on her long-term goal of becoming a licensed professional geologist, a long process that will take many years after she graduates.

AAUW’s mission is to advance gender equity through research, education, and advocacy. The Humboldt branch offers these scholarships, provides other educational and leadership opportunities for local girls, and hosts various interest groups and monthly meetings to promote community engagement. For more information, visit https://humboldt-ca.aauw.net.

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