Women In Focus 2021 Scholarship winners: Top row: Jayda Woods, Quynh-Anh Le, Ebba Harrison, Aliyah Brown, Calise Howard and Areea Her Middle row: Isaiah Mielke, Tziah McNair, Copper Daniel, Chastity Collins, Nongnah Her, Jillian Patton Bottom row: Meghna Krisna, Rayanna Alexander, Julian Jaimes, Oivia Krause, Kersey-Angela Abongwa, and Itzayana Saucedo Vivar

A glimpse into the future appears remarkably bright for members of the Class of 2021. Among the 18 recipients of Women In Focus’ 2021 scholarships, are a future pharmacist, immigration attorney, a physics engineer, interior designer and nurses, to name a few.  Seventeen outstanding, college-bound students of color will receive $2,500 each. The final scholarship winner received the new Inspiring Founders Scholarship, which is a four-year award of $2,500 each year. 

“In the last 35 years, Women In Focus has given out over 300 scholarships in excess of $600,000 to support, encourage and recognize outstanding students of color who contribute to the Greater Madison community in a positive way, every day,” Treater Prestine, the organization’s scholarship chair, said via Zoom “These students have demonstrated that they are committed to their individual achievements, their families and communities.”  

The virtual scholarship reception, held on April 18, allowed students to thank their mentors, teachers and families for believing in them.  Many thanked Women In Focus for providing scholarships to fill in the gap between financial aid and the cost to attend colleges of their choice. 

“It gives me a great deal of pleasure to welcome you to the second Women In Focus Virtual Scholarship Reception,” said Verena Morgan, president of Women In Focus (WIF). “The disappointment of not being able to award this scholarship in person does not diminish the impact that these awards will have on our youth as they move on to college and their future. 

“Our students have overcome so much over the past year and this year’s submissions have left me with hope and confidence that our community has a bright future with these young folks taking the lead,” she added. 

Women In Focus, Inc. reviews submissions annually and awards scholarships to deserving students who have been selected by the WIF Scholarship Review Committee. The scholarships are presented at a big ceremony every spring, typically in person. Money for the scholarships were raised at the Women in Focus 35th Anniversary Virtual MLK Dream Scholarship Ball in January, which was a virtual event for the first time ever.  

Nichelle Nichols, executive director of Equity, Partnerships and Engagement at Madison Metropolitan School District; and, WIF Scholar ‘87, served as keynote speaker at the award ceremony. 

“As you are excited about this next chapter in your life, I want you to hang onto the fact that persisting through is more important,” said Nichols. “I want you to keep coming back to this idea that ‘I am resilient; I must persist. It is my duty to persist.’” 

Here are the Outstanding Scholars: 

• Areeya Her, East High School, WIF Scholarship 

• Nongnah Her, East High School, WIF Scholarship 

• Quynh-Anh Le, East High School, WIF Scholarship 

• Chastity Collins, Sun Prairie High School, WIF Scholarship in honor of Gloria Jones-Bey  

• Copper Daniel, Memorial High School, WIF Scholarship 

• Isaiah Mielke, Sun Prairie High School, WIF Inspiring Founders Scholarship (4-year award) 

• Calise Howard, La Follette High School, WIF Scholarship 

• Tziah McNair, La Follette High School, WIF Scholarship 

• Olivia Krause, Sun Prairie High School, WIF Scholarship (for student entering a health field) 

• Jillian Patton, Sun Prairie High School, WIF Scholarship (for student entering a health field) 

• Jayda Woods, LaFollette High School, WIF Scholarship in memory of Jasmine Cox 

• Rayanna Alexander, LaFollette High School, WIF Scholarship 

• Julian James, East High School, WIF Scholarship in honor of Rose Ann Brown  

• Itzayana Saucedo Vivar, East High School, WIF Scholarship 

• Kersey-Angela Abongwa, Verona High School, Julius Morgan Scholarship 

• Aliyah Brown, La Follette High School, WIF Scholarship in honor of Virginia Henderson  

• Ebba Harrison, Waunakee High School, WIF Scholarship in honor of Jan and Al Studesville 

• Meghna Krishna, Verona High School, WIF scholarship 

More information about Women In Focus, Inc can be found on our website www.womeninfocusmadison.org.  Interviews available if desired.  Please contact Portia Adney, WIF Social Media Chair, portiaadney@gmail.com with any questions.