In 2020 AAUW Naperville Area was pleased to offer a special one-time scholarship thanks to the generosity of a kind donor. The scholarship honors Sydell Hollman, a forward-thinking woman who greatly valued education and equity for women.
Maria Murga is the recipient of the 2020 Sydell Hollman Scholarship of $5,000. Ms. Murga, a single mother of four young children, has been living in transitional housing through the Bridge Communities organization. Ms. Murga is enrolled in an accelerated Business Management program at Benedictine University, and is on track to graduate in the spring of 2021.
One of her professors described Ms. Murga as an inspirational leader who stands out because she is attentive, inquisitive, honest and humble. Another professor advised that she embodies the phrase “if you give them wings, they will fly.” The professor was particularly impressed with Ms. Murga’s work on an independent study project in which she researched the lives of women who overcame obstacles, and used their success to help others achieve and give back to their communities.
Ms. Murga’s educational journey has been especially difficult because she is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, and is unable to access federal grants or loans. As if parenting and work in the classroom were not enough to keep her busy, Ms. Murga also works full time as a sales associate for DRF Trusted Property Solutions, a company which provides plumbing services and hot water systems. After obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree, Ms. Murga would like to work in the business world, preferably in an industry where she can grow and continue to learn.