AAUW Naperville Area Announces Awardees for $15,000 in Scholarships for Women

AAUW Naperville Area is pleased to announce three winners of $5,000 scholarships in 2021. These talented and hard-working women were honored at a virtual branch meeting held on Tuesday, May 11.

Teresa Colletti photo

Teresa Colletti

Teresa Colletti is the recipient of the 2021 Angeline Gale Scholarship. Ms. Colletti is enrolled in a Bachelor’s Degree program in social work at Aurora University with a cumulative grade point average of 4.0. She is scheduled to graduate in December 2021. One professor describes her as dedicated, hard working and collaborative. Another notes that she has a passion for social work, as well as the commitment necessary to succeed in college and beyond. After graduation, Ms. Colletti plans to enroll in a Master’s Degree program in social work, and to obtain a professional educator’s license for social work. In addition to her academic studies, Ms. Colletti works full-time for Greco & Sons, a food service distributor. She volunteers for Youth Outlook, an organization that provides support for LGBTQ+ youth, parent support and community education. Empowering youth has become Ms. Colletti’s passion, and she eventually would like to work within a school setting so that she can help other students reach their goals.

Two area women will receive special Ruth Bader Ginsburg Memorial Scholarships:

Katherine Gannon photo

Katherine Gannon

Katherine Gannon is enrolled in the Environmental Resources Engineering program at the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She carries a cumulative grade point average of 3.9, and is on track to graduate in May 2022. One of Ms. Gannon’s professors notes that she is a critical thinker who has excellent leadership skills. Another praises her strong capacity to solve problems and her comfort in mastering new knowledge. Ms. Gannon is president of the Student Environmental Education Coalition, and has led initiatives to bring STEM learning to underrepresented students. She teaches science classes for girls at the YWCA, and is the fundraising chair for Engineers Without Borders. She also is assisting on a project to divert the flow of a local creek for desalination. Ms. Gannon is very interested in oceanographic studies and the effects of climate change. She believes that the barriers surrounding coastal communities must be protected over time. She would like to earn a graduate degree and someday work as an engineer designing and implementing coastal barriers. She also wants to continue teaching and inspiring students to find their own love for STEM.

Lashawna Harris photo

Lashawna Harris

Lashawna Harris is a single mother of a young daughter and currently lives in transitional housing through the Bridge Communities organization. She is enrolled in a 3 + 1 Bachelor’s of Science program in software development at College of DuPage/Lewis University in Illinois. She carries a cumulative grade point average of 3.6 and is on track to graduate in December 2022. According to one of her professors, she grasps concepts quickly, is willing to assist other students, and is one of the best students he has ever encountered. Another professor says that Ms. Harris asks intelligent questions and has the ability to see the “big picture” beyond computer coding. She is a STEM scholar and serves as co-vice president of a STEM club known as Promotion of Underrepresented Minority Students in Academia (PUMA). She recently was selected as an intern at Argonne National Laboratory, a multi-disciplinary science and engineering research center. Ms. Harris has a strong interest in data science and also is interested in mitigation bias in machine learning algorithms. She plans to become a software developer with a concentration in artificial intelligence. In addition, she would like to dedicate some of her time and resources to social causes that are dear to her. Specifically, she would like to implement a computer training “lunch and learn” program for youth between the ages of 9 and 15, and to assist single mothers who are attending school and trying to better themselves.

About the Angeline Gale Scholarship

For the last 50 years, AAUW Naperville Area branch has offered an annual scholarship to a woman who is beyond the traditional college age and is nearing the completion of her undergraduate degree program. The scholarship is named in honor of Angeline Gale, an educator and founding member of the branch. The intent of the scholarship is to assist women whose educational pursuits have been delayed due to a variety of personal circumstances. 

About the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scholarships

In 2021, thanks to a very generous benefactor, AAUW Naperville Area is privileged to award two special scholarships in honor of the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The intent of these scholarships is to recognize women who have demonstrated excellence in a course of study within the discipline of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM).