EWNJ honors 15 nontraditional students with Graduate Merit awards totaling more than $75K

The Executive Women of New Jersey honored 15 recipients of its 2018 Graduate Merit Awards at the organization’s annual holiday celebration Wednesday night at Brach Eichler LLC in Roseland.

EWNJ Graduate Merit Awards are provided exclusively to nontraditional students who are pursuing advanced degrees at New Jersey universities or colleges.

The organization defines a “nontraditional” student as one who returns to her studies several years after receiving an undergraduate degree; a student who may have completed her undergraduate degree at a later date; a student who changed careers and is returning to school to retool her career; or a student who comes from a nontraditional educational or socioeconomic background.

Susan Dromsky-Reed, chair of the EWNJ Scholarship Committee and member at Brach Eichler, said the committee loves to celebrate those who have achieved so much in the face of adversity.

“The students that we honor often struggle with the high cost of tuition coupled with their personal financial obligations,” she said. “Many of these inspiring women have overcome significant hardships or are raising families while furthering their studies, and we are proud to offer them some relief.

“We have a particular focus on students pursuing careers in STEM, where women are drastically underrepresented. We are proud to support these talented women with this scholarship opportunity.”

Since its inception, EWNJ’s unique Graduate Merit Award Program has provided over $1.3 million in tuition assistance to women attending New Jersey colleges and universities.

Michellene Davis, president of EWNJ and executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer at RWJBarnabas Health, said the scholarships are just one step in helping the state make progress toward equality.

“EWNJ is committed to increasing gender diversity on boards and in senior corporate leadership, which is why every year we award tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships to exceptional women leaders who are pursuing advanced degrees,” she said. “Our goal is to establish a pipeline of future women leaders, and we are delighted that our Graduate Merit Award Program continues to exceed our expectations.”

In addition to the EWNJ-funded awards, scholarships are donated by RWJBarnabas Health, Public Service Enterprise Group, Janssen and Lowenstein Sandler. The average scholarship amount is $5,000.

2018 Graduate Merit Award Program Winners

EWNJ President’s Scholarship ($10,000):

  • Krista Welz of North Bergen, candidate for Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership Technology, New Jersey City University

STRIDES Advancing Women in Business Award for outstanding achievement in business or technology, sponsored by Lowenstein Sandler ($5,000):

  • Audrey Biondi of Belleville, candidate for Master of Science, New Jersey Institute of Technology

RWJBarnabas Health Women’s Leadership Alliance ($5,000):

  • Allison Murawski of Princeton, candidate for Joint M.D. with Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School – Rutgers University and Princeton University

Janssen Cardiovascular and Metabolism Award for outstanding student in health care or life sciences ($5,000):

  • Rachel Montel of Maywood, candidate for Ph.D. in Molecular Bioscience, Seton Hall University

PSEG Award for an outstanding student pursuing an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering, math or environmental science ($5,000):

  • Caitlin Edore of Manahawkin, candidate for Master in Education in Integrative STEM, College of New Jersey

EWNJ Past President’s Scholarship for an outstanding business candidate ($5,000):

  • Erica Amianda of Glen Ridge, candidate for Master of Health Care Administration, Seton Hall University

EWNJ Honorees:

  • Tameka Bordeaux of Bayonne, candidate for Master of Mental Health Counseling, New Jersey City University;
  • Cynthia Diaz of Ledgewood, candidate for Doctor of Physical Therapy, Rutgers University School of Health;
  • Kelly Keefe Marcoux of Bay Head, candidate for Ph.D. in Nursing, Seton Hall University;
  • Jenelle McLeod of New Brunswick, candidate for Master in School Counseling, Caldwell University;
  • Sandra Medina of Highland Park, candidate for Ph.D. in Spanish Literature and Culture, Rutgers University;
  • Genaya Palmer of Paterson, candidate for Master of Counseling with Art Therapy Concentration, Caldwell University;
  • Marie Tonini of Morris Plains, candidate for Master in Counseling Psychology, Caldwell University;
  • Noelia Vasquez of Kearny, candidate for Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, New Jersey City University;
  • Magdalena Wozniak of Clark, candidate for Doctor of Physical Therapy, Seton Hall University.