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Congrats to Our Scholarship Winners!

The stated goal of our local branch of the AAUW is to support scholarships, grants and programs for women and girls in Indian River County. On Saturday, May 4, we fulfilled that purpose – as we do every year – by awarding scholarships and stipends to nine outstanding and deserving local young women.

Scholarship recipients include five graduating high school seniors, two graduating IRSC students, and two women enrolled in an intensive LPN program at Treasure Coast Technical College.

Nicole Zhao, Erykah Bowles, Camryn Reid, Tishilah Taylor, and Wilyana Michaud, all graduating from local high schools, were selected for their outstanding academic achievements, leadership, and demonstrated financial need to receive AAUW Scholarships valued at $1,000 each.

Nicole Zhao, Vero Beach High School, manages the Taiwan branch of the Asian Passion Program, a nonprofit that provides disadvantaged students in Asia with free ESL tutoring while being a diligent student known for her academic excellence. She plans to attend UCLA and major in business administration.

Erykah Bowles (no picture available), also graduating from VBHS, looks forward to using her people skills to be an advocate for others to have better access to education, housing, and employment. She plans to attend South Carolina State University and major in Family and Consumer Sciences/Business, a multidisciplinary major.

Camryn Reid (no picture available) has excelled in athletics at VBHS. She is ranked fourth in the state for shot put. She has kept her academics and athletics balanced. She plans to major in Biomedical Engineering at Florida International University.

Tishilah Taylor has innovative ideas for buildings and homes designed for people who are disabled. She is graduating from VBHS and plans to attend Florida Memorial University, majoring in architecture.

Wilyana Michaud has been the president of the Interact Club at Sebastian River High School; the position requires motivating, organizing, and being an example to her fellow club members. The Interact Club is a community volunteer organization that is part of Rotary. She plans to major in Biology/Pre-Med at Florida A&M University.

The selection process for the AAUW Scholarship is rigorous, considering factors such as academic merit, leadership potential, financial need, and a comprehensive interview. These five individuals have excelled in each of these areas, embodying the values and mission of the AAUW. Special thanks to Leah Blythe-LoPresti, Director of Scholarships for our chapter, and her Committee members, including Judith Morales, Karen Nuccitelli, and Elaine Spooner.

"These five young women have demonstrated exceptional achievements, leadership qualities, and commitment to serving their communities, which makes them truly deserving of this honor,” said Leah. “We are confident they will continue to excel in their academic pursuits and make meaningful contributions to society."

Two students from Indian River State College also received scholarships: Bethany Johnson, $1,500, and Hannah Steele-Long, $700.

Dawn Maloney and Hellena Muzaki, both enrolled in the LPN program at Treasure Coast Technical College, were awarded stipends of $2,000 each to help cover living expenses during the program, which is so intensive that students generally are unable to work.

The AAUW Scholarship not only recognizes academic excellence but also invests in the future leaders and changemakers of tomorrow. Through this scholarship, the AAUW expresses its commitment to empowering women and promoting education as a means of creating a more equitable society.

For more information about the our scholarships and programs, contact Leah Blythe-LoPresti ( or Linda Barker (


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