Local Scholarships

The Nevada County Branch AAUW Charitable Trust administers the funding of the Branch’s Local Scholarships.  Our 2019-2020 funding came from members making generous donations and from the Tapas and Trivia Event held in November 2019 which raised $13,323 for Local Scholarships.

In 2020 we awarded $14,000 and distributed as follows:

  • Six high school/Sierra College women majoring in STEM fields each recvd. $2,000.
  • Four Re-Entry women attending Sierra College each received $500.

In 2020-2021 we had two distinct changes to our scholarship program:

  1. The COVID pandemic interrupted a planned Tapas and Trivia event.  Instead, we opted for an online auction which raised $2,250 for Local Scholarships and Re-Entry grants.  We are proud to give six STEM scholarships each year plus four Re-Entry grants.  STEM scholarships reflect our goal of supporting young women entering those fields and increasing the presence of women in STEM.  Please help support women in STEM!  The number of STEM scholarships we can fund will depend on how many member donations we receive!  Please write a check to AAUW NCB CT, and mail it to PO Box 326, Grass Valley, 95945.  Thank you!
  2. We received a very generous legacy gift of $446,000 from AAUW Past President Cleo Gibson.   We have established a $400,000 endowment fund, and starting in 2021 will award TWO $4000 renewable scholarships to young women majoring in fields reflecting Cleo’s diverse interests of business, economics, public policy, women’s studies, and animal sanctuary/medicine.  $46,000 has been set aside for broader educational projects in our local schools and community that will also honor Cleo’s interests.   We are excited to put this amazing gift to good use!

Charitable Trust Trustees
Cheryl Morris  l Ann Shulse  l  Joanne  Weatherly

2020 Local Scholarship Recipients

  • Zara Katzenstein – UC Santa Barbara – Micro-Biology/Philosophy
  • Alma Ramirez – Pacific Union College – Biochemistry/Theology
  • Daniela Schumacher – Univ. of Pacific – Neuroscience/Biology/Psychology
  • Ashley Andes-McCullough – Cal Poly SLO – Animal Sciences/Veterinarian
  • Arieal Swindell – San Diego State – Mechanical Engineer
  • Megan Volheim – Cal Poly Pomona – Residential Architecture

Re-Entry Grants

  • Samantha Alford – Sierra College – English
  • Ashley Carpenter – Sierra College – Nursing
  • Jolene Mulligan – Sierra College – Business
  • Kara Reyes – Sierra College – Nursing Program/Clinical Research/Public Health  

2020 College Scholarships for Nevada County Women

Kara Reyes is one of four Re-Entry recipients. This is the second year we have chosen to support Kara. After a 20-year gap in her education and the loss of her husband three years ago, 40-year-old Kara chose to return to school to improve her life and her job prospects. She was inspired by the medical staff who tried to save her husband’s life, and decided that she, too, wanted a job in the public health field to help others. So began her course of study at Sierra College.
In spite of being a disabled, single mom raising two teenagers plus the son of a friend who recently passed away, Kara is determined. She just completed summer school at Sierra College and currently has 3 AS degrees, including Natural Science and Pre-Nursing. On August 3rd Kara began the Nursing Program at Sierra College toward an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). Once finished there, she will decide whether to move forward with a BSN, a BS in Public Health, or become a Physician Assistant.

Bethany Pointe is our 2019 Sierra College recipient who is currently attending UC Davis and majoring in Biopsychology.  I recently heard from Bethany who has chosen to remain in her Davis apartment during this time of isolation and visit her parents in Grass Valley on weekends.   She spends a lot of time doing homework and online for lectures and exams.  She’s just learned that summer quarter classes will also be online. Bethany says, “I’m really glad to take online classes and continue my education at UC Davis.  I find it vital to not skip the online lectures so I attend them regularly like they were in person.  For a lab class, I will research Imposter Syndrome and its implications for upcoming professionals and colleges students.”   (I wonder what that Syndrome is?!!)   “I miss being on campus for the feel of community that we had here.”  “I have some thoughts about the pandemic.  I want people safe.  If people will stay home as much as possible, we can get through this and return to normal routines earlier.  I do not want to see the elderly and people with medical conditions getting sick just because someone couldn’t stay inside and wanted to go to a bar.  I’m very tired of listening to the news about the pandemic, and have stopped watching it except for news alerts on my phone.  If you watch it too much, it becomes so scary it blocks out all the good things that are happening right now.  If people will just be safe and treat this seriously and not become panicked, we will come out of this fine.   I know that we will all be able to get through this, and I know that the Aggies can still face their college courses head on!” 

Recipients from Nevada Union & Ghidotti Early College high schools

2019 NU Local Scholarship recipients: Mikaela Galbraith (l) and Monica Kittle (r)

Mikela will be attending the University of San Francisco ti study Pediatric Nursing.  Monica will attend Cal State Channel Islands to study Biology/Pre-Med/Nursing.

Scholarship recipient Natalie Webster (r) and AAUW member Fran Erickson (l) 

Natalie Webster (r) graduated from Ghidotti Early College High School will be attending UC Davis to study Psychology/Biopsychology; Fran Erickson (l) represented AAUW at the event.

Application Process: High school applications are available from Nevada Union and Bear River high school counsellors. Sierra College applications are available from Sierra College counsellors.

The AAUW-NC re-entry grant is being offered again in 2019. You qualify to apply for it if you:

  • Are a woman residing in western Nevada County,
  • Are interested in working toward a specific post-high school certificate or degree,
  • Can demonstrate a financial need, and
  • Your education was interrupted for at least a year.

You may qualify for a grant of up to $2000. Scroll down for an application. Completed applications must be submitted before April 1 of each year.

Everything You Need to Know About the Charitable Trust

By Cheryl Morris
Charitable Trust Coordinator

What is the connection between Nevada County Branch, Local Scholarship Committee, Tapas and Trivia, and the Nevada County Branch Charitable Trust?  If you’re not quite clear, you’re not alone.  Read on and be enlightened.

Not all AAUW branches give local scholarships, and few have their own trust.  The Nevada County Branch Charitable Trust was established in 1970 with an initial donation of $10.00.  Its purpose is exclusively educational; it holds the funds from which local scholarships are awarded each year.  It is a separate nonprofit organization linked to the Branch by the terms of the trust.

Three Branch members serve as trustees:  Ann Shulse, Joanne Weatherly, and Cheryl Morris.  They work closely with the Trust’s financial adviser, Kim Zwick, a local CPA/financial planner.  She is experienced in working with nonprofits and charitable trusts that are intended to exist in perpetuity.

Tapas and Trivia is the Branch fundraiser for educational purposes.  Proceeds are divided with 75% going to the Charitable Trust and 25% to National’s AAUW  Fund.   The Fund includes the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) and the Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF), both of which our Branch has supported for many years.  Thus, when you participate in this event, besides having fun, you are contributing directly to our scholarship program.

The Local Scholarship Committee is made up of the Charitable Trust trustees and volunteers from the Branch.  The committee decides the number and amount of scholarships awarded each year as well as selecting the recipients.

In recent years, with active financial management and fund-raising, it has been possible to increase the dollar amount and number of scholarships, while still growing the trust.  

In 2019, we set a record for the dollar amount awarded and number of recipients!   We awarded scholarships to three Nevada Union graduates (one was deferred from 2018), plus one each to a graduate of Ghidotti, Bear River, and Sierra College, all in the amount of $2000.  Additionally we awarded four re-entry grants of $500 each. This adds up to a grand total of $14,000 divided among TEN young local women who will, we are sure, go on to make us proud.

A recent activity of the Local Scholarship Committee is to have a liaison assigned to each recipient.  We will stay in touch, cheer them on, and report back to the Branch on their activities and successes.

There are several ways that Branch members can contribute to our long tradition of providing local scholarships; the first was given in 1946!  Volunteer to help with as well as attend Tapas and Trivia, contribute directly to the Charitable Trust, and/or join the Local Scholarship Committee.

Re-Entry Scholarship/Grant Application: (click here for a Re-Entry Application

The Nevada County Branch of the American Association of University Women offers a scholarship/grant to women whose education has been interrupted for a year or more. The applicant must reside in western Nevada County. The grant will be for $500 to $1000 and be awarded for the purpose of obtaining a certificate or degree. Applications are due April 1 of