Scholarship Celebrates 15 Years

ATHENA scholarship winners Susie Redekop, Jennifer Kysilka and Katherine Vrantsidis (left to right) were honoured at the Giovanni Caboto Club on Nov.7. [Photo by // Travis Fauteux]

by Travis Fauteux
The Lance – News Editor

An important scholarship is celebrating an equally important milestone.

The ATHENA scholarship was created in 1999 to award three students who have spent time in Windsor-Essex and who have taken an interest in increasing leadership opportunities for women, enhancing the quality of life in their community, mentoring, team building and pursuing diversity.

This year, the scholarship celebrated its 15th anniversary at a special luncheon Nov. 7 at the Giovanni Caboto Club.

Loretta Stoyka, president of the ATHENA Scholarship Fund, said she is glad to see the award continue to have an impact on the community.

“I felt it was important to shine light on the very bright young women we have in our community, give them self-esteem and let them go forward,” said Stoyka.  “I’m almost tearful seeing [the scholarship] come this far.”

Stoyka said the message of the scholarship program is to exceptional role models by elevating people with potential and solid values.

This year, three women were awarded with the scholarship, which is valued at $5,000 each.

Susie Redekop, a recipient who hopes to start a career in social work, graduated from the social work and women’s studies programs at the University of Windsor with an A average grade.  She worked as an intern at the Welcome Centre Shelter for Homeless Women where she provided crisis management and counseling, and taught life skills and coping strategies.

Katherine Vrantsidis, the second recipient of the award, is in her third year of an honours bachelor of mathematics degree.  She wants to educate women about science, technology, engineering and mathematics and plans on becoming a high school math and science teacher.

Jennifer Kysilka, the final recipient of the scholarship, was raised in Windsor, but completed her bachelor of science in general health science at Purdue University and her master of public health at George Washington University.  She is currently finishing up a master of business administration at the University of Windsor.

Kysilka has evaluated health facilities and has conducted outreach projects to improve the lives of youth in Kenya, Ecuador and South Africa.  One day, she hopes to work in hospital administration and create policies that prioritize patient care, or work for a non-profit organization that provides health care to communities around the world.

The scholarship will help pay off Kysilka’s student loans, but she said the award means much more.

“It’s really important to honour the women in our community,” said Kysilka.  “I think empowering women can really change the world for the people that they touch, so it’s really meaningful that they’ve spent 15 years honouring the women in our community.”

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