Women’s Forum Inc. is accepting applications now through January 1, for its 2013 Education Fund Fellowship, which is awarded each year to a woman over age 35 who has returned to school after a long break. This year, Lehman students Gayle Green-Williams and Colleen Seymour were among twelve women in the New York area to be selected for the honor.
The award recognizes women who have overcome great adversity and are now actively pursuing their academic goals. A junior in Lehman’s speech pathology program, Green-Williams is originally from Jamaica. An excellent student, she was accepted and graduated from an elite high school in Jamaica, but due to financial circumstances could not pursue higher education and was compelled to join the workforce shortly thereafter.
Green-Williams lived briefly in London, near a college campus whose architectural structure impressed and inspired her to work toward her dreams. After years of struggle, including a period of homelessness and living with friends, she finally enrolled in classes at Lehman in 2009. At Lehman, she’s maintained a 4.0 average, received the Presidential Scholars Honor and has been invited to join the Golden Key Honor Society.
“I have not at all been deterred by any of the difficulties I have faced, I am strengthened by them,” says Green-Williams. “My greatest fear in life is that I will expire and my life will never have mattered or made any kind of difference to anyone. I would like my life to make a difference to others.” Green-Williams, whose minor is early childhood education, says her goal is to have a career where she can touch the lives of others.
Colleen Seymour is pursing her undergraduate degree in health administration. After years of dedicating herself to her family, Seymour decided it was time to start meeting her own needs. Over the years, she has volunteered at a nursing and rehabilitation center, with the American Diabetes Association and as a peer education with the Office of Minority Health.
“My experiences with the less fortunate have taught me that no matter what I am going through and what little I may think I have, there are many people who are in a lesser position than myself,” says Seymour. “I have held on to the concept of sharing what little I have and devoting time to others for the love of it.”
Founded in 1974, the Women’s Forum Inc. is a philanthropic organization led by a group of successful, preeminent New York women whose goal it is to help other women succeed. The purpose of the Education Fund is to encourage mature women to realize their own potential.
Applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Be 35 years of age or older by December 1, 2012
- Reside in New York City
- Be pursuing her first Associate or Bachelor degree and has earned at least 12 credits in good academic standing
- Have attended a college in New York City during the 2011-2012 academic year
- Be enrolled for at least 6 credits during the 2012-2013 academic year
- Have at least 6 credits to complete graduation requirements after June 2013 (must register for the Fall 2013 with at least 3 credits)
- If completing an Associate degree, provide evidence of intention to continue to a Bachelor degree program
Applicant should describe in an essay of no more than 500 words:
- Personal history, challenges/obstacles, other than financial, that you have overcome while pursuing an education, and general academic record as an indication of noteworthy promise
- Career goals and motivation
- If appropriate, any meaningful involvement with community service, art, athletics, business, science or other extracurricular activities
Applicant should also submit a separate financial statement of no more than 100 words, describing her financial need and describing how this award will help.
For more information about the application process, contact Gloria Figueroa at 718-960-8382 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.