Sophomores chosen for Alumnae STEM scholarship

Amy Whyte, Assistant Campus Editor

Four students studying STEM fields were selected to receive an annual scholarship from The Alumnae of Northwestern University, the volunteer organization announced Wednesday.

The scholarship, awarded each year to female sophomores who are studying science, technology, engineering or math, is intended to free students from work-study obligations so that they will have more time to pursue their chosen area of study and other university endeavors. This year’s scholarship recipients are McCormick sophomores Wendy Gao and Alexandra Salomon, Weinberg sophomore Jennifer Li and Communication sophomore Christina Spaeth.

“Our members are proud to support these four outstanding students who are pursuing STEM careers in such diverse fields as industrial engineering and speech-language pathology,” Dee Hanlon, president of The Alumnae of Northwestern University, said in a news release. “By awarding these scholarships, we hope each of these young women will have more time to devote to her research and to actively participate in campus life.”

Salomon, a biomedical engineering major, told The Daily being chosen for the scholarship was “inspirational and motivating.”

“It’s nice to be recognized and to have someone behind me and know that they want me to do well,” she said.

Salomon said that with the scholarship, she was able to completely eliminate her previous work-study obligation. She said she hopes to spend the extra free time working on engineering projects but also plans to have some fun.

“I think the scholarship wants you to be able to have the whole entire experience and not necessarily be working all the time,” she said.

Gao, who is studying industrial engineering, said she also was able to use the scholarship to reduce her work-study commitment and instead spend more time doing unpaid research in a lab.

“It’s an opportunity to lower your stress a bit,” Gao said.

The other two recipients, Li and Spaeth, said that although they were choosing to keep their work-study jobs, the scholarship still helped with the payment of their tuition and fees. Li said she was able to work with the financial aid office to use the scholarship to reduce her federal loans.

Li said she thinks the scholarship is a good program because it encourages women who are pursuing typically male-dominated careers.

“Percentage-wise it doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but you step into a classroom and you’re one of three or one of four girls out of a thirty, forty person class,” she said. “It gives us the resources to do our absolute best.”

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