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Executive Women Provide 5 Scholarships

May 9, 2011

The Executive Women of the Palm Beaches has selected five University students as recipients of their 2011 scholarship program. The students were recognized at the 28th annual Women in Leadership Luncheon Thursday.

Natalie Diaz of Davie received the Next Era Energy Scholarship on behalf of FPL. She is a junior majoring in biology with a concentration in pre-health professional preparation and a minor in chemistry. With a 3.9 GPA, she is as an academic coach and a peer tutor, specializing in biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology. As an academic coach, she assists eight classmates who are challenged with balancing their academics and life on campus. She is the leader of the Dance Ministry on campus and serves as secretary of the Science Club. She spent the past two summers working at the Victory School for Autism and Behavioral

Scholarship recipient Szilvia Gagyi with Dr. Ann Langlois.

Challenges teaching lower-functioning autistic children basic life skills and reading.  She has volunteered for the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation, Palm Beach Zoo, Walk to Defeat ALS, Norton Museum of Art, American Lung Association, United Way Build a Program, First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach, American Cancer Society and Youth for Christ. Upon graduation in December, she intends to continue her education by entering a medical professional program at the University of Miami or Nova Southeastern University to become a doctor of physical therapy or a doctor of optometry respectively.                       

Szilvia Gagyi of Boynton Beach received the Cynthia Allen Gracey Scholarship. She is a sophomore international business major with a 3.6 GPA. Gagyi immigrated with her family to the U.S. from Hungary in 2008. She is a chair member with the International Business Club responsible for new member recruitment. She has volunteered 122 hours in the community since her freshman year at organizations including Partners International, the Highland Beach Library and Boynton Beach Community High School. Her career goal is to join the U.S. Navy and pursue a master of business degree with a concentration in economics. Long term, she aspires to a career in international public service in a foreign affairs office.

 Kari Lambrechts of Hawthom Woods, Ill. is the recipient of the Kathryn Cottrell Vecellio Scholarship. She has a 3.8 GPA as a junior elementary education major with a minor in Spanish. Lambrechts has volunteered more than 120 hours in the community including for Palm Beach County Public Schools and Light the Night. She is very involved in a church in Weston, Fla.  where she is on staff to serve in the middle school ministry. She works on campus in Admissions office as a tele-counselor. In addition, she has served as a peer mentor on campus and worked in Catering and Student Activities. She is involved with a ministry called Gracewounds, which ministers to teenagers dealing with self-injury and other image issues. She plans a career in teaching.

 The award is named in honor of Kathryn Cottrell Vecellio, who has been an active volunteer for many Palm Beach community and charitable organizations for more than 20 years. She also has served on the University’s Board of Trustees. A full-time resident of Palm Beach County since 1979, Vecellio is a past recipient of the Women in Leadership Award from the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches and the Women of Distinction Award from Palm Beach Atlantic. She is a member of Executive Women of the Palm Beaches. Vecellio holds a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and a master’s in guidance and counseling.

 From left, Women in Leadership Awards speaker Celine Cousteau with PBA scholarship recipients Alba Medrana, Natalie Diaz, Kari Lambrechts and Katie Runyon.

 Alba Medrano of Lake Worth, Fla.  received the Women’s Community Health Partnership Scholarship. Medrano is a third-year Pharm. D. student with a 3.4 GPA. She attended Florida Atlantic University prior to entering the Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy at Palm Beach Atlantic. As an emerging as a leader, she serves as president of Kappa Epsilon, which supports women in the field of pharmacy, and has been instrumental in reviving the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign within the fraternity. She also has been involved in international medical missions trips offered through the School of Pharmacy. She has attended trips to Costa Rica and Belize, and will be part of a team providing medical care to patients residing along the Amazon River this summer. 

PBA’s fifth scholarship recipient is Katie Runyon of Quincy, Ill., a junior nursing major with a 3.6 GPA. Runyon is captain of the NCAA Division II PBA soccer team. She is leading a medical mission trip to Africa for the nursing Class of 2012.  She traveled to Nicaragua in March to provide medical care and compassion with those in need. Previously, she went to Haiti and Nicaragua on mission trips. She was an active member of the Big Brother Big Sister program in Illinois and continues to spend time mentoring her Little Sister from that program when she is in Quincy. Upon her graduation next year, she plans to serve as a nurse in a Third World country or in an inner city clinic.

05/2011General News


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