|Executive Women of the Palm Beaches recently awarded scholarships to Palm Beach Atlantic University students (from left) Kayla Viaud, Emily Pain, Alysa Luching and Jeni Chavez. Not pictured is Samantha Axtell.|
♦ Alysa Luching of Logansport, Ind., received the NextEra Energy Foundation Scholarship. Luching is a sophomore who has volunteered with construction for Habitat for Humanity, and she also volunteered with the Emmaus Mission in her hometown. Through the Emmaus Mission over the years, she has helped provide Christmas for those in need, painted indoors and out and worked at the food pantry and the birthright center. On campus, she spent fall semester serving as a manager for the women’s basketball team. She is majoring in mathematics and plans to apply for the Historical and Sustainable Architecture M.A. Program with New York University based in London or a similar program.
♦ Emily Pain of West Palm Beach received the Kathryn C. Vecellio Scholarship. Pain transferred to PBA from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., to study education. She is now a junior who is focusing her studies in the pre-K/primary grades, and she hopes to teach overseas. Pain volunteers weekly to help feed the homeless in downtown West Palm Beach on Monday nights at First Presbyterian Church. She also volunteers working with the middle school youth group at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church. Pain has done mission work every summer since 2006, and she will be traveling this summer to Malta to work with African refugees. The mission team will teach English classes along with providing seminars on health and hygiene. The award is named in honor of Kathryn C. 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.
♦ Samantha Axtell of Wellington received the Women’s Community Health Partnership Award. A current 3rd year pharmacy student, Axtell has been a member of Rho Chi Pharmacy Honors Society since the fall of 2011. She has made the School of Pharmacy Dean’s List four times, every year since the fall of 2009, the start of her pharmacy education. She served on the 2010 Gregory School of Pharmacy mission trip to Costa Rica and is an active member of West Pines Baptist Church in Greenacres.
♦ Kayla Viaud of West Palm Beach received the Cynthia Allen Gracey Scholarship. Viaud is a sophomore majoring in journalism, and she plans to become a news reporter after graduation. During the last academic year, she was the features editor for the student newspaper, The Beacon. She also is a peer mentor for a group of freshman students. As a peer mentor, she meets with their class every week, keeps them updated on their assignments and plans volunteer projects to ensure they do not get lost in the transition between high school and college. She also volunteers once a week at the Norton Museum Store, and last summer she traveled to New Orleans with other PBA students to help rebuild homes damaged during Hurricane Katrina. Viaud is a Presidential Ambassador who represents the University at important on- and off-campus events.
♦ Jessenia “Jeni” Chavez, who grew up in Bolivia, also received the Cynthia Allen Gracey Scholarship. Chavez, a junior, is double-majoring in international business and finance. Most of her volunteer time has been spent working with Students in Free Enterprise on such projects as educating people about the importance of education and saving money. The group also has created self-sustainable businesses. Chavez is vice president of Sigma Beta Delta National Business Honor Society, and she also is a member of the International Business Club. After graduation, she plans to continue her volunteer work through organizations that work primarily in micro financing.