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Palm Beach Atlantic University’s annual Women of Distinction Luncheon uses the funding it generates to provide scholarships for deserving female students. This year, six young women were chosen as recipients, three majoring in STEM-related fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), including Niang Thang, Margaret Myskowski, and Darah Oniwa to highlight the accomplishments of women in STEM.
This scholarship provides students with the financial ability to continue their studies at a university focused on continually supporting and improving their science programs under the guidance of PBA President Dr. Debra Schwinn, a celebrated physician.
Niang Thang: Psychology Major and STEM Advocate
Niang Thang is a senior from Lake Worth, Fla., who will graduate with a psychology major and a minor in chemistry. Thang is excited to put her degree to good use by applying for the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship and eventually earning a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.
Throughout her time at PBA, Thang has learned the importance of encouraging other women in STEM. She hopes scholarships like the one she has received can help young women persevere in studying and working in male-dominated fields. Thang believes that by sharing her own experience and learning from others, she will be able to show young girls that anything is possible when they embrace their true selves.
“Females by their own nature are strong, powerful, hard-working, yet motherly, comforting, and peaceful. We exhibit these qualities that are unique to our femininity. However, throughout history, they have been overshadowed and deemed as a weakness rather than a strength,” Thang said.
Thang believes strong female role models have helped push back against false narratives and harmful stereotypes to empower girls. In her own life, Thang looks up to many women, including her family members and professors, because of their unwavering encouragement.
“I wish to embody the kind of woman that they are so that I may be able to be a woman of distinction of my own kind,” Thang said.
Margaret Myskowski: Nursing Major and Pro-Life Advocate
Fellow recipient Margaret Myskowski, a junior from Sullivan, Missouri, is also looking to make an impact in STEM as a nursing major. Myskowki chose her field of study to make a difference in the healthcare community by helping Pro-life ministries.
After PBA, Myskowski plans to enter nursing/midwifery to help pro-life ministries that lack the ability to provide health care. While volunteering at pro-life ministries, she noticed a real need for this kind of work and believes it will enable the ministries to serve mothers more.
“I think it would just be an incredible ministry to do that kind of work in clinics,” Myskowski said.
Since receiving the Women of Distinction Scholarship, Myskowski has felt encouraged in her studies and her dreams for the future. This scholarship allows her to prioritize being a full-time nursing student and PBA athlete for the cross-country team. Her schedule is too full for her to seek a job.
“I think it’s just wonderful that WOD provides the scholarship to help women pursue those higher fields of education because financial stress or lack of encouragement are very common setbacks,” Myskowski said.
Myskowski describes herself as being strong-willed but nurturing, like her mother. She hopes to carry this attitude into her future career, believing that women can offer something unique when they combine their drive with their compassion.
Darah Oniwa: Freshman Chemistry Major
Darah Oniwa, a freshman from Tulsa, Oklahoma, also shows the perseverance of women in STEM as a Chemistry major. After graduating from PBA, Oniwa plans to create skincare products that can be produced ethically with sustainability in mind.
Oniwa is excited to be a scholarship recipient because it will help relieve some of her family’s financial burden. She is also honored to be part of the program showcasing female role models.
“Female role models have shown us that anyone can do anything they set their mind to, regardless of gender,” Oniwa said.
Oniwa says her primary role model growing up has always been her mother, who she describes as wise and confident. Oniwa is forever grateful to her mom for her positive influence because it helped encourage her to go into a field she is passionate about.
At the event, Oniwa looks forward to meeting other female role models and being inspired by their talent and work ethic.
Learn more about PBA’s 2024 Women of Distinction.