This news release is from the previous Governor's administration.
For Immediate Release: April 25, 2017
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, 804-225-4260,

Governor McAuliffe Announces $35,000 in Scholarships for STEM Essay Contest Winners

~Winners represent every region, earned a $7,000 scholarship each~


RICHMOND – Today, Governor Terry McAuliffe and the Virginia Council on Women announced the winners of the 6th annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Essay Contest for young women enrolled in their junior or senior year of high school.

“It is my pleasure to join the Virginia Council on Women to announce this year’s STEM Essay Contest winners,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Encouraging young women to pursue their interest in STEM is critical to growing the new Virginia economy.  I am grateful to the Council on Women for helping women explore the ever-growing STEM field and giving them resources to prepare for a successful future.”

The Council on Women established this contest to award scholarships to high school junior and senior young women who plan to pursue STEM careers at institutions of higher education.  The winners represent five geographic regions across Virginia and each received a $7,000 scholarship. More than 500 young women from across the Commonwealth submitted essays, which focused on their vision for a future STEM career.  The awardees were recognized at a reception hosted by the Governor and First Lady at the Executive Mansion today.

The 2017 STEM Essay Contest winners are:

  • Eastern Virginia/Hampton Roads: Helen Dekker, Norview High School, Norfolk, VA
  • Richmond/Central Virginia: Morgan Logsdon, Mills E. Godwin High School, Henrico, VA
  • Northern Virginia: Suzie Bae, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Fairfax, VA
  • Southwest/Southside Virginia: Naomi Kane, Chatham Hall, Chatham, VA
  • Valley/Western Virginia: Rachel Tomei,  Spotswood High School, Harrisonburg, VA 

The Council extends its sincere thanks to all of the sponsors and judges of this year’s STEM Scholarship Awards.  This year’s sponsors were:  Capital One, Dominion Resources, Hunton & Williams LLP, Morrison & Foerster LLP, United Healthcare of the Mid-Atlantic, Latham & Watkins LLP, Murphy & McGonigle PC, Troutman Sanders LLP, Pace Collaborative PC, Patient First, McGuireWoods LLP, and Appalachian Power Company.

The judges, who generously gave their time to judge these entries, were: Srilatha Ainala, Jessica Ankey, Hala Ayala, Ada Bacetty, Swapna Sandla, Erin Evans-Bedois, Mimi Bender, Lanessa Bryant, Meta Braymer, Julie Brown, Raymon Burton, Ikeita Hinojosa Cantu, Jennifer Chambers, Nicole Colon, Kat Cox, Katie Crepps, Shalini Gloyal, Melanie Gubbels Bupp, Christine Hales, Meredith Harbach, Kristen Herring, Sonia Hinson, Jennifer Onoaker, Lalisha Hurt, Ngozi Ibe, Stephanie Iverson, Da’Shaun Joseph, Barbara Kapas, Leigh Kesler, Paula Kindberg, Allison Lawrence Jones, Lori Merricks, Janice Miller, Devin Pugh-Thomas, Mary Quillen, Belinda Rabonese, Carol Rick Gibbons, Tina Robertson, Katy Sawyer, Kristen Shannon, Melissa Southworth, Eulonda Skyles, Traci Stevens, Michelle Strucke, Lekeisha Terrell, Kelly Thomasson, Diane Tomb, Katherine Waddell, Norifo Wade, Katie Wilke, Jennifer Wilson, Ann Yauger, Celeste Young, and Kit Young.

The Council was pleased to partner, once again, with the Math Science Innovation Center, who serves as the fiscal agent for the contest.

The Virginia Council on Women was created to help women reach their potential and maximize their contributions to society and the Commonwealth as wage-earners and citizens.  The Council has initiated several projects to meet this goal, in addition to the annual STEM essay contest.  For more information on the Council or on available sponsorship opportunities, please visit: