The Women for OSU annual spring symposium is a unique opportunity to gather in Stillwater and gain valuable knowledge about philanthropic decision making and leadership. Women for OSU celebrates members of the OSU family who display leadership in philanthropy by naming the Philanthropist of the Year and awarding scholarships to outstanding OSU students.
Scholars Spotlight: Check out an update on our 2016 student scholars!
2017 Women for OSU Student Scholarship Recipients
Orange Passion: Mentorship and Underrepresented Minorities
Christina has spent more than 1,600 hours mentoring undergraduate students at OSU and her previous university, Cal Poly. She believes it is especially important to encourage minority students to consider careers in science.
She serves as a student representative on the Department of Integrative Biology’s Seminar Committee as well as conservation chair for the Student Sierra Club. She volunteers for Into the Streets, the Salvation Army, Special Olympics and the Wesley Foundation. She has previously volunteered for Hurricane Katrina Outreach along with Flying Samaritans in Mexico.
Her research focuses on parasite community ecology, especially the little-studied hairworm. That is what drew her to Stillwater, as OSU’s Matthew Bolek is one of the leading experts. She was recently awarded a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Research Award to study Iceland’s parasites and their hosts.
Wirt June Newman Memorial Scholarship
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Orange Passion: Retention of Minority Students, Especially American Indians
Krista is receiving the Wirt June Newman Memorial Scholarship, which supports students planning a career in public or government service. Krista is proud of her Cherokee and Choctaw heritage, which has inspired her to dedicate herself to working in university settings and making a difference in the lives of minority students. She is especially focused on the American Indian population, which statistically is well below the national average for rates of enrolling in and graduating from college.
She has worked in higher education for 12 years, helping students with financial aid as well as at-risk students, including racially and ethnically diverse populations. She is currently the coordinator of tutoring and careers for TRIO Student Support Services at Northeastern State University. She has previously worked for the Cherokee Nation, Bacone College and Connors State College.
Orange Passion: Cancer, and Children Involved in Agriculture
Megan’s philanthropy is driven largely by her heart for cancer patients. Her mother was diagnosed with stage four of the disease 10 years ago, but beat the odds. Her former Sunday school teacher and mentor, Susan Taylor, lost her battle with cancer. So Megan volunteers for organizations such as Coaches vs. Cancer and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
She also credits the agricultural industry with helping her mature into a leader and servant. She has spent hundreds of hours with FFA, serving as a state FFA officer, facilitating the Oklahoma FFA Alumni Leadership Camp and the State FFA Convention, and organizing a program called Pork for Packs, Beef for Backpacks that led to the donation of more than 355 livestock animals to become more than 500,000 protein sticks for hungry children.
Orange Passion: Diabetes and Mentoring Children
Abbey was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 5. It inspired her to pursue a career as a juvenile endocrinologist so that she can help children battling that and other diseases. She co-founded the OSU College Diabetes Network to benefit her peers. She has volunteered for fundraisers supporting St. Jude Children’s Hospital, as well as diabetes-related organizations JDRF and the Scott Verplank Foundation. She has also mentored children through Falls Creek, Girl Scouts and a Christian teen mentoring program.
After receiving a service dog that alerts her when her blood sugar is high or low, she has begun training dogs to help others who are also battling the disease. In addition, Abbey co-founded a program to support reading curriculum and development in elementary schools. And she brings her passions together by volunteering at OU Children’s Hospital and shadowing physicians.
St. Louis, Missouri
Orange Passion: Children with Chronic or Terminal Illnesses, and Their Families
Darci plans to become a pediatric psychologist focusing on hematology and oncology, because she wants to do anything she can to provide happy childhood moments for those who need them the most. That guides her service and educational career. Her dissertation is about how self-compassion and hope can improve the quality of life for individuals with bleeding disorders. She has clinical experience at Wings of Hope Family Crisis Services and Shelter, the Child Study Center, Children’s Hospital, OSU Counseling and Counseling Psychology Clinic, and Nova Center of the Ozarks.
She is president and former secretary of the Doctoral Counseling Psychology Student Group. She has also volunteered for the American Psychology Association’s Society for Health Psychology, United Way, a fundraiser to support a needy family during the holidays, Tiny Paws Kitten Rescue, Actively Moving Forward, Building Resilient Communities and Coyle Public Schools.
Wendy Lau Wong
Industrial Engineering and Management
Panama City, Panama and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Orange Passion: Leadership and Children
Wendy’s mother moved her to America when she was 11 so that she would have more opportunities than in their native Panama. Wendy became an American citizen and is now an active member of the OSU and Oklahoma City communities. She has volunteered more than 150 hours each at Early Head Start, the Food Bank, St. Eugene’s Catholic School and Ridgeview Elementary School. She has also spent significant time serving through Feed the Children, Habitat for Humanity and The Humane Society.
She has been vice president for undergraduates at the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, communications officer for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, student ambassador for Hawkes Learning System, parliamentarian for OSU-OKC’s Student Government Association, class president of Omega Phi Alpha Service Sorority, and a freshman mentor for the Martha Burger Student Mentoring Program.
Orange Passion: Agriculture and Mentorship
Courtney has completed more than 600 hours of community service since arriving at OSU in August 2014. She says 4-H and FFA were instrumental in teaching her about service. She has dedicated 220 hours as a small-group leader for the Oklahoma FFA Alumni Camp, and another 200 hours as a member of the National Women’s Fraternity.
She says the philanthropic experience that has meant the most to her is her time mentoring a local middle-school student over the past two years through the Boren Mentoring Initiative. She has also been in leadership positions for the Animal Science Leadership Alliance and CASNR Student Council. She volunteered for Relay for Life and has been a member of other groups such as the Homecoming VIP Steering Committee, the Student Alumni Board, President’s Leadership Council, Freshman Representative Council and Swine Club.
Sheryl Benbrook Women for OSU Scholarship
Bharatpur, Chitwan, Nepal
Orange Passion: Post-Harvest Crop Loss in Developing Countries
Sulochana’s research is inspired by her experiences in her home country of Nepal. She is working to develop new technologies and methods that could help feed millions of people by decreasing the amount of food that pests spoil between the farm and the table. That includes storage in bags that incorporate insecticide rather than putting insecticide directly on the crops, and enhancing the understanding of sorghum’s resistance to sugarcane aphids.
She also volunteers for several organizations. She is a communications officer for the Entomology and Plant Pathology Graduate Student Association as well as the Society of Overseas Nepalese Entomologist. She is cultural coordinator for the Nepalese Student Association and a volunteer for the Southwestern Branch of Entomological Society of America, as well as OSU’s Insect Expo. She also helped lead “Nepal Will Bounce Back,” which led to the OSU community donating more than $6,000 to assist Nepal’s recovery from a devastating earthquake in 2015.
Microbiology and Biochemistry; French
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Orange Passion: The Minority Community
Ayrianna is studying abroad in France this semester and plans to attend medical school. Her heart for health care shows in her time volunteering at Stillwater Medical Center, Integris Baptist Medical Center, and the Manos Juntas Free Clinic. She also founded From the Heart, which provides access to food, health care and education for Oklahoma City-area children. She has volunteered for Wings of Hope, a canned food drive, Into the Streets and the Humane Society.
Her concern for the minority community is evident in her campus involvement, such as being president of the Minority Association for Pre-Med Students, a mentor for the Diversity Inclusion Program, and a member of the Afro-American Student Association. She is also a member of the Cowboy Marching Band, Tau Beta Sigma Honorary Band Sorority, Microbiology Club, French Club, Freshman Forum Council and Retention Initiative for Student Excellence.
Agricultural Communications; Pre-Law
Orange Passion: 4-H and the OSU Student Foundation
Karlie learned a lot about leadership and volunteerism through growing up as an active member of 4-H. She has enriched her understanding of philanthropy by joining the OSU Student Foundation. Now the majority of her service hours are spent giving back through those organizations. Last summer, she was one of 10 young professionals chosen nationally to teach at the Citizenship Washington Focus program at 4-H’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C. She was also a Western National Roundup Facilitator in Denver.
At OSU, she has been band chair for the Homecoming Parade and Band Steering committee, raised funds for student organizations through PhilanthroPete, volunteered for Lights on Stillwater and Helping Hands and Meal Plans, and been a member of the National Panhellenic Women’s Fraternity, Freshman Representative Council, President’s Leadership Council and the Sustainability committee. She has also volunteered for Special Olympics, Meals on Wheels, Peppers Ranch Foster Care Community and the Farrah Love Foundation 5K.
Past Scholarship Recipients
- Taylor Brown, Hotel and Restaurant Administration, Oklahoma City, OK
- Austen Iven, Sports Media, Stillwater, OK
- Jacquelyn Lane, Chemical Engineering, Beulah, CO
- Savannah Martin, Microbiology, Duncan, OK
- Alexandria Mullins, Clinical Psychology, Haworth, OK
- Emma Murray, Creative Writing, Poetry, Council Bluffs, IA
- Sarah Sauer, Nutritional Sciences, Pre-Dental, Highland Village, TX
- Ricki Schroeder, Agribusiness and Agricultural Leadership, Kremlin, OK
- Audrey Woods, Mental Health Counseling, Dallas, TX
- Lindsay Azlin, Agricultural Education, Wewoka, OK
- Julia Benbrook, Multimedia Journalism, Woodward, OK
- Kourtney Brooks, Entrepreneurship and Marketing, Tuttle, OK
- Mayra Castanon, Nurse Science, Oklahoma City, OK
- Roxanne Cobb, Crime Victim/Survivor Services, Conway, AR
- Macy Hula, Human Development and Family Science, Enid, OK
- Allison Meinders, Accounting and Finance, Woodward, OK
- Amanda Sandoval, Enterprrise Development, Oklahoma City, OK
- Charlie Gibson, Economics, Ada, OK
- Nadir Nibras, Biomedical Engineering, Dhaka, Bangladesh
- Nicole Ralston, Marketing, Stillwater, OK
- Chacey Schoeppel, Agribusiness and Pre-Law, Fairview, OK
- Aubrey Scott, Early Childhood Education, Owasso, OK
- Marti Going, Multimedia Journalism, Pryor, OK
- Alysa Hooper, Human Development and Family Science, Norman, OK
- Hannah Langley, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Winfield, KS
- Rebekah Sook, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Midwest City, OK
- Chris Stockton, Management and Accounting, Duncan, OK
- Rachel Benbrook, Strategic Communications, Woodward, OK
- Kelsey Cottom, Agricultural Communications, Morrison, OK
- Katie Haning, Chemical Engineering, Allen, TX
- Mallory Ross, Agricultural Communications, Woodward, OK
- Amelia Wilson, Spanish, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Stillwater, OK
- Haley Baumgardner, Agribusiness, Carrier, OK
- Qualla Parman, Biosystems Engineering, Warner, OK
- Alyssa Peterson, Biological Sciences, Edmond, OK
- Carly Schnaithman, Agribusiness, Garber, OK
- Sara Roberts, Art History, Weatherford, OK
- Rachel Branch, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Guthrie, OK
- Sarah Carey, Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Tulsa, OK
Are you interested in supporting students who are passionate about philanthropy?
The Women for OSU Scholarship Fund recognizes the best and brightest leaders on campus, working to make OSU and the world a better a place.
To learn more about giving opportunities within Women for OSU, contact Michal Shaw.