May 15, 2013
Governor Commends Virginia Council on Women's 2nd Annual STEM Essay Contest Winners
– Governor Bob McDonnell and First Lady Maureen McDonnell Served as Contest Co- Chairs –
RICHMOND -The Virginia Council on Women, in collaboration with the Science Museum of Virginia announced the winners of the 2nd annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Essay Contest for high school junior and senior girls. The top 3 winners were recognized at the Science Museum of Virginia's "Up and Atom" Women's Leadership Breakfast earlier today.
This year, the Council exceeded expectations by receiving 336 essay contest entries from high school girls across the Commonwealth compared to 170 essay contest entries last year.
Speaking about the contest, Governor McDonnell said, "I want to extend my congratulations to the winners, and all those who participated in the contest. It is wonderful to see such a robust turnout of participants, sponsors and volunteers. This program is another example of Virginia's commitment to preparing our youth for the top jobs of the 21st Century in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. I commend the important work of the Virginia Council on Women as they seek to inspire the next generation of female leaders."
Council on Women Chair, Tracy Key added, "The Council's STEM Essay Contest was designed to attract and encourage young girls to pursue STEM areas where skill shortages now exist. The Council believes opportunities offered to women early in life will help lead to their future successes, and we are honored to support these remarkable young Virginian's who will one day make significant contributions to our future workforce."
The Council extends their sincere thanks to all of the sponsors of this year's STEM Scholarship Awards. With their support, the Council awarded $22,000 in scholarship funding to present to these exceptional students. This year's sponsors were: Capital One, Holland & Knight, KPMG, McGuire Woods, Hunton and Williams, MeadWestvaco Foundation, Skanska, Bon Secours Health System, Council Member Mais Abousy, LeClair Ryan and Range Resources- Pine Mountain, Inc.
2013 STEM Essay Contest Winners
1st Place- $5,000 award- Michelle Wang, Senior at Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, VA
2nd Place- $4,000 award- Caitlin Schoemmell, Senior at Lloyd C. Bird High School in Chesterfield, VA
3rd Place-$3,000 award- Charlotte Keeley, Senior at Charlottesville High School, Charlottesville, VA
Honorable Recognition ($2,000 each)
- Christine Gao, Senior at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond, VA
- Katharyn Seay, Senior at Bassett High School, in Bassett, VA
- Samantha Spytek, Senior at Wakefield High School in Arlington, VA
- Abigail Tibbetts, Senior at William Monroe High School, Stanardsville, VA
- Vidya Vishwanathan, Senior at Freedom High School in South Riding, VA
Serving as judges for this year's contest were: Nikki Nicholau, Barbara Kapas, Anita Deligan, Kelly Stuart, Laura Mandala, Mary Quillen, Kinsey Peeler, Barbara Fuhrmann, Evie Terrono, Kelly Lambert and Leslie Anderson.
The purpose of the Virginia Council on Women is 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. One is the annual STEM essay contest for young women in high school. The Council is committed to growing this initiative in the coming years. For more information on the Council or on available sponsorship opportunities, please visit: http://www.commonwealth.virginia.gov/Women/index.cfm.
The mission of the Science Museum of Virginia is to inspire Virginians to enrich their lives through science. The annual Up & Atom Women's Leadership Breakfast helps support its role in STEM education. Literacy in STEM disciplines is vital to prepare youth for an ever changing, increasingly complex world. For more information on the Science Museum of Virginia, please visit: www.smv.org/.
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