Scholarships and Awards

High School Scholarships

Information for 2021 high school graduating senior women:

2020 High School Scholarship Awardees

2020 marks the 52nd year that our OML Branch has supported young women in our community by awarding scholarships to them.  The Scholarship Committee is committed to encouraging local high school graduating senior women who demonstrate academic excellence and are discovering their personal qualities through community service.   The awardees are chosen after completing an application which includes a written essay and letters of recommendation, following by an interview with members of our Scholarship Committee.

Marielle Riesner-Hansson, Acalanes High School, $1000

Marielle’s volunteer activities stem from her dedication to helping people and animals.   She has been educating guests at the Oakland Zoo about the animals and conservation issues for three years.   As the lead Teen Wild Guide, she handles and teaches about small “education animals”, and, among her office duties, schedules other guides.   Marielle also volunteers at the Moraga Veterinary Hospital four hours a week. Volunteering at Hospice East Bay Thrift shops led her to appreciate the importance of caring for people and their families.

After a shopper discussed her cancer diagnosis Marielle wrote: “It is during these times, you realize the magnitude of every single job at Hospice, and what an important role the organization has in our community.”  Her thrift shop manager said of Marielle, “Her energetic, positive go-getter attitude has been a valuable asset at our very busy shops.   She is highly organized, easy going and is liked by our staff, other volunteers and our customers.”

Lynn Wolfe, Acalanes High School, $1000

Lynn was a member of the Acalanes Asian American Club, serving as president for two years. She ran monthly meetings and organized community service projects.  Club members delivered food to homebound seniors, visited seniors and planned arts and crafts activities. Lynn was a member of the Acalanes High School Equity Board and helped plan diversity events and policies with student government and administration.  Lynn committed to community service projects that helped Asian Americans speak about their experiences and understand their heritage. She worked with the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation to interview, record, edit, transcribe and present a documentary on the experience of living in the internment camps during WWII.  She documented artifacts created by Japanese American internees for the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.   Ever since attending our Tech Trek program in seventh grade Lynn has worked with our branch STEM program.  She spoke to middle school students about Tech Trek and helped plan our STEM program at Saint Mary’s College.  Stacia Cragholm, her AAUW mentor says: “She has been involved in our STEM conference since its inception in 2016.  .  .  .  Lynn has taken this opportunity to develop and expand her leadership skills.”


Sophia participated in our OML-AAUW Tech Trek and STEAM programs.  She has spoken to the community about these programs as a way to inspire other girls to pursue science careers.  While playing lacrosse Sophia suffered a severe concussion and spent two years recovering from her injuries.  During her healing process Sophia discovered the issue of lack of equity with safety equipment between boys’ and girls’ lacrosse.  Only in boys’ lacrosse are helmets required. She focused her energy on the issue of helmet safety in women’s lacrosse. Sophia stated: “I realized that I could use my experience to create positive change in girls’ lacrosse.”  Sophia advocated for safety helmets in women’s lacrosse in her local community, Northern California and nationally through her Brain Safety Alliance Committee.  Sophia contributed to her high school community through the Peer Mentoring Program, Link Crew and Public Speaking and Debate Club.  Her English teacher states: “Sophia is a stand-out student in her graduating class, and in my entire teaching career, due to her authentic passion for learning, her remarkable abilities as a creative and analytical writer, and her grit in overcoming adversity and staying true to her convictions.”


At age three Kate learned to play the violin alongside her grandfather. After his passing a heartbroken Kate couldn’t play the violin. A year later, when she played again, she saw the reaction of those listening to her, and at that moment, realized her grandfather lived on through her music.  She founded “Music for the Soul Nonprofit Organization.”  Kate organized over fifty students to play concerts in senior homes and at fundraising events.  The orchestra events secured funds for Children’s Hospital, the California wildfires, and One Justice with Congressman De Saulnier to help immigrant families.  Kate states: “As a team of fifty students, we have brought musical therapy to energize thousands of people, being an encouragement to them, and them to us.”  Kate is the Concertmaster and President of the Campolindo Orchestra.  She is founder and president of the Campolindo Badminton Team and communications director of Campolindo Peer Tutoring.  The director of Instrumental music at Campolindo said:” Kate has left a dramatic impact on our orchestra with her passion, humility, and maturity.  I have no doubt that Kate will be an excellent candidate for the AAUW Scholarship.”  Here Kate performs with fellow Campolindo students during the pandemic.  Viva la Vida Campolindo

National Conference for College Women Student Leaders Award

NCCWSL information and applications will be available in the fall of 2020

As a result of the ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19 and the impact from travel restrictions and a need for physical distancing, AAUW’s National Conference for College women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) 2020 that was scheduled to take place May 27-30, 2020 at University of Maryland, College Park has been cancelled.

  • Saint Mary’s College NCCWSL  Application Directions
  • College Women’s Leadership Award Application Form

AAUW-OML supports outstanding young women in the community by awarding scholarships for two St. Mary’s College women to attend AAUW’s National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in Baltimore, Maryland. These awards validate the leadership roles and accomplishments of exceptional young women who maintain academic excellence and demonstrate a passion for community outreach and engagement.

The scholarships include registration to the three-day NCCWSL conference, airfare, and a daily spending allowance. Each student must be currently in her sophomore or junior year and demonstrate continued academic competence and a desire to build community and sharpen her leadership skills.     For more information click here

Leadership Development Conference for College Women Student Leaders 2019-2020

A letter from
Alondra Mendoza. NCCWSL 2019

Attending the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders 2019 was, in short, an impactful and meaningful experience. From the moment I arrived and sat in on the opening session I felt empowered and knew I was going to love it. Each day consisted of guest speakers, hands-on workshops, panel sessions, and other think about something I’ve never thought about before. In Start Smart, I learned how to negotiate salary pay, which I didn’t even know was possible because when I’m asked for my desired salary I usually write minimum wage. I do this because I feel I’m not worthy of asking for more. This brings me to my biggest takeaway. I will always remember step #1 from this workshop, which is knowing my value. In Build Your Career I learned what makes a successful and bright business. This is done by focusing on the key issues of inclusion, climate change, diversity, women empowerment, gender equality, and sustainability. Once these key issues are matched with my own objectives, as well as the company’s then I will reach the bright side of Business. My favorite panel session was Working in Mass Communications because the panelists were real and transparent about their experiences. I attended this panel because my degree is in Marketing and Digital Media, so Communications goes hand in hand with it. The piece of advice the panelists gave that stuck with me the most was to be aggressive, hungry, unapologetic, find help and be the help, and never devalue what you bring.activities depending on the day.

My favorite workshops were the AAUW Start Smart: Get Ready to Ask What You’re Worth and Build Your Career: Join the Bright Side of Business. I really enjoyed both because they made me

Having learned all of this I would like to share it with my college and/or local community. A great way to apply my newly acquired skills and knowledge is to create similar workshops, especially Start Smart, partnering with already existing clubs and organizations. Several organizations in mind are the Career and Professional Development Center, Center for Women and Gender Equity, and many more. On a bigger note, possibly starting an AAUW based club on campus and creating further workshops, panels sessions, and inviting alumni or women who are an inspiration to come and speak. This would be a beneficial opportunity and help spread the word about AAUW and NCCWSL.

Attending this conference has reassured me, as Dr. Trent said, that I’m a champion, I’m a giant, and I’m a leader. I will forever be grateful I was given the opportunity to attend NCCWSL and will definitely continue to attend more.

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