Three Students Receive AAUW Scholarships
Las Vegas, N.M. – Three outstanding New Mexico Highlands University graduate students received scholarships from the Las Vegas branch of the American Association of University Women.
Rima Ralff was awarded a $1,000 scholarship. Janelle Cassidy and Rhonda Trujillo each received $500 scholarships.
“These scholarship recipients are all extremely committed and focused on reaching their academic and career goals despite many personal challenges,” said Sonya Berg, who co-chairs the local AAUW scholarship committee. “I’m very proud of them.”
Berg said this AAUW scholarship award supports women who are nontraditional students attending Highlands University.
Ralff, 54, is pursuing a M.A. in counseling from the university’s School of Education. She said her career choice comes from her desire to contribute to self-growth and mental wellness in her fellow human beings. Ralff has a long history of working in the arts, including managing La Lana Wools, a Taos arts shop and gallery. She said she hopes to integrate her background in the arts and creative expression into her work as a counselor. Ralff has also volunteered at Taos nonprofit organizations such as Rock the Schools, Taos Freeform Dance, and the Battered Women’s Project.
Cassidy, 38, is pursuing a master of social work degree. She said she wants to implement her desire to foster human rights and equal opportunities for all. Cassidy has a particular interest in working to empower and inspire youth. Since 2011, Cassidy has worked as a social work intern at Nonviolence Works, Inc. in Taos, and has also interned at the Taos Charter School. She participated in a UNM Taos Chinese Cultural Tour in 2005. Cassidy has volunteered at nonprofit organizations such as the Taos Living Center and the Dream Tree Project, also in Taos.
Trujillo, 28, is pursuing her M.S. in natural sciences/geology. She said two Highlands University geology professors, Jennifer Lindline and Michael Petronis, have inspired her to pursue a Ph.D. in geology and become a tenured professor at a research institution. Trujillo has earned a 3.96 GPA in graduate school and is a student leader in the Highlands University Geological Society. She has published and presented several geology research studies. In the summer of 2011, Trujillo was selected for the International Exchange Program between Highlands University and Blaise Pascal University in France, where she conducted research on the extinct Lemptégy Volcanoin the Chaîne de Puys.
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