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TWU Home > Marketing & Communication > News Releases

New scholarship at TWU aimed at helping women achieve success



DENTON — Texas Woman’s University and a new non-profit organization are giving women a second chance at a college degree and a career.
Empowering Women as Leaders, a non-profit organization headquartered in Southlake, was formed in 2004 with the goal of providing financial support and mentoring for women over age 23 to earn a degree. EWL partnered with Texas Woman’s University to establish its scholarship program and identify scholarship candidates.

“We looked at colleges in the Dallas/Fort Worth area that are supportive of women,” EWL founder and president Carolyn Pineda said. “We are extremely fortunate to have TWU as a partner to help us get started.”

Dr. Richard Nicholas, TWU’s vice president for student life, said the partnership with EWL was a natural for the university.“Their goal to assist women, especially nontraditional-aged women, to complete their education has been a mission of TWU’s for a long time,” he said. “The mentoring aspect of the scholarship may have as much, if not more, value to the students than the dollars. It’s more than a donation; it’s a relationship. It’s a measure of the commitment these women have to helping other women.”

Scholarships are provided to women ages 24 and older who are regarded as having a high potential for success. In addition to the $1,500 per year provided by the scholarship, recipients, who are called “Stars,” will receive mentoring throughout college and for the first two years of their career.Those Stars then go on to mentor new Stars in the program.

Ms. Pineda, vice president of professional services for Sabre Holdings in Southlake, said that pairing the Stars with women who have achieved success in the workplace helps them prepare professionally and provides them with emotional support.

“Many people who go to college later are worried about returning to school,” said Ms. Pineda, adding that she started college at age 26. “It’s essential to have support at that time in your life.”

Though EWL initially planned to sponsor only one student its first year, two recipients were selected. Galynn Draper-Lindemann of Denton graduated in May with a bachelor of social work degree and has entered TWU’s Executive MBA program. Vanessa Lee White of Dallas received her bachelor of fine arts degree in photography in May.

Ms. Draper-Lindemann, who recently passed her social work licensure exam and, through TWU, has become a certified mediator, described her coursework as both “a survival mechanism (and) a sanctuary.” She was treated for uterine cancer in 1999, but the cancer returned in 2001. She has been in remission for three years. She was dealt another blow when her father died in October 2004.

“When you survive something, I think it gives you a renewed sense of purpose,” Ms. Draper-Lindemann said. “When you have conflicts, you can say to yourself, ‘I am a survivor. Absolutely.’”

Her doctor suggested that attending college would help her cope. Though she’d been out of school for 30 years, Ms. Draper-Lindemann found the transition eased by the support of her family and the faculty and staff at TWU.

The EWL scholarship also provided much-needed support.

“I had insurance, but I had a really large hospital bill,” Ms. Draper-Lindemann said. She is thankful not only for the scholarship — which helped her through her 432-hour, non-paid internship with the Denton County Probate Court — but also for the mentoring aspect of the program. Her mentor, Susan Tonjes, an EWL board member who runs her own consulting company, has provided feedback as well as insight into the corporate world.

“When you’ve been out of the work force, you need that guidance,” Ms. Draper-Lindemann said.

The role of mentor is one she looks forward to taking on one day.

“I see the benefit in that, profoundly,” she said.

Ms. White also looks forward to mentoring one day, saying that aspect of the program has had the greatest impact on her.

Ms. White, who wants to open an arts studio, said her mentor, Cindy Gilmore — a human resources consultant for Sabre Holdings in Southlake and EWL’s vice president of marketing — has taught her the importance of networking.

“It’s been wonderful,” Ms. White said. “I’ve never had a true mentor before. I can go to her with questions about business. I’m also learning a lot about leadership skills, public speaking skills and how to present myself.”

Ms. White initially planned to combine studies of occupational therapy and art at TWU, but changed course when Susan kae Grant, professor of photography, encouraged her to pursue photography. Ms. White said she has been inspired by the passion TWU’s visual arts faculty have for helping students and for their own work.

Ms. White also received strong support from her family, especially in dealing with her dyslexia.

“When I started college, I didn’t have college-level reading skills,” she said. “It just means you have to work another way, and you have to work harder. You can’t let it hinder you.”

Carolyn Pineda feels these women are exceptional examples of the EWL goal. “The mission of Empowering Women as Leaders is to give back to other promising women with financial need. It is our goal to provide a supportive environment so that these women can achieve a successful career. I am very grateful that other women connect with my passion and are excited about helping women discover their potential and find bright futures for themselves.”

For more information on EWL, go to www.empoweringwomenasleaders.org.


For Further Information Contact:

Karen Garcia
Senior Copywriter
Tel: (940) 898-3456
e-mail: kgarcia@twu.edu

Page last updated January 22, 2009

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