Women from underserved communities received scholarships from the George Branch of the American Association of University Women, St. George, Utah, May 2, 2022 | Photo courtesy of Maurice Atkin, St. George News
ST. GEORGE- Women from underserved communities received scholarships and participated in the new Mentor in a Minute program. The St. George branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) hosted a luncheon on Monday to present the winners with their scholarships.
Pairing students with mentors to guide them is a tradition. But this was the first time the branch had organized a “One-Minute Mentor” to allow students to first meet potential mentors face-to-face.
“We were able to comfortably pair 16 mentees with our mentors. This has kicked off the year for us with great excitement, not only with financial assistance for them, but also with a mentor to help them throughout the year,” said Pat Dalpiaz, Branch Member of the American Association of University Women of St. George.
The local branch has awarded 30 scholarships to women who need money and promise to complete their studies. This year, they awarded $39,000 in scholarships and counseling to help students with educational and personal challenges, Dalpiaz said.
“We seek out and market Indigenous, minority and non-traditional students,” Dalpiaz said.
The group also contacted the Shivwits group of Paiutes Karma Grayman, a member of the Shivwits education committee. Although the tribe offers scholarships to tribal members, the American Association of University Women Scholars would provide even more opportunities for female students, Grayman said.
“We encourage education so that our tribal members can one day learn to run their own businesses because we as a tribe are growing,” Grayman said.
Scholarship aid helps prospective students not worry too much and relieves them of pressure. The scholarships help students be able to stay closer to home to go to school, which is often more comfortable for them, she said.
One of the winners is Shaquoyah Silvas, a Native American from the Shivwits Band of Paiutes who specializes in early childhood development. Her mother, Hope, attended lunch with her and Karma Grayman.
Twenty-six minorities applied for scholarships this year, and six did not receive scholarships. Dalpiaz said of the 20 applicants who received scholarships, most were Latinos.
“Mentor in a Minute” was created because of the challenge of bringing mentee and mentor together. Dalpiaz members Lois Diehl and Shannon Anderson felt a new approach was needed since everyone involved usually disperses during the summer. During the activity, a whistle was blown every minute to cause rotation. The mentors had their own post-it number stuck to their foreheads. The mentee then selected and wrote down three numbers from one of the mentors on their card that they liked and returned the card at the end of the event. Dalpiaz said organizers put the final counts on a spreadsheet to match attendees.
Expectations of mentors and mentees include:
- Mentors share advice on personal and professional growth.
- Mentors celebrate big and small wins, show support and offer words of encouragement.
- Mentors communicate with the Mentor Chair quarterly regarding the status of the relationship.
- Mentors and mentees understand that this program lasts one year. If both mentors and mentees agree, the relationship can continue informally.
- Mentors and mentees will commit to quarterly contacts and face-to-face meetings 2-3 times per year.
The scholarship committee establishes the criteria. The scholarships are based on women who demonstrate financial need and have the potential to achieve academic success by completing their degrees. The website said sources of funding include the annual gala, other branch-sponsored fundraisers, and private donations.
Scholarships are available for Utah residents in the greater St. George area who demonstrate financial need and the ability to complete their education. Other requirements include:
- Women who attend or plan to attend a local college or university to pursue their educational goals. This also applies to women with a GED.
- Female students at Dixie Technology College are considered if they intend to continue their education after their certification program.
- Support for graduate programs.
- Financial need is based on FAFSA approval.
- Demonstrate an ability to complete a four-year degree.
- For students, a 2.5 GPA is required.
- Both part-time (6 hours) and full-time students are eligible.
Former scholarship recipients can reapply and receive a maximum of three scholarships
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