The Zonta Club of Grand Island awarded $750 scholarships to five women in ceremonies on June 26 at the Buffalo Launch Club.
The 2012 scholarship winners are Samantha Kahn, Kallan McMillan, Kathryn Cobello, Kathleen Rustowicz and Janice Glose. All are Grand Island women who have achieved excellence in academics and through their volunteer work as stewards of their community and churches.
The awards, presented by Club President Maria Burns and Sue Fleming-Brusino of the club's Scholarship Committee, were in three categories: the Veronica Connor Scholarship for two graduating high school seniors; the Zonta Memorial Scholarship for two young women from 18 to 25 who are currently enrolled in higher education; and the Career Advancement Scholarship for a woman over 25 who is continuing her education through a post-graduate degree or pursuing courses that enable her to re-enter the work force.
Samantha Kahn and Kallan McMillan, 2012 graduates of Grand Island High School, are this year's winners of the Veronica Connor Scholarships, established in memory of the trailblazing educator for whom Grand Island's middle school was named. Miss Connor, supervising principal of the Grand Island School District, was a charter member of Grand Island's Zonta chapter.
Kahn, described by a nominator as a "deep thinker" and "creative student," plans to attend Washington University in St. Louis to major in art history and environmental studies with the goal of becoming a curator. She was a member of the Donate Life Chapter at GIHS and has volunteered with Friends of the Night People. She was at the top of her class academically and was a member of the varsity track and field team and the varsity swimming team.
McMillan's nominator calls her "creative," "artistic" and "determined." She plans to attend the SUNY College at Purchase to become a filmmaker. A top student in high school, she won honors for her bassoon playing and her participation as a member of select choral groups. She gives bassoon lessons and has her own reed-making business.
Kathryn Cobello and Kathleen Rustowicz were presented with the 2012 Memorial Scholarships established in memory of deceased members of the Grand Island club whose achievements ranged from gemologist to nurse to Girl Scout director to a journalist who participated in the U.S. Olympic fencing team as a young woman.
Cobello, a GIHS graduate, is pursuing a degree in special education and literacy at Niagara University. Her professors applaud her work ethic, organizational skills and compassion. She has achieved excellent grades while working two part-time jobs.
Rustowicz, also a GIHS grad, is an Army ROTC cadet majoring in mathematics and accounting at Canisius College. She has participated in a number of projects as a member of a sorority dedicated to service to the community. An Irish dancer, she also is a member of the St. Stephen's Parish Players. A nominator states that Rustowicz's approach to life is governed by a "service above self" philosophy.
Janice Glose, the recipient of the Career Advancement Award, is a Registered Nurse pursuing a doctorate in nursing from the Sage Graduate School in Albany. She earned her master of science degree with a specialty in rehabilitation and worked part-time in the nursing field while raising her children. Glose's doctoral studies are focused on identifying the training needs, skills, knowledge and attitudes of Certified Nursing Assistants. Her research is aimed at improving the effectiveness and upward mobility of CNAs, as well as improving the quality of care provided to the aging population in New York state. Glose plans to teach nursing at the college level. She has led medical missions to Haiti and took students to Costa Rica on a medical mission. Glose, a graduate of GIHS, Roberts Wesleyan College and the University at Buffalo, is active in local school, church and community activities.
"The Zonta Club of Grand Island raises funds all year so that we can award scholarships to these deserving women," said Linda Isenhart, a member of Zonta's Scholarship Committee and the club's treasurer. She cited events such as the club's annual fashion show in October, managing a stroller and tote concession at the Buffalo Convention Center, basket raffles and an upcoming garage sale set for July 28.
Zonta is a service organization, with 31,000 members worldwide, that is dedicated to advancing the status of women. The Grand Island Club has awarded a total of $100,000 in scholarships, and helps women in developing countries around the world. The club also contributes locally to the Neighbors Foundation, the Relay For Life, Grand Island's Miracle League, Rotary's Haiti medical mission, Child and Family Services, Hospice, Carolyn's House, Habitat for Humanity, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Read and Seed and St. Vincent DePaul, among others.