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Circle Awards Two Scholarships

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May 31, 2006

The University Circle, an organization founded by women of the Northwestern Community, has presented its 2006 Tuition Scholarship Award to Laura Guzman and Silvia Skripkaskas -- employees who are enrolled in programs at the School of Continuing Studies (SCS).

The Tuition Scholarship was established in Fall 2004 to assist University employees who are taking courses through SCS in furthering their career opportunities. This venture will support personal growth of a scholar in one of the programs offered in the College. The Scholarship is funded by donations from the Circle membership and the general public.

This is the second year in which awards have been made.

Originally from Columbia, South America, Laura Guzman spent her middle school and part of her high school years in Belgium. She has been employed for two years at the Feinberg School of Medicine Dermatology Department as a Research Technologist. She is working toward a Master of Arts in Literature. Her ultimate goal is to teach at the college level and to edit, translate and write literary works. 

She is fluent in Spanish and French and has published papers in collaboration with scientists. She currently volunteers as an English as a Second Language tutor. Laura feels that at Northwestern University she grown in a professional environment, and has also added a new aspect to her career and met new academic challenges. Helen Thompson, assistant professor of the English, says of her: “When she spoke, everybody in the room listened attentively, confident in Guzman's intellect, maturity and subtlety of mind. … I should add that the fact that English is not her first language, but that she writes at a level of subtlety and sophistication above that of many of her peers in my class, only further testifies to her intellectual promise.”

Silvia Skripkaskas has been employed by Feinberg School as a Health Literacy Research Coordinator for the Center for Healthcare Studies for one and a half years. She is pursuing a master's degree in public health and policy with the long-term goal of being a physician.  Her present work activities are directed toward the medically underserved.  She believes that it is very important to interact with the community at large through extra-curricular activities. 

She has published a paper and conducted a Health Literacy Workshop on “How to Talk to Your Doctor.” She recently completed training in a Good Asthma Management Seminar and will be teaching adult asthmatics in underserved communities about asthma prevention.   Her involvement in social and professional activities in the past include being a member at the Metro North Achievement Center for Girls and of the Lithuanian-Waukegan Community, serving as vice president for youth events. Her recommender for this award, Michael S. Wolf, M.D., said he has “been impressed with her intelligence, motivation, breadth of attained knowledge in the specific areas of research through which she has been involved and her ability to communicate and collaborate with medical and research faculty here and abroad.”