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Past Recipients

2021 Recipients

Rosa Ortiz is the Associate Director of Research Administration for the Center for Community and Health at Northwestern’s School of Communication.  She is working towards a Masters in Data Science. She completed her undergraduate degree at the School of Professional Studies as a non-traditional student. Her academic career has been an anchor and inspiration through difficult life challenges. She is excited that her graduate program will help her make a difference in the world.

Rebecca Prince plans to finish her Master of Science in Global Health this June. She is the research coordinator of the Head and Neck Multidisciplinary Clinic within the Department of Otolaryngology at the Feinberg School of Medicine. She was born in the United Arab Emirates to south Indian immigrants and headed the University of Florida’s chapter of Students Organize for Syria (SOS) while studying there. In the future, she hopes to use her experience in oncological disease management, clinical research, and skills in international health care to foster global health interventions in low- and middle-income countries. 

Ana Sferruzza is working toward a Masters in Information Design and Strategy.  She started working at Northwestern as a standardized patient based on her acting experience 14 years ago. She is now the Director of the Clinical Education Center at the Feinberg School of Medicine.  Before the pandemic she volunteered at Horsefeathers Therapeutic Riding Center.  She has been a mentor for other employees through the Association of Northwestern University Women (ANUW) and has participated in the Administrative Leadership Development Program (ADLP).

Hamna Siddiqui hopes to pursue a research career in public health, ideally working for the CDC or for other public health programs. She is working on a Masters in Global Health and works as a research assistant in Neurology at the Feinberg School of Medicine.   She has served as a Chicago Scholars mentor for first-generation college students and has also volunteered at local clinics.  She comes from an immigrant family and was the first one in her family to attend college and pursue a higher education degree. 

2020 Recipients

Rasika Dhond is currently working full-time as a research technician in the Department of Infectious Disease studying host responses to HIV. She is pursuing her Master’s in Health Informatics. She seeks to learn more about healthcare operations and pursue a goal of developing health information technology to improve the current system, with a specific interest in telemedicine and wearable technology. Outside of work and study, she finds time to draw and paint and to volunteer with the Chicago Comedy Film Festival and PAWS Chicago.

 ELIZABETH GARCIA, who works as the Financial Administrator for the Clinical Research Department at Northwestern University and is studying for a bachelor’s degree in Organization Behavior, will be the first member of her family to obtain a college degree. In addition to working and studying, Liz is the mother of two boys. She says, “I am inspired to be brave enough to continue this journey by doing homework alongside my kids.” In addition, she volunteers at her church Youth Ministry Program and enjoys bike riding with her family.

LUIZA KULIKOWSKA is a research administrator at the Lurie Cancer Center and a student seeking a Master of Science in Global Health. Her interests in global health stemmed from witnessing first hand as an immigrant from Poland, how the slightest economic imbalance can have the greatest impact on a population. In addition to global health systems, she developed a strong interest in addictions, genetics, and epigenetics through her work at the Center for Alcohol Research in Epigenetics. She volunteers with UNICEF and is interested in increasing access to educational opportunities for underdeveloped countries as a preventative approach to disease.

2019 Recipients

Lucy Weatherly while working as the Financial Services Specialist at the NU Center for Audiology, Speech, Language and Learning, is also taking four classes each quarter as she works toward a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies at SPS. Never having gone to college before, she finds that she is flourishing and learning in her position and says, “I am eager and excited to actually go to college!” As the mom of a 19-year old son who is also in college at DePauw University in Indiana, she is enjoying the mutual pride and encouragement they can give each other. She says, “There is a strong voice inside me that I want to use to help others. The classes have started to mold that voice and the revelations have been life changing already.” Her involvement with Unidos for Latinx professionals and with the GAP Center in Chicago underscores her community involvement.

Emily Kefferstan is working toward her Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Behavior with a goal of a Masters in Fine Art Management. Her overall focus is to grow her theatre career. Returning to school after a forced break for medical reasons, Emily is involved with Chicago’s bustling theatre community where she works as a production manager, currently for Steep Theatre and soon with Griffin Theatre. In addition, she is the associate chair for the Edgewater Andersonville Theatre District, an organization that brings together over 20 theatre companies. Emily is a facilitator for Northwestern’s LGBTQ Allyship Training program where she helps coordinate training workshops for faculty and staff to support people of all gender identities and sexualities in an environment free of discrimination and harassment. And she works full time as Program Assistant III, Registration and Scheduling, Office of the Registrar.

Stephen Monteiro seeks to investigate the proper role for nonprofit organizations in public administration. He begins with questions concerning how we come to know the nature and extent of our moral and political obligations to self and society. Because philanthropy studies is highly quantitative, Stephen has enrolled in the Data Science Bootcamp in addition to his classes at SPS where he is working toward a Post-Baccalaureate in Data Science.  His goal is a PhD in Political Science. Stephen is a Financial Assistant, Political Science Department at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. He works with Northwestern Unidos and Kellogg  ENLACE, to support the educational and professional needs of Latinx employees and students. His work with nonprofit organizations is focused on grant writing and change management with the goal of helping nonprofits develop compelling programming on a shoe-string budget.

2018 Recipients

Megan Murphy-Belcaster is a research technician in the Department of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwester. She is currently completing an Advanced Biology Certificate at the School of Professional Studies as she prepares for medical school. Her journey toward becoming a doctor became truly focused during her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter as she experienced the impact a doctor can have on a patient. As a physician, she will help other women become mothers and guide their transitions into parenthood. As she works to pursue her goal, she is focused on her pre-medical studies, her full-time research, her volunteer work in Geriatric Emergency, and her weekend soccer games.

Alejandra Povedano is working to advance her education and jumpstart a career in the medical field with the help of her Pre-Nursing Certificate Program at the School of Professional Studies. Her goal is to work as an emergency room nurse where she can parlay her critical thinking skills and compassion into a job where she can serve as a caregiver, an advocate, and a source of strength during difficult times. She volunteers for The Village Chicago, an organization that helps local residents maintain their independence as they age, while working full-time as an administrative assistant in NU’s Department of Preventive Medicine.

 Melissa Rutherfoord is making a total career change as she seeks a Masters of Science in Predictive Analytics. She is drawn to data science and data visualization because of its combination of analytical thinking and storytelling. She is leaving a successful career as a theatrical scenic artist for many Chicago theaters. After the birth of her son, she took a scenic art position at Northwestern and began exploring other career possibilities. Analyzing data today requires creative problem solving using narratives to use data effectively. Outside of work and classes, Melissa participates in Swing for Kids and Traffic Jam Swing, dance related groups to help kids and adults develop social-emotional skills.

2017 Recipients

ELIZABETH CHRISTIAN Elizabeth is a research coordinator at the Center for Global Health at the Feinberg School of Medicine. She is working toward a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration. She is especially interested in international natural disaster response implementation and the lessons learned from it. Elizabeth shared her experiences working as an intern for the Department of State and how those experiences impacted her interest in public policy. She also has been busy as the first student board president of the MPPA group as she works toward bringing in guest speakers, facilitating a Public Policy Case Competition, and providing career advice and support for students.

 KATIE SCOVIC Katie is a communications coordinator at the Institute for Policy Research as she also works toward her master’s degree in public policy and administration. Her goal is a career in youth advocacy. In addition to volunteering for The Night Ministry, a Chicago-based nonprofit that provides services to Chicagoans struggling with poverty and homelessness, Katie also plays on a basketball team and is interested in athletics as a social service for kids in need. Katie writes, “Receiving this scholarship means that I will spend less time worrying about financing my graduate studies and more time focusing on service, scholarship, and social activities—everything at the heart of the University Circle mission.”

 ALISON WILDER Alison is a program assistant at Executive Education Operations, The Kellogg School of Management. While she works to support more than 14 people at the Kellogg School, she is also pursuing her bachelor’s degree in communication studies. In the future, she hopes to achieve a master’s degree in higher education administration. Alison is an enthusiastic employee of Kellogg and is proud to come from a long line of Northwestern graduates starting with her great grandfather. She says, “The scholarship funds will help me obtain my bachelor’s degree, something I have been working hard to finish for years while working full time. Having the NU Circle believe in me and my future inspires me to dedicate myself fully in all aspects of my life, even outside of academics.”

2016 Recipients

Antonia Clifford is a project manager in the IMPACT LGBT Health & Development program at the Feinberg School of Medicine. She seeks a Medical Degree in Psychiatry in order to practice with youth and young adults suffering emergent chronic mental health disorders. During her internship at Teen Living Program, a transitional housing program for young adults in Chicago, she directly witnessed the impact of psychiatric diagnoses and their aftermath on the lives of young people. She says, “A strong motivation for seeking a medical degree is to understand and address the reasons behind physical and mental health disparities.” Beyond the office, she has led peer support groups, planned events for suicide survivors, and volunteers at a Crisis Text Line for teens.

A program coordinator for the Center for Civic Engagement at Northwestern University, Micaela Moran is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration to increase her understanding of public policy and its impact on society, particularly on education and the non-profit sector. Micaela served as an AmeriCorps member for two years through Project YES (Youth Education Service) at the Northwestern Settlement in Chicago. Then she went to work at Northwestern Settlement managing the AmeriCorps program for another two years.  She now serves on the young professionals board for the Settlement. At the Center for Civic Engagement, she manages Jumpstart, a program for early childhood literacy aimed at closing the school readiness gap. The Jumpstart teams she manages serve at community-based preschools in Evanston and Rogers Park.

Eneke Frank Mwakasisi is a research administrator at the Feinberg School of Medicine and is working towards a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration. Her long-term goal is to be a Department Administrator at a research hospital. Through her studies she is learning about the policies and politics of money and medicine, about how to be a successful negotiator, and about organizational and performance management. She is also a dedicated mentor to young immigrant Tanzanian women through the Midwest chapter of the Tanzania Community Association. Eneke uses her experiences as an immigrant to help high school and college age African women adjust to American culture and adulthood. Even while working a second part-time job, Eneke is an avid runner dreaming of the Chicago Marathon in October 2016.

2015 Recipients

Jessica Agosto

Jessica Agosto is a research administrator in the Department of Radiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She is working toward a bachelor’s degree in psychology; her goal is to pursue a master of arts in counseling psychology, with a concentration in health psychology. Passionate about physical fitness and psychology, she is interested in working in combination treatment therapy for those suffering from mental illness, trauma, chronic pain, or grief. She enjoys spending free time with her husband and two children and going to the theater.

Elizabeth Quinn

A financial assistant for the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Elizabeth Quinn is earning a degree in psychology. After graduation, she hopes to be pursue a PhD in social psychology, to study the importance of sibling interactions on personality development. Elizabeth volunteers in Professor Wendi Gardner’s social psychology lab as a research assistant and is developing her own research project. Elizabeth is also training for her first triathlon.

Caitlin Tucker

A newsroom coordinator for University Relations at Northwestern, Caitlin Tucker is working toward a master of arts in public policy and administration. Her volunteer efforts with various immigrant groups inspire her as a journalist to give voice to those who are not included in current social and political conversations. Caitlin believes that by enhancing her analytical and communication skills through her work as an administrator of public policy, she can achieve her goal of becoming a champion of women’s rights. In her leisure time, Caitlin enjoys writing, oil painting, and visiting museums.

2014 Recipient

Donna Su

Donna Su is the coordinator of Graduate Services and Financial Aid at the Bienen School of Music. She has earned her master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration at the School of Professional Studies. In additional to the public policy focus of her course work, Donna also chose electives in human resources and non-profit administration to broaden her understanding of those areas of public policy. A strong commitment to volunteer activities, many in the Evanston area, and a family with two young children give Donna a very full and active life. 

2013 Recipient

Stephanie Cisneros

Stephanie Cisneros has joined the staff of the International Office at Northwestern University as an advisor. When Stephanie earned her scholarship in 2013, she worked full-time in the Office of Corporate Relations and was a Master’s in Liberal Studies student in the School of Professional Studies with a focus on international education. Her own experience studying in Italy has led to her interest in advising American students on study abroad opportunities.

2012 Recipients

Tina Espina

Tina Espina joined the staff at Northwestern six years ago. She is Coordinator of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education at the Feinberg School of Medicine. Tina is working toward a Bachelor's degree in general science with a major in organizational behavior. Tina and her husband are parents of a four-year-old daughter Makenzie and a son Liam.

Jodi Nicolai

Jodi Nicolai works as a Lab Manager/Research Technologist in the International Oncology Laboratory in the Department of Radiology at the Feinberg School of Medicine. Jodi earned a Master's degree in Clinical Research and Regulatory Admission. Her long-term career goal is to manage or direct a clinical laboratory. Jodi has a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

Annaleah Tubbin

Annaleah Tubbin has a joint appointment with the Center for Leadership and the Center for Civic Engagement. She earned a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts. Her ultimate educational goal is to earn a Ph.D. and teach musical theatre at the collegiate level. Annaleah has a bachelor's degree in theatre arts from the University of Oregon.

2011 Recipients

Victoria Schiffman

Victoria Schiffman is an employee in the University's International and Area Studies Program, where she provides administrative support and advises students who are completing the major or minor. She is working toward a Master's Degree in Public Policy and Administration with an interest in non-profits and international humanitarian aid. Victoria is a graduate of Washington University, where she majored in international studies, Spanish, and photography. In a letter of recommendation, her professor wrote, Victoria has “demonstrated the perspective of a woman who has thought seriously about who she is, what she values, and where she want to go in this world.”


Emily Ayshford

Emily Ayshford is a science writer for the McCormick School of Engineering. She is working on an MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis on fiction. Emily is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, where she majored in journalism with a minor in German Studies. Emily's writing has received recognition most recently in the 2009 Union League Circle and Arts Foundation Creative Writing Contest and in the short fiction contest sponsored by the literary magazine Glimmer's Train. In a letter of recommendation, Emily's reference wrote, “I supposed all teachers have experience this: You look at your stack of papers to grade and you know that when you reach the papers by a certain student, you can relax because you'll have in front of you an assignment that is just well-done…. Emily's work in two classes was just that kind.”

Sheila Kessler

Sheila Kessler is Evaluation Manager at Northwestern's Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, where she's worked for 12 years. A cum laude graduate of Northwestern, Sheila is working on a Master's Degree in Public Policy and Administration. In 2009, Sheila won a Service Excellence Award from the University. She's a member of ANUW (Association of Northwestern University Women) and University Circle. Sheila's reference wrote the following in a letter of recommendation, “She was always very well prepared and added great energy to class discussions….and was a positive influence in class.”

2009 Recipients

Agnes Kaminski

Agnes is currently pursuing her MA in Liberal Studies in Northwestern University's School of Continuing Studies and is working at a Program Coordinator at the Kellogg Undergraduate Program. She has been working at Northwestern University since January 2007. She received her BA in Art History at DePaul University. During her time at DePaul Agnes worked as a curatorial intern at the DePaul Art Museum. In the short term Agnes is committed to her position at Northwestern and completing her degree. Her long term goal is become an arts administrator in higher education. Both her position at Northwestern and the degree she is seeking will provide her with the experience and education she needs to pursue her career goals. This scholarship would assist in relieving her student loan burden as well as allow her to enroll in two classes in the summer 2009 quarter.

2008 Recipients

Kristine Barker

Kristine Barker is currently a program assistant in the Program of African Studies, is enrolled in the Masters of Public Policy and Administration program. She has studied abroad in Mali, West Africa doing research on "national educational policies and their effects on women and children". Her letter of recommendation states that: "She has an aptitude to research material and transform the information into a concise format that allows quick understanding of the topic in question. Ms. Barker is a consensus builder and has been a strong presence in group projects, as well as contributing to class discussions."

Danielle Slaton

Danielle Slaton is the Assistant Coach for the NU Women's Soccer team. She is currently enrolled in the Masters of Sports Administration program and she has traveled extensively as a professional soccer player and Olympic team member representing our country. Her letter of recommendations states that: "Danielle serves as an excellent role model for all female student athletes and women of color in particular. She was an outstanding soccer player at Santa Clara University and she had a stellar academic career. She epitomized the term student-athlete."

2007 Recipients

Annie McGurk

Annie McGurk is a program assistant and business manager for the Pathology Core Facility of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, who is pursuing a BS in Economics. According to her references, Annie is already an accomplished and effective business manager but she is eager to take her education and her career a step further. By completing her degree in Economics, she hopes to gain expertise in financial forecasting and planning. One of her professors wrote that Annie "reflects the best that the Northwestern community has to offer" and added that "her determined work-ethic, combined with an eagerness to learn, makes her an ideal student." When Annie is not working or studying, she is a volunteer for the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center and she is an accomplished photographer.

Allison Strick

Allison Strick is a Graduate Program Assistant in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. With an undergraduate degree in the humanities, she is currently studying in the Pre-Medicine Professional Development Certificate Program in preparation for applying to medical school. Her goal is to one day work with "Doctors without Borders." When Allison isn't working or studying, she is helping others. She is a web "guru," has tutored other students in her program and has served as a mentor for international students and adult refugees. She is also a volunteer at Rush North Shore Medical Center. Letters of recommendation in Allison's behalf were very enthusiastic, emphasizing her deep desire to learn and her strong motivation to be a doctor.

Maureen Searcy

Maureen Searcy is a program assistant in the Chemistry Department, is working on her Master of Arts in Creative Writing with the goal of becoming a professional writer. One of her professors wrote, "Maureen is a promising writer who brings a maturity, sense of passion and breadth of vision to her work and is deeply committed to her craft. He went on to say that granting Maureen a University Circle Scholarship would be "an excellent investment in a promising career."

2006 Recipients

Laura Guzman

Originally from Columbia, South America, Laura spent her middle school and part of her high school years in Belgium, She has been employed at the Feinberg School of Medicine for two years, in the 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. She has published papers in collaboration with scientific personages. She currently volunteers as an English as a Second Language tutor. Laura feels that at Northwestern University she has been able not only to grow in a professional environment, but also to add a new angle to her career and to meet new academic challenges. 

Silvia Skripkaskas

Silvia has been employed by Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University as a Health Literacy Research Coordinator for the Institute for Healthcare Studies for one and a half years. She is currently 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 included being a member at the Metro North Achievement Center for Girls, and being an active member of the Lithuanian-Waukegan Community, service as vice-president for youth events. 

2005 Recipient

Vina Bondurant

Vina Bondurant of Evanston Illinois, has worked for Northwestern for six years and is currently the Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering. Earlier this year, Vina was named the co-project manager for the upcoming Fall 2005 Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center building's dedication. As a student in the School of Continuing Studies, Vina is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in General Studies, with a major in Organizational Behavior. Vina was recognized for her excellent academic performance by being named to the Fall 2004 Dean's List. In addition to being a full-time employee, she, like many working women is a wife and mother of two young children.