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MCC Names Education to Empowerment Scholarship Recipients

[Thursday, July 27, 2017]


The 2017 recipients of the Education to Empowerment Scholarship are, from left, Molly Schwieger of Wonder Lake, Madeline "Maddy" Padjen of Crystal Lake, Julia Janeczko of Crystal Lake, Sidney Connor of McHenry, Kate Birr of Cary, and Amber Steiger of Woodstock.

Six McHenry County College students were named recipients of the prestigious Education to Empowerment award, a unique scholarship and mentoring opportunity for women offered by the Friends of MCC Foundation. The scholarship’s mission is to empower women to reach their fullest potential and achieve economic independence through education, mentoring, and financial support.

The 2017 recipients are: Kate Jean Marie Birr of Cary; Madeline H. Padjen and Julia Marie Janeczko, both of Crystal Lake; Sidney Lynn Connor of McHenry; Amber Anne Steiger of Woodstock; and Molly Grace Schwieger of Wonder Lake.

“We’re excited to award six E2E scholarships this year—more than any previous year,” said Nancy Wenzel, chair of the Education to Empowerment Executive Committee. “We’re so proud of the 2017 recipients for setting high standards for themselves—both academically and personally. Their talents, skills, and work ethic will benefit whatever industries and communities they land in.”

The recipients and their career plans are:

Kate Jane Marie Birr of Cary is completing requirements toward an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Baking and Pastry Management and plans to transfer to a four-year university in either Rhode Island or in New York to pursue pastry arts and eventually teach foods classes. She earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, and her capstone project was organization of the Prairie Ridge High School Band music library. She also has been an active volunteer at her church and with community organizations.

Madeline H. Padjen of Crystal Lake is pursuing an Associate in Science degree and an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Health and Fitness Education and plans to transfer to a four-year college to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She plans to become a pediatric oncology nurse “to make a difference.” She has been on the President’s Honor list at MCC for the 2015 and 2016 Fall semesters and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at MCC.

Julia Marie Janeczko of Crystal Lake loves working with children and works as a swim coach and instructor. Her career aspiration is to become a pediatrician. She plans to complete her associate’s degree at MCC, then transfer to the University of Texas at Austin to pursue pre-med/biological sciences. She hopes to finish her education with a Doctor of Medicine degree at Dell Medical School of Utah. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She also is the daughter of 2015 Education to Empowerment recipient Lorrie Janeczko.

Sidney Lynn Connor of McHenry took an Intro to Psychology class during her first semester at MCC and learned about functional neurology, which she decided to pursue as a career. After completing her associate’s degree at MCC, she plans to transfer to a four-year university to study exercise science. She plans to continue her education to earn a Doctor of Chiropractic with a certification in functional neurology.

Amber Anne Steiger of Woodstock has maintained a 4.0 grade point average every semester at MCC since fall of 2015 and plans to graduate in spring 2018 with her associate’s degree. She’ll then transfer to a four-year university to major in English. She decided to pursue a career as an English professor after taking composition and Women’s Literature classes from highly supportive instructors at MCC. She was awarded for her outstanding service to the Student Peace Action Network at MCC and volunteered for several events, including Take Back the Night and the Letters to Santa Campaign. She is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Molly Grace Schwieger of Wonder Lake plans to graduate from MCC in spring of 2018. She plans to major in psychology and hopes to become a counselor to help people, especially children. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and Psi Beta honor societies.

The Education to Empowerment scholarship began in 2013. Its goal was to bring together 100 influential McHenry County women who wanted to make a difference and provide scholarships and mentoring opportunities for female MCC students. To qualify for the award, applicants must be full-time students who have achieved sophomore status and have earned a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25. Applicants must also complete a 300-word essay outlining their personal goals.

Each 2017 winner will transfer to a four-year college or university in fall of 2018 and will continue to enjoy both mentoring and financial support from the scholarship program.

The Education to Empowerment Committee hosts three to four events per year that are sponsored by local businesses. This year’s sponsors include: Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, First Midwest Bank, Dorion-Gray Retirement Planning, Associated Electrical Contractors, LLC., The Flint Creek group at Morgan Stanley, Prairie Community Bank, Mortenson Construction, Market Financial Group, Miller Verchota, Inc., Intren, Inc., and Working World, Inc.

For more information about Education to Empowerment or other scholarships, contact the Friends of MCC Foundation Office at (815) 479-7529.

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