A New Mission
U.S. Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarships Help Soldiers Advance in Army and Life.
Army veteran and agronomy student Sonia Kendrick hung up her Army uniform several years ago, but she is on another mission to serve her country.
Kendrick has seen the face of hunger in the food pantries where she worked in Iowa. Now she is pursuing a master’s degree in sustainable food systems to change from a system where food is shipped to the community, to one where the food is produced locally.
“My motto is, food security is national security,” said Kendrick, who served in Afghanistan.
Trang Pham, a private first class in the Army Reserves and student of nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University, dreams of securing a commission in the Army Nurse Corps. In 2013, three years after joining the Army, Pham volunteered at the Burn Center of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, Calif.. She admired the “good-hearted nurses” there and felt compassion for the burn patients. She wants to pursue a nursing career in the Army, so she can look after injured soldiers.
U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Ingrid Parker learned from her own wartime experiences and interaction with Iraqi women activists that women who live in such seemingly disparate cultures still share many of the same challenges in male dominated societies. The observation intrigued Parker so much that she decided it would be the basis of her doctoral work as she “uncovers the institutionalized factors influencing the development of women’s opportunities in both societies.”
Parker, Kendrick and Pham are all Army women. They also share something else in common. Because they needed financial help to achieve their academic and career goals, they turned to the U.S. Army Women’s Foundation, and its Legacy Scholarship Program
“The U.S. Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship is truly necessary for my successful military career,” said Pham, who was digging deep into her own finances to pay out of state tuition at VCU.
The U.S. Army Women’s Foundation, the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to helping women soldiers, has been nurturing its Legacy Scholarship Program since the program’s inception in 2008. Each year, it has increased the total scholarship fund and number of recipients.
“With this award my dream to help wounded military service members recover from physical, mental and emotional injury will come true, said Cristian Arreaza, 2016 AWF Legacy Scholarship Recipient. “Thanks to the Legacy award, I will become a better candidate to work for the Department of Veterans affairs and continue to serve my country as a civilian. Thank you for choosing me and helping me reach my goals.”
Annual AWF Summit
The annual winners are announced at AWF’s summit each March. The AWF hosted its 9th Annual Summit on March 8, 2017 on Capitol Hill. This year’s theme was “Evolving Opportunities for Army Women: Equip ~ Empower ~ Engage.” Each March, in Washington, D.C., the Army Women’s Foundation brings together experts on defense, economic, political, health and social issues that affect soldiers, particularly women soldiers. The Foundation and its guests have examined and celebrated the changing military missions and roles of Army women, the challenges they face transitioning back to civilian life, and the resiliency they demonstrate in handling both.
This year’s event featured keynote addresses from former Surgeon General of the Army, LTG Patricia Horoho, USA (Ret.), and Deputy G1, Department of the Army, MG Hugh Van Roosen, followed by two powerhouse panel discussions.
Since 2008, the AWF has awarded over $300,000 in scholarships to Army women - active duty, retired, National Guard, and Reserve - and their children through the foundation’s Legacy Scholarship Program.
The 2017 Legacy Scholarship winners are made possible by generous supporters such as Prudential, Sierra Nevada, L3, Walmart, GE, and PenFed Credit Union, among others.
Support to Succeed
According to the private, non-profit College Board, most college students rely on some sort of financial aid, whether loans, grants or scholarships. The federal government and colleges provide a large majority of those funding sources, but so do private, charitable organizations, such as the U.S. Army Women’s Foundation.
Private and employer grants and scholarships make up 4 percent of the college financial assistance available in the U.S., according to the College Board.
The U.S. Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship Program is part of that 4 percent.
The U.S. Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship Program offers financial support to students in four areas: Technical Certificate programs, Community College coursework, Undergraduate Degrees, and Graduate Degrees.
Eligible applicants are women who have or are currently serving honorably in any component of the U.S. Army, and the lineal descendants of those women. Scholarships are based on merit, academic potential, community service, letters of recommendation, and need. Coursework must be through accredited institutions.
Funding for the U.S. Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship Program comes from the foundation’s Board of Directors and from a variety of private sources, including corporate supporters such as The Home Depot Foundation, The Walt Disney Company, and Prudential Financial.
Some of the foundation’s scholarships are named in honor of individuals.
Pham, for example, received a scholarship named jointly for the first WAC Director, Col. Oveta Culp Hobby, and the first Superintendent of the Army Nurse Corps, Dita H. Kinney.
Caryn Wagner, an Army veteran who sat on the foundation’s Advisory Board, funded two scholarships to honor the memory of her father, Major General Robert Wagner, who died in 2013. Major General Wagner had a distinguished 33-year Army career and served as the first Commanding General of Cadet Command at Fort Monroe, VA.
The foundation found two perfect matches one year in its pile of applicants: Carolyn Denny and Kimberly Denny, twin sisters and Global Honors Program members in the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership at the Mary Baldwin College. Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership is the only all-female cadet corps in the nation.
“The scholarships reflect his belief that women serve with distinction, his love for the Army as an institution, and his belief in the power of education to enrich individuals and institutions,” Caryn Wagner said. “He would be very proud of the recipients of the scholarships in his name.”
Supporting Women in Service
Besides the Legacy Scholarship Program, the U.S. Army Women’s Foundation honors soldiers in other ways, too. A long-standing part of its mission, the Foundation works to preserve the history of Army women, and promote public interest in the U.S. Army.
To achieve this, the Foundation operates several other programs.
The Bronze Memorial Plaque Program offers the opportunity to permanently honor deceased members of the Armed Forces, their friends and family, and the fallen heroes of current conflicts by placing their name on a bronze plaque that is located at the U.S. Army Women’s Museum at Fort Lee, Virginia.
The Foundation also has provided grants to help preserve the history of Army women through memorials and museum programs. In fact, the U.S. Army Women’s Foundation originally was the Women’s Army Corps Foundation that was founded in 1969 to raise money to build a WAC Museum at Fort McClellan, AL.
One of its grants was used to fund research to examine and learn the economic and social impact of women’s service in the Army. That work, performed by George Mason University, was published in 2006. It found that service in the Army greatly influenced their educational advancement and played an important role in their civilian careers once they left the Army.
The Army Women’s Foundation’s Hall of Fame program recognizes the extraordinary achievements of Army women and those who support them.
The Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame Awards are presented in March to women who have contributed extraordinary service to the Army or the Armed Forces and any individual who has made exceptional contributions to women in the Army or the Armed Forces.
All of the programs are designed to preserve the history and honor the service and sacrifice of Army women. Through grants and Hall of Fame programs, AWF continues to preserve the history of their contributions to the country.