Trio of SRU students win Stephenson Scholarships

two women playing music

Second from right: Jasmine Medina, a senior biology and music double major from North Washington, is one of three winners of the 2018 Marjorie Stephenson Scholarship. 

June 20, 2018

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - For more than three decades, the Marjorie Stephenson Scholarship has recognized successful yet underrepresented female students studying the arts, humanities, social sciences and education at Slippery Rock University.

The scholarship, administered by Bailey Library personnel, was established in honor of Stephenson, who worked at the library from 1971-78. The 2018 recipients are: Jasmine Medina, a senior biology and music double major from North Washington; Aisha Aldubayan, a senior digital media production major from Old Forge; and Jana Ponder, a junior athletic training major from Washington, D.C.

The trio of women were chosen by the scholarship's selection committee based on a rubric that considered financial need, academic performance and participation in campus activities. Other requirements include: having earned at least 30 credit hours at SRU; attending SRU as a full-time student while holding the scholarship; an essay about how a college education will help to reach their career goals; and two letters of recommendation from SRU faculty members.

"Several key factors made these three young ladies stand out among the many applicants," said Allison Brungard, chairperson of the selection committee. "Each of these remarkable students demonstrates a strong work ethic, combined with a dedication to serving others. They represent the best of SRU in ways that touched all who served on the committee."

Ponder said she learned of the scholarship through one of her professors, Bonnie Siple, an SRU associate professor of exercise and rehabilitative science, who provided one of her two letters of recommendation. "She believed I would be a good fit and she offered to help me with everything," Ponder said. "I felt great when I saw I had won. Outside of my church, this is the first external scholarship I've ever received. It's exciting."

Medina, who is going into her sixth and final year at SRU, said she was surprised, honored and relieved when she learned she had won. As a Hispanic woman, Medina's ethnicity is something that means a lot to her, and a scholarship that focused on that aspect of her person pushed her not only to apply but even more appreciative when she won.

"This helps to take away some of the financial stress," she said. "Being Hispanic and a double major with financial need, getting the opportunity to have some help paying for two degrees made the time spent with application process well worth it. Having the extra (financial) help this year gives me even more incentive to keep working on furthering my education."

The opportunity provided by the scholarship was not lost on Aldubayan, who was grateful that such options are open to her and others like her.

"As a biracial female with career goals in media, I believe representing minorities and diversity in fields that are majority-based is incredibly important to encourage and inspire young people that they can follow their dreams," she said.

"Applying for the scholarship with no guarantee of winning was a lesson in taking advantage of all opportunities no matter the outcome," said Aldubayan. "Trying is often more important than succeeding because if you keep trying, success, like receiving a scholarship that will finance required internship credits, will come.

"My advice to all college students is to keep applying, because the tiniest bit can go a long way. There is nothing to lose, but always something to gain."

For more information about the Stephenson Scholarship, or to apply for 2019, interested students should contact Allison Brungard, Bailey Library's STEM and electronic access librarian, at 724.738.2638 or allison.brungard@sru.edu.

MEDIA CONTACT: Megan Bush | 724.738.2091 | mxb1092@sru.edu