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Scholarship recipients take the lead

Erin Chandler | Jun 03, 2022

Out of over 400 applicants, the outstanding students who will receive this year’s Kiwanis Children’s Fund scholarships stand out as leaders and mentors in their communities. Motivated by a desire to create a better, more compassionate world for those who will come after them, these accomplished Key Club and Circle K International members are already taking charge and guiding the way in education, communication, healthcare, science and technology, music, dance, civic engagement and environmental stewardship. The Kiwanis Children’s Fund is honored to help these seven students continue their education in the upcoming academic year with a scholarship.

Taylor Cripe, Linda Canaday Memorial Scholarship

Cripe web Taylor Cripe is a recent graduate of Wawasee High School in Syracuse, Indiana, where she was a member of Key Club for three years, including one year as vice president. In addition to Key Club, Cripe held leadership positions on the varsity girls golf team and DECA, and she was an active participant in the theater program. She was her 10th grade class president and 12th grade student body secretary. In her senior year, Cripe founded and served as president of the Environmental Club, which successfully campaigned for and implemented a recycling program at Wawasee High School. The club Cripe built will ensure that the program continues well into the future. Cripe will attend DePauw University in Indiana, where she plans to major in English literature because she appreciates how the written word forges connections between people.

Sara Allen, Kiwanis Children’s Fund Scholarship

Allen web Sara Allen is a recent graduate of Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was a member of Key Club all four years and served as president and vice president. Allen, a talented musician, has performed as a freelance double bassist and has served as principal bass with multiple orchestras and ensembles. She also coached the double bass section of the Tulsa Honors Orchestra. Allen found her voice as a member of the speech and debate team, qualifying for the National Speech and Debate Association’s national tournament in her first full year of competition. Following the return to in-person learning in March 2021, Allen campaigned successfully for her high school to hire an in-house mental health counselor for students. Allen will attend University College Dublin (Ireland), where she plans to major in English and math. She hopes to return to Booker T. Washington High School as a teacher who will, in her own words, “fight for education in Oklahoma.”

Sofia Pantoja, Kiwanis Children’s Fund Scholarship

Pantoja web Sofia Pantoja is a recent graduate of Otay Ranch High School in Chula Vista, California, where she was active in Key Club at the club and district levels, including as a board member and chair of multiple committees for the California-Nevada-Hawaii District. As lieutenant governor of the Emerald Division, she implemented projects that quickly surpassed the division’s annual service hour goal and increased member participation and enthusiasm. Pantoja was the founder and president of Otay Ranch High School’s chapters of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and International Robotics Honors Society. She captained her school’s robotics team and mentored two elementary school robotics teams to the state competition. Pantoja led a STEM advocacy conference with members of the U.S. Congress, and she subsequently took on an internship with the Student Association for STEM Advocacy. Pantoja will attend the University of Southern California, where she plans to major in aerospace and mechanical engineering. She hopes to work in the field of space exploration on rovers and spacecraft that will one day send people to Mars.

Jacob Alley, Kiwanis Children’s Fund Scholarship

Alley 2 Jacob Alley is a student at Shawnee State University in Ohio, where he is pursuing a degree in middle childhood education (mathematics and social studies). Alley rechartered and served as president of his school’s Circle K International club. In addition to CKI, he is an ambassador of the Shawnee State University School of Education and president of the National Society of Leadership and Success. Alley also serves as a volunteer, advisor and chaperone for Minford's middle and high schools' Model United Nations and Ohio Youth in Government programs. As a teacher, Alley hopes to leave a lasting impact on the young people in his community.

Vivian Corey, Kiwanis Children’s Fund Scholarship

Corey web Vivian Corey is a student at The Ohio State University, where she is pursuing degrees in dance and exercise science. Corey has served as president, secretary and historian of her Circle K International club. During the pandemic, Corey managed to reactivate dormant projects and initiate new ones, and her faculty advisor credits her leadership for an increase in club service and fellowship during a difficult time. In addition to CKI, Corey has held leadership positions with Momentum Contemporary Ballet and Movement Exchange, an organization that brings dance and dance education to underserved communities. Corey looks forward to the “creative challenge” of uniting her interests in dance and science to become a dance science educator and researcher, promoting safe practice and longevity for dancers.

Emily Cottrell, John E. Mayfield Circle K International Scholarship

Cottrell web Emily Cottrell recently graduated from Niagara University in New York with a degree in biology. Cottrell was active in Circle K International throughout college and was elected president in her senior year. During the height of the pandemic, Cottrell kept her club active and attracted new members. She also worked as a COVID screener in addition to her work as a part-time caregiver and general chemistry tutor. In addition to CKI, Cottrell held leadership positions in the Niagara University Biology Club. Cottrell intends to pursue a career as a physician who uses compassion to give her patients a voice.

Phil Tran, Circle K International Past Presidents’ Scholarship

tran web Phil Tran is a student at Claremont McKenna College in California, where he is pursuing degrees in computational and cognitive neuroscience. Tran has been active in Circle K International for three years and was elected president of his club. In addition to CKI, Tran has been a leader and mentor in the Vietnamese Student Association, Asian Pacific American Mentors and 1Gen, an organization to support first-generation college students. Tran works as a research assistant at the Applied Mind and Health — Child Attainment, Relationships and Emotion Lab and at the Reed Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, where he is working to publish a research paper on institutional discrimination and the biomarkers of stress and age in people of color. Tran aspires to be a neurosurgeon who will save lives by understanding and preventing mental deterioration.

Go to the Kiwanis Children’s Fund Scholarship Opportunities page for information about scholarships distributed by the Kiwanis Children’s Fund, including who to contact with questions and award notification dates.

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