Meet TWOQC 2023 Women in Transition Scholarship Winners!

WIT Scholarship winners: Standing (left to right): Jamie Farmer, Caeley Mellady, Cristina Juarez, Janae Peats; seated (left to right): Becky Hill, Victoria Dyer, Aleah Diaz; in frame: Melanie Groves

Judy White

At The Women Of Quail Creek (TWOQC) Scholarship Awards Program on April 24, Women in Transition (WIT) scholarships were awarded to an interesting and dedicated group of eight women. Recipients of the $3,500 WIT Scholarships have career goals as diverse as social worker and film director and will be pursuing coursework at colleges and universities across Arizona.

Two of this year’s recipients are employed by the Sahuarita School District. Becky Hill is currently a teacher and will be using her scholarship to pursue a master’s degree to prepare her as a reading specialist. Jamie Farmer, a second-year WIT recipient, is one of the friendly faces you’ll encounter in the main office at Walden Grove High School. Having put her education on hold while raising a family, she is returning to college to pursue a degree in social work.

The remaining six scholarship winners live in Tucson where they are attending school. Melanie Groves is finally realizing her long-term goal of completing a course in visual and performing arts, with an emphasis on film. She recently worked on the set of a movie that was made in Tucson. The director was so impressed that he offered her a position on his next project. Art in a different form is the passion of Aleah Diaz, as she pursues a culinary arts associate degree. She currently works with Chef Jake at Flower Child. He recognized her talent as a baker and encouraged her to further her education. After several years working in various office management positions, Janae Peats is looking to broaden her career by completing an Information Technology/Support Specialist certification program.

Careers in the medical field are the goal of three of this year’s scholarship winners. Caeley Mellady is completing a dual-track program that allows her to get an associate degree and her Bachelor of Science in nursing simultaneously. Cristina Juarez, after working for several years as a dental assistant, will attend the Pima Community College Dental Hygiene program to become a dental hygienist. Another applicant receiving a second WIT scholarship this year is Victoria Dyer who is completing a doctorate in nursing practice to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

When asked in their interviews who was an inspirational person in their lives, almost all mentioned their mothers. Many of those moms were single parents or recent immigrants with little schooling themselves, but who instilled in their daughters the notion that hard work can make goals and dreams a reality. These eight women have overcome many and varied obstacles as they persevered in furthering their educations, even though interrupted at times.

The Women of Quail Creek recognized that there are very few scholarship opportunities for women who do not continue their education immediately after high school graduation, and they established the WIT scholarships to address that need. It is thanks to the generous support of Quail Creek residents—through personal donations and participation in fundraising events—that the program has been able to expand each year.