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Past Scholarship Recipients

McGowan Leadership Scholarship Award

Past Scholarship Recipients

Where are they now?

Arielle Lewis ~ 2014 Scholarship Recipient

“Since 2014, I graduated from Emory University with a BA in French Studies and from the University of Georgia with MA in French Linguistics. I am currently first year law student at Georgia State University College of Law and expect to complete the degree in May 2023! I am in the process of applying to legal summer internships. Although my schedule has drastically changed due to the law school workload, I still volunteer for NOAH and Positive Exposure (PEARLS project) as needed and have dedicated some time to Atlanta Legal Aid for pro bono. I am co-hosting NOAH Connections People with Albinism in the Legal Profession.”


Elizabeth Schafer ~ 2018 Scholarship Recipient

“My name is Elizabeth Schafer and I received the McGowan Leadership Scholarship in 2018. Since then I have been quite busy! I am currently in my Junior year at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design where I am majoring in Art Education. For the past year I have been attending school virtually from my home in Long Island, New York. Through my studies of Art Education, I am exploring how art can communicate my vision in an authentic way and be used as a tool for exploration and discovery.

At school, I work as Volunteer Coordinator for MassArt and am also helping to pioneer a program which allows students labeled as having severe intellectual disabilities to take part in the college experience. I am a Volunteer Artist and the Volunteer Manager and Innovation Officer for Splashes of Hope- a non-profit organization that transforms the environment of hospitals and healthcare centers with custom-designed hand painted murals.

In 2020, I enjoyed joining in on NOAH Connections calls and attending the virtual conference over the summer. I have also loved hosting virtual Paint Nights for the NOAH community and am staying involved as a member of NOAH’s Junior Advisory Council.

While I have been super busy, I love hanging out with family and friends (whether that be virtually or in person) whenever I get the chance. Lately, I have spent a lot of quality time with my family – playing board games, watching hockey, and chatting around the fire pit. Although times have been challenging, I am looking forward to what the future holds!”


Lee-Anne Thompson ~ 2016 Scholarship Recipient

A lot of things have changed for me since 2016! I finished my BA in 2017, my bachelor’s in social work (BSW) in 2019, and my master’s in social work (MSW) this past fall. Having my MSW diploma handed to me by a FedEx driver because of COVID-19 made for a pretty anticlimactic end to my educational career, but that doesn’t make it any less meaningful. I’ve learned and grown so much since getting my scholarship! I’ve gained incredible experiences through classwork and field placements learning how to support and empower a wide range of individuals and groups. Right now, I’m officially a registered social worker in the province of Ontario, and my main focus is finding a job. With the support and encouragement I’ve received through NOAH, I’m very hopeful that I’ll find a role where I can use my skills to make the world a better place!


Cassandra Mèndez ~ 2015 Scholarship Recipient

Thanks in part to NOAH and the McGowan Leadership Scholarship, I graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in Computer Science and Engineering in 2019. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure to work as a software engineer for JPMorgan Chase, working to create an accessible experience for English and Spanish-speaking customers with disabilities!


Trisha Laughlin ~ 2019 Scholarship Recipient

I am currently a junior at Simmons University in Boston. I am studying nursing with the hopes of becoming an ICU nurse after I graduate. I also currently work as a patient care assistant in an ICU.


McGowan Scholarship Past Recipients


2019: Where Are They Now?

We caught up with some past recipients of the Michael J. McGowan Leadership Scholarship to get an update on their lives, ask their advice for applicants, and much more! Choose a scholarship recipient below to read their interview:

Silpa Tadavarthy under Temple University BannerCharles - 2012 Scholarship RecipientArielle LewisCassandra MendezLee-Anne ThompsonElizabeth Schafer
Silpa - 2010 RecipientCharles - 2012 RecipientArielle - 2014 RecipientCassandra - 2015 RecipientLee-Anne - 2016 RecipientElizabeth - 2018 Recipient