AAUW awards $10,800 to six women for educational scholarships


The Walla Walla Branch of American Association of University Women awarded $10,800 to six women for educational scholarships.

Recipients were chosen based on a desire to resume their education after a lapse of a year or more, financial need and academic excellence.

Recipients were from Walla Walla, Burbank and Milton-Freewater.

Mariah Jausoro started college in 2007. She researched and shadowed several career paths and fields of study. After a year away from school and several years of volunteer experience in classroom settings, she is ready to pursue an intensive one-year, cohort-based program at Washington State University to complete her masters in teaching with added coursework to obtain a middle-level science endorsement. The endorsement will allow her to teach science up to the eighth grade.

Sonja Gooding’s dream of attending college in 2000 was cut short when life challenges took priority. After years as an insurance agent and raising a young family, she resumed her studies in 2009. She’s nearing her final year in pursuit of a bachelor’s in accounting at Walla Walla University. She plans to pursue a CPA license and eventually a master’s in accounting to become a certified fraud examiner. She expects to put her Spanish language skills to good use in her accounting practice.

Teresa McKeiran graduated in 1980 with an associate degree in agribusiness and production ag from Spokane Community College. She married in 1982 and in 1985 became full-time caregiver for her family, including raising three children. She volunteered for her children’s activities and school, was a Cub Scout leader, Boy Scout committee secretary and committee chairwoman. She spent many years as a member of Catholic Family and Child Services’ board of directors. She taught religious education and was religious education director. She helps with fundraising for Catholic Family and Child Services. In the trucking company she started with her husband, she served as vice president, treasurer and bookkeeper until 2013. She now works part time while attending Columbia Basin College full time. She is on the honor roll and a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She plans to complete her accounting degree in December.

Zora Herndon became an accounting student in 2012 at Blue Mountain Community College. Previously a student at WWCC, she quit to support herself and two young children. She’s gained a zest for education and credits BMCC for her success in academics and a love of self and sense of accomplishment. She’s balanced two jobs, a family, including six children and new marriage. She somehow manages all these and has time for church activities, coaching her children’s sporting events and fundraising. Dedicated to her education, she is a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and holds a 4.0 grade-point average.

Jillian Spurlock’s dream of earning a nursing degree from WWCC was interrupted by several life-changing events. A medical diagnosis forced her to withdraw from school to care for her mother until her death in November 2013. She now supports her children in their school and sports activities and plans to earn a licensed practical nursing degree from WWCC this year and work toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies/education in 2006, Caitlin Sampson has worked in nonprofit community development and wilderness adventure travel in volunteer and paid roles. From the wilds of Oregon to impoverished areas of East Africa, she has lived a life of dedication and found a passion for emergency medicine and multicultural learning. She became an EMT and is now heading to Stony Brook (N.Y.) University for the accelerated BSN program with a plan to continue to her MSN and ultimately pursue nurse practitioner credentials. Given her pursuit of a science field of study, Caitlin received the Dr. Linda Gunshefski Scholarship from the doctor herself. Gunshefski is investing in a personal way in Caitlin’s pursuit of a health care career, according to the release.

AAUW Scholarship Committee co-chairwomen Debbie Dumont and Cherie Bernave acknowledged fellow branch members who worked on the Kitchen Tour and Book Sale, which make funding for these scholarships possible. A committee of five is responsible for reading and scoring scholarship applications.

The Walla Walla High School freshman softball team finished its season undefeated, according to William LaPier. They played 20 games, including preseason jamborees, two games each against Pendleton and Prescott, and conference doubleheaders. Team members are Mattie Johnson, Maya Fogg, Kylie Peterson, Meryssa O’Neel, Abby LaPier, Jessie Eastman, Selena Atkinson, Emma Sweet, Karlie Broxson, Emily Pedraza and Jacqueline Conklin. Josie Sweet served as manager along with coaches Gina Eggers and Nicole Riggs. “The girls practiced hard and played well,” William said.


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