Katrina Grey, Deborah Beese, Ann McKenzie, Christine Pomerleau, Michaela Ramirez

Ten Sarasota County women received Venice AAUW Scholarships at the annual
Honors Luncheon on Saturday, April 22nd at Jacaranda West Country Club.
This year’s scholarships were the first to be awarded under the newly expanded
Non-Traditional Scholarship program. Under the leadership of Scholarship Committee
co-chairs, Sue Luterbach and Sue Owen, the program’s scope was broadened
to include women who have had a delay pursuing higher education after high
school as well as those whose education was interrupted. It now also includes both
college degrees and certificate programs.

At the luncheon, members had the opportunity to meet and hear the story of each
of these inspiring women who are pursuing advanced education in the face of many

Elizabeth Wright, Theresa McMillan, Tatsiana Korbut, Nathalie Barr, Angeline Koplau

Receiving $2,000 scholarships were:


Nathalie Barr is a former Court Reporter who recognized the need to change careers after seeing how technology changed the need for her profession. The mother of two children, who also works at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, is pursuing a nursing career and hopes to graduate from the State College of Florida with her Bachelor’s Degree in about a year.


Deborah Beese is currently studying for her Bachelor’s Degree in Technology Management while also working full time at Alta Vista Elementary School. She expects to graduate in the summer of 2018. A previous AAUW scholarship recipient in 2014 and 2015, she told luncheon attendees that she “appreciates your investment in me.”


Katrina Grey is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the State College of Florida while also working as an RN on the oncology floor at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. A mother of two, she has a goal of also getting her Master’s Degree and becoming a Nurse Practitioner. Katrina brought her daughter, Vivian, to the luncheon with her, “to show her how important education is.”


Tatsiana Korbut moved to the United States from Belarus in 2013 and has been enrolled at the State College of Florida since 2014. With an interest in the medical field, she has decided to become a pharmacist and hopes to attend either Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine or University of South Florida in 2018. While attending school she also works at Casey Key Fish House.


Angeline Koplau is a student at the State College of Florida who is working to complete an Associate Degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant in 2018. A single mother of four children and proud owner of a Habitat for Humanity home, she was also the recipient of AAUW scholarships in 2015 and 2016. In thanking AAUW members, she said “you have allowed me to better myself and my family.”


Anne McKenzie has a passion for working with children and her goal is to start a daycare and pre-school. A mother of two children, she is pursuing an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education at the State College of Florida with plans to continue at the University of Florida to obtain a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education.


Theresa McMillan is pursuing a degree in English literature while also facing many challenges in her life as a result of a rare congenital birth defect and other physical problems. Theresa told a very touching story of moving beyond what some might consider a disability. She is the author of a children’s book, “I’m Smiling on the Inside,” written to help others understand what it is like to have a disability. She will graduate in spring 2018. Theresa hopes to continue her education to obtain a graduate degree in Creative Writing.


Christine Pomerleau attended Manatee Community College (now State College of Florida) in 1998 and graduated in 2004 with an Associate’s Degree. The mother of two children, who works full-time at Venice High School, is now returning to school to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with the goal of becoming a teacher.


Michaela Ramirez loves everything about the water and while working at Marina Jacks for the past nine years has attained her captain’s license. Currently enrolled at State College of Florida, this mother of a young daughter said she was “incredibly honored” to be a scholarship recipient. Michaela has a long-term goal of becoming a marine biologist.


Elizabeth Wright is on a path toward her goal of a career in the medical field with a particular interest in nutrition and global health. A mother of four children, she hopes to graduate from the State College of Florida in spring 2018. These competitive scholarships were funded with a significant contribution of proceeds from the very successful Home Tour in early February.