Rebecca Cornish Scholarship for The Flagship Niagara
ATHENA Erie volunteers Laurie Root, Colleen Moore-Mezler, Rebecca Cornish, and ATHENA Erie Chairperson, Linda Stevenson
Rebecca Cornish was a fierce advocate and volunteer for the ATHENA Erie program who worked in many capacities to support, develop, and honor women leaders. Rebecca passed away in November 2015 after a courageous battle with Pancreatic Cancer. Her memorial funds were contributed to ATHENA Erie and after much deliberating, it was decided that the funds would combine two of Rebecca's greatest philanthropic passions - ATHENA Erie and The Flagship Niagara.
Rebecca, an Erie native and McDowell High School graduate, was always driven to give her best to everything, her friends, family, and work were all touched by her good nature and charismatic personality. She received her Bachelor's degree in Marketing in 1993 as a non-traditional student at Teikyo Post University while working a full-time job at the YMCA. Her career included positions with Partners for Performance, Bay Valley Foods, FMC, Timex, and ultimately her dream job as Business Liaison for former Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper. Rebecca received the 2010 Legacy Award from the Gannon Small Business Development Center at the Women in Leadership Development (WILD) Conference for her dedication and service in mentoring local business owners. Her infectious smile and spirit live on in those lives she touched and through the lives that will be touched by this scholarship program.
The cost to send one student on a two-week sail aboard the U.S. Brig Niagara is $1,500 and we need your help to be able to open this opportunity to more female students in the Erie City School District. If you're interested in contributing to the scholarship fund, please click the blue button at the top or bottom
2017 Rebecca Cornish Scholarship Recipient: Ashley Spencer, Erie High School
Third Mate Sydnee Groenendaal (U.S. Brig Niagara), Linda Stevenson (ATHENA Erie Chairperson), Ashley Spencer (2017 Rebecca Cornish Scholarship recipient), and Captain Billy Sabatini (U.S. Brig Niagara)
Photo Credit: Jennifer White, Acacia Studios
Ashley Spencer, a senior at Erie High School, was selected for the Rebecca Cornish scholarship from a pool of ten all-female applicants from the Erie City School District. The application process included an online form as well as in-person interviews with Captain Billy Sabatini and Third Mate Sydnee Groenendaal. Ashley's experience in Science Club, Student Council, playing softball, taking AP coursework, and maintaining dual enrollment at Gannon University served her well in developing skills she'd need while aboard the Brig.
Ashley sailed with the crew of the U.S. Brig Niagara during their 2017 summer season and said of her experience, "Patience would be one of the skills I learned to admire in the leaders I met. They were so patient with us, and they were never too busy to help us learn something. They never made you feel bad because you didn't know something." Ashley said this experience has helped her develop confidence and leadership skills, both of which will serve her well as she pursues her goals of becoming a Political Science major in college and possibly attending law school.