Congratulations to Mary Padilla, who has been selected as the recipient of the ExxonMobil Women’s Empowerment Scholarship for 2014! The $10,000 scholarship developed out of ExxonMobil Alaska’s pivotal role in the first Alaska Women’s Summit which convened on the APU campus in October of 2013 to address challenges facing Alaskan women today and to seek ways to enhance women’s standard of living statewide.
The one-time, non-renewable scholarship was open to female students enrolled as either full-time undergraduate or part-time graduate students in any program of study at APU. In order to qualify for the scholarship, applicants were required to hold a GPA of 3.5 or higher and submit an essay that demonstrated a passion for learning and community.
Padilla, who will complete her Bachelor’s degree in K-8 Education this year, has been working full-time as a Youth Development Tutor under the Anchorage School District’s Title VII Indian Education Program, providing academic assistance to Alaska Native and American Indian students who are below proficiency in reading, writing and math. Padilla also provides her students with cultural enrichment by organizing Alaska Native and American Indian volunteers to come into the classroom and share their experiences through the arts, oral story-telling and demonstrations.
“It is vital that these students are exposed to their culture and are proud of who they are,” she says. “I feel the responsibility to instill the passion for learning in others, just as it was in me. I love seeing the sparkle within the students when they share their experiences and dreams for the future with me.”
After graduation, Padilla plans to work as a teacher in the Anchorage School District. She will speak at this year’s Alaska Women’s Summit at the University of Alaska Anchorage on October 16th through the 18th.