2014 SADF Scholarship Winners

Stanley Ann Dunham 2014 Scholarship Winners

On May 3, 2014, Mercer Island High School graduating seniors Ellena Jones (on left) and Rachel Gallagher were each awarded $5,000 scholarships at the fifth annual Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Award Ceremony  at the Mercer Island Community and Events Center. Each year, the Fund recognizes outstanding MIHS female graduating students who demonstrate Stanley Ann Dunham’s commitment to academic achievement, serving marginalized communities, and empowering women around the world.   

Rachel Gallagher began volunteering as a sophomore to help children with special needs after reading an inspiring article about a Mercer Island organization called Friendship Circle of Washington. Realizing the stigma surrounding the special needs students at MIHS, she decided to create "Lunch Buddies" to ensure that these students have companions to eat with at lunch. Her knowledge and passion deepened after she spent a summer at Seattle Children’s Hospital researching autism and assisting patients and their families. Her plans for the future include Carleton College and then medical school where she hopes to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by autism. In her own words, “The marginalizing impact of autism makes it my goal to return to Seattle Children’s someday as a psychiatrist. As I take the next steps towards this dream…I will emulate Stanley Ann by dedicating myself to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by autism.”

Stanley Ann Dunham speakerEllena Jones has developed an independence and self-advocacy discipline that has guided her through her life. She has held numerous positions of responsibility in her volunteering activities with Mercer Island Youth and Family Services, Natural Helpers, and Seattle Music Partners in addition to an excellent academic record. According to her high school guidance counselor, Ellena epitomizes perseverance and strength in the midst of adversity. She has proven to be a natural leader in her musical pursuits as well, acting as section leader and playing saxophone in the Jazz Ensemble. Ellena plans to major in social work in college. “I want to empower others in the way I have had to motivate myself to overcome poverty, foster care and homelessness. I hope to be that mother figure for others, especially children, living in difficult situations.”

Photo to the right: 2014 Guest speaker Vulcan Productions Senior producer Hilary Sparrow 

Our guest speakers this year were  “Girl Rising” senior producer Hilary Sparrow of Vulcan Productions and 2001 Mercer Island Alum Sarah Grausz.  

Ms Sparrow is also Director of Production on projects for the Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, Smithsonian Channel, and the.National Geographic Channel where she managed productions in nearly every corner of the globe including Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. 

SaraSarah Grausz has built a career in international development, designing and implementing programs to improve bi-lateral relations between the U.S. and developing countries She offered three valuable tips for graduating seniors:”…First I want to talk about role models. Of the applicants here today, how many of you have a role model? For President Obama, his mother and grandmother were his role models, and their worldliness and empathy broadened his horizons and shaped his philosophy. Read more: 

Below: Twelve graduating senior women at Mercer Island High School were honored for outstanding service and academic achievement at our 2014 scholarship award ceremony. (from left): Rachel Gallagher and Ellena Jones (Scholarship winners), Caroline Anne Kasman, Ilana Kleiner-Kanter, Sydney Lopes, Natalie Ricklefs, Megan Ingram, Rachel VanGelder and Mary Wingerson (Latrevian Saunders, Megan Ingram and Anna Brosius were not able to attend).






Scholarship Awards Ceremony is set for May 3, 2014

Stanley Ann Dunham Foundation Girl Rising Film ScreeningThe Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund’s 5th Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony is set for May 3, 2014 at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center. The program will begin at 1pm and is open to the public.
Our guest speaker this year is Hilary Sparrow, Executive Producer of Vulcan Productions’ feature film, Girl Rising. The scholarship ceremony will be followed by a screening of the film and a Q&A with Sparrow.
Per the Mercer Island Reporter:

"The Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund’s  5th Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony is set for May 3 at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center. The program will begin at 1 p.m. (doors open at 12:40 p.m.), and is open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The scholarship presentation will be followed at 2 p.m, by a screening of the groundbreaking documentary film “Girl Rising.” Narrated by Meryl Streep, Ann Hathaway and others, the film tells the stories of nine girls in developing countries who overcome nearly impossible odds to pursue their dreams of education and bettering their lives.

Vulcan Productions Senior Producer Hilary Sparrow will introduce the film and hold a Q&A after the film. This portion of the program is a fundraiser for the SADSF, and a small donation is suggested. The Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund was founded in 2010 to honor Stanley Ann Dunham, a 1960 graduate of Mercer Island High School. The mother of President Barack Obama, devoted her life to the social and economic development and empowerment of women world-wide.

Since its inception, the Scholarship fund has awarded $5,000 college scholarships each year to outstanding graduating senior women at MIHS who have demonstrated a commitment to Stanley Ann’s values of social activism, global citizenship, and the empowerment of women through education and service.

The SADSF Board would like to thank the Mercer Island Community Fund for their generous grant to the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund to help fund the costs of this year’s program.

Contact dunhamscholarship@gmail.com for more information."




2014 Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Application Period Open

The 2014 Scholarship Application and guidelines are now available for download here.

Every year, the Scholarship Fund awards $5,000 college scholarships to young women leaders of Mercer Island High School who demonstrate a passion and commitment to the values and goals embodied in the life and work of Stanley Ann Dunham who was the mother of President Barack Obama and a 1960 graduate of Mercer Island High School. 

About Our 2013 Scholarship Winners

(Photo: 2013 Scholars Sara Bahn, left, and Hannah Frisch, right are congratulated by Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, center)
Mercer Island Reporter Contributor
April 29, 2013 · 4:52 PM
Two outstanding Mercer Island High School seniors were awarded $5,000 college scholarships at the fourth annual Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Award Ceremony on April 20, which featured guest speaker Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, sister of President Barack Obama and daughter of 1960 Mercer Island High School graduate Stanley Ann Dunham. Mayor Bruce Bassett and Deputy Mayor Dan Grausz addressed a full house at the Community Center, opening the event with a proclamation welcoming Dr. Soetoro-Ng as an honorary Islander.
The Scholarship Fund annually recognizes a MIHS graduating female who demonstrates Stanley Ann Dunham’s commitment to academic achievement, global service and empowering women.

About Our 2012 Scholarship Winner

(Photo: 2012 Scholar Suzanne Gaber, center, is congratulated by Board members Dayna Cole, left, and Tony Nugent, right)

The Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship recipient for 2012 is Suzanne Gaber. She wonderfully personifies Stanley Ann’s ideal of “encouraging young women to dream big and to be fearless in the pursuit of adventure and knowledge.”

 Suzanne, a first-generation Egyptian-American committed to intercultural understanding, is pursuing studies at American University in Washington DC to become a Middle East correspondent.
At the Scholarship Reception this year, Jessica Lind-Diamond (MIHS ’03), Development Director of Yes! Magazine, was our MIHS alumni speaker. She shared invaluable wisdom about how ‘learning to adapt’ made all the difference in her life.

About Our 2011 Scholarship Winner

(Photo: 2011 Scholor Kyle Wunderlin)

Senior Kyle Wunderlin was chosen Thursday night from 13 applicants in a reception sponsored by the Board of Directors of the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund at the Mercer Island Presbyterian Church. Wunderlin was awarded a $5,000 scholarship named in honor of the MIHS alumna, who is best known as President Barack Obama's mother but was a noted cultural anthropologist in her own right. Wunderlin said the scholarship will be put to good use in the pre-architectural program at the University of Michigan.

Each applicant was honored at Thursday's reception and received a copy of A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother, the recently published book on Dunham's life signed by author Janny Scott.

About Our 2010 Scholarship Winners

(Photo: 2010 Scholars Emma Thompson, back row-second from the right, Kristine Fu, back row-first on the left, Khia Johnson, back row-second from the left)

Maybe it’s something in the water — or just being surrounded by it — that makes Mercer Island such a unique place. Alice Dewey, Ph.D., hammered home that point at the first annual Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund awards Wednesday afternoon. Dewey, an anthropologist and friend, mentor and graduate adviser of Stanley Ann Dunham, the mother of President Barak Obama, called Mercer Island “the damnedest place I’ve ever been,” citing the amount of community support, scholarship and bountiful opportunities available for youth.

“I understand Ann now better because she grew up with people who cared and did something about it,” she said of Dunham, a 1960 Mercer Island High School graduate. “She faced challenges with pleasure.” A group of MIHS alumni kick-started the scholarship in honor of their late classmate’s legacy as “someone who was ahead of her time in feeling a part of a global community.”