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SCVNews.com | Local Young Women Receive Scholarships from Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley | 05-15-2017
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S.C.V. History
July 24
1864 - Walker/Reynier family patriarch Jean Joseph Reynier, then 15, arrives in Sand Canyon from France; eventually homesteads 1,200 acres [story]

Young Women in Public Affairs winners are flanked by committee co-chairs Gloria Mercado-Fortine (l) and Mary Ann Dortch (r).Mary Gooneratne (2nd from l) will represent the local Zonta Club in District 9 competition. Runners-up include Sabrina Pin (ct.) and Joyce Kim (2nd from r). All three received cash awards and Zonta’s signature yellow roses at the recent annual awards program.
Photo by Terry Hoard, Crown Photos

Four local young women are sharing $4,000 in scholarships offered by Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley, and two of them are in line for even more scholarship money to be awarded by Zonta International’s District 9 and Zonta’s international program.

Clarissa Amelia Michael is this year’s winner of the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship and Mary Gooneratne received the Young Women in Public Affairs Award locally. Both applications have been forward to Zonta’s District 9 for further competition. In addition. Joyce Kim and Sabrina Pin accepted cash awards as runners-up in the YWIPA competition locally and Marianne Gaviara, last year’s Klausman winner at the local and District 9 levels, was saluted for moving forward in the regional competition.

Co-chairs Cheryl Wasserman and Karla Edwards presented the 2017 Jane M. Klausman awards, and Phyllis Walker, 2016 JMK Committee chair, presented the District 9 winner from last year. Co-chairs Gloria Mercado Fortine and Mary Ann Dortch presented the Young Women in Public Affairs awards.

Michael is 20 years old, was born in Glendale, and raised in Canyon Country. She currently is working on a bachelor’s degree in accounting from College of the Canyons and Santa Ana College and will receive her master’s degree from Loyola Marymount University in 2020. She is taking an accelerated three-year program at LMU which places her on track to become a Certified Public Accountant. She currently works as a bookkeeper for a Santa Clarita business and hopes to accept an internship in a “Big 4” firm once she completes her studies. In addition to her studies, she is actively involved locally in an interesting variety of volunteer work.

Clarissa has received $2,000 from the local Zonta Club, and her application has been forwarded to District 9, where she could win an additional $1,000. The district winner’s application will go on to Zonta International, where 12 women will be chosen to win an additional $7,000.

The top Young Women in Public Affairs award was granted to Gooneratne, a senior at Hart High School. She expressed a desire to work in government and hopes to use a college education to pursue a cybersecurity-oriented career with the National Security Agency. Her dream is eventually to enroll in law school and then direct her cybersecurity career toward foreign intelligence and policy.

Ranking at the top of her class academically, Mary served as president of her high school speech and debate team for two years and as vice president of the Key Club. She was an active volunteer in the last presidential election campaign and personally helped raise thousands of dollars for her candidate. She is concerned about issues that impact women such as equal pay, forced marriages, female genital mutilation and female literacy around the world.

She received $1,000 as the local winner and is eligible for another $1,000 if she is selected as the District 9 winner. That winner will go on to international competition, where 10 young women will receive $4,000 each.

Runner-up Joyce Kim is a senior at Golden Valley High School, where she is studying international relations and political science. She aspires to become a diplomat or ambassador. As yearbook editor in chief, she instituted a cultural spread, interviewing students from different countries and highlighting their cultures and traditions. She worked on a City Council election campaign and was happy to see a woman running for higher office.

Also a runner-up is Sabrina Pin, also a Hart High School senior. She is interested in pursuing a career in public service or politics, and hopes to obtain a law degree. She intends to study public policy with a minor in computer science at Duke University. Throughout her high school years, she has been involved in Associated Student Body, California Girls State, swim, and the speech and debate team. She also was involved with the California YMCA Youth and Government, a model legislature and court program. In her junior year, she interned for the State Assemblyman, listening and responding to constituent concerns.

Sabrina’s involvement in speech and debate, particularly in Public Forum debate, has sparked her interest in international relations. She has debated everything from foreign involvement in Iran to development aid in sub-Saharan Africa.

Zonta Club of SCV awarded a total of $16,500 in grants and scholarships at its annual Awards Night program recently at Embassy Suites Hotel. The event drew a room full of award recipients, family, friends and Zontians.

Phyllis Walker (l), 2016 Jane M. Klausman Scholarship Committee chair for Zonta Club of SCV, introduces Marianna Gaviara, the club’s 2016 winner, who also was selected as Zonta International’s District 9 winner. She received certificates from Los Angeles County and the City of Santa Clarita for her achievement.
Photo by Terry Hoard, Crown Photos

Clarissa Amelia Michael (ctr) receives her plaque as winner of the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship from Zonta co-chairs Karla Edwards (l) and Cheryl Wasserman (r). She will represent the local club in Zonta International District 9 competition for 2017.
Photo by Terry Hoard, Crown Photos

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