Organization for Autism Research

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press release


ARLINGTON, VA - OAR takes great pleasure in announcing the recipients of the Schwallie Family Scholarships for 2011. Each of this year’s 22 winners will receive a $3,000 scholarship for the next academic year. OAR makes awards in three categories:

  • Students attending a four-year college
  • Students attending a two-year college
  • Students attending a vocational/technical school that leads to a certification

To be eligible, an applicant must have an autism diagnosis; be accepted for enrollment in the Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 semesters; and submit a personal essay along with the application form.

This was the first year OAR utilized an online application format. The ease of this new system facilitated a record-breaking 415 applications. Nine of the recipients will study at a four-year college, 10 will pursue a two-year degree, and three will attend a vocational, technical, or trade school.

The 2011 Schwallie Family Scholarship recipients are:

Four-year undergraduate studies

  • Greta Elle Bortfeld, Pennsylvania State University
  • Desmond Gonzalez, University of Tampa
  • Brittney Aisha Griggs, Concordia University
  • Alexander John Kolva, Johnson State College
  • Joseph Edward Lawrence, Wayne State University
  • Jeannette Reyes-Fournier, Humbolt State University
  • Drew Steward Steinbach, Tulane University
  • Jacob N. Tench, Western NM University
  • Charles James Vickers, Hastings College

Two-year undergraduate studies

  • Samantha Conceicao, Community College of Rhode Island
  • Geoffrey Daniels, Community College of Philadelphia
  • Jess M. Elizondo, Treasure Valley Community College
  • Ryan Paul Gehman, Hesston College
  • Mychal V. Hicks, Lawson State Community College
  • Travis Long, Landmark College
  • David Alexander Marshall, College of DuPage
  • Gavin Rapport, Mercer County Community College
  • Matthew Ross Schnitzer, Brookdale Community College
  • Jake Yardas, Ivy Tech Community College

Trade, technical or vocational school

  • Brandon Hoefer, Waukesha County Technical College
  • Alex Stout, Louisiana Culinary Institute
  • Jared A. Ulsberger, Bates Technical College

Congratulations to each of the winners and the parents and teachers who contributed to their development and success along the way!

The Schwallie Family Scholarship program, now in its fifth year, is the inspiration of OAR Board member Ed Schwallie, his wife, Marge, and the Schwallie family. Since its inception in 2007, OAR has awarded $178,500 in scholarships to 55 individuals with autism.

In addition to thanking the Schwallies, OAR is also grateful to Hussman, chair of the Scholarship Review Committee, who had the most difficult job of reviewing and then narrowing down over 400 well-deserving applicants.

OAR sends a special “thank you” to Lisa Hussman, the Lisa Higgins-Hussman Foundation, and the Schwallie Family Foundation whose donations allowed OAR to once again raise the number of scholarships offered in 2011 to 22. Another thanks goes to the Somerville Council of the New Jersey Knights of Columbus for supporting the scholarship recipient from New Jersey.

OAR hopes that the number of awards given each year will continue to increase as awareness and support for this program grows. Donations to the program are welcome.

For students interested in applying for a Schwallie Family Scholarship next year, guidelines are posted on OAR’s Web site. The application will be available in January 2012.