The recipients of this year’s AAFSW Merit Scholarships were honored at the 2017 Youth Awards Ceremony of the Foreign Service Youth Foundation (FSYF), on Friday, July 7, 2017 at the State Department’s William Burns Auditorium in the George C. Marshall Center.
Winners of the FSYF Art Contest, Essay Contest, KidVid Contest, and Welcome Home Video Contest, presented by John Naland, FSYF President, were recognized during the ceremony. The winning artwork was displayed in the lobby and through slideshows, and the winning videos ran in the lobby for all to see. The FSYF Academic Merit Award and Community Service Award winners were honored, as well as a special Foreign Service Youth Advocacy Award, given to longtime FSYF Board Member, Peter Wood.
Included in the printed program was a letter from the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “commending the resilient children of the foreign service community for being a part of the people-to-people connections that draw countries together and in many ways also serving our country as young diplomats.” Deputy Assistant Secretary Connie Dierman from the Bureau of Human Resources gave the keynote speech.
Winners of the AFSA Merit awards were also announced at the ceremony. Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, AFSA President, along with Lori Dec, was on hand to present their scholarships to dependents of AFSA members. One of the most prestigious AFSA Awards went to Alice Naland, daughter of FSYF President, John Naland, and AAFSW Office Manager, Barbara Reioux. Alice graduated from Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia and she is currently attending UCLA. Alice Naland was awarded a CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Academic Merit Award. Congratulations to Alice and her family from all of us at AAFSW!
AAFSW Scholarship Chair, Sherry Barndollar Rock, along with Dr. Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, AAFSW President, presented four AAFSW Merit Awards, each carrying a substantial prize. AAFSW Merit Scholarship winner, Joshua Smith Sreen, was recognized for his academic pursuits at Boston University, where he majors in Biology and is also pursuing a minor in International Relations. Following university training, he hopes to pursue a career in global public health. Also recognized as an AAFSW Merit Scholar is Rachel Oghenetefe Edwards. Ms. Edwards is also a student at Boston University, where she majors in Sociology with a double minor in African American Studies and English. The AAFSW Judy Felt Memorial Volunteerism Scholarship winner, Katherine Mauldin, was recognized for her volunteer work over many years, and currently as a student intern for 57 Miles: Perry County Partnership and as an Honors College Ambassador, as well as her role as a resident advisor for Presidential Village II. AAFSW Best Essay Award winner, Samir Fierro, was recognized for his well-written essay in which he described his unique situation when his father joined the Foreign Service when he was almost out of high school and the challenges he faced with such a sudden shift in life when his father was sent abroad.
Congratulations to all the 2017 winners!
Congratulations to our 2017 AAFSW Merit Awards! And, congratulations to John Naland, FSYF President, for a great Youth Awards Ceremony!
Sherry Barndollar Rock
AAFSW Scholarship Committee Chair
Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, PhD