women speak is proud to announce its 2017 scholarship program:

the unsung heroine award

**DEADLINE extension to august 20, 2017**

This year, Women SPEAK wants to recognize the contributions of under-recognized women who do incredible work in helping create, maintain, and sustain the communities of our world. Women SPEAK will award up to 6 scholarship awards in the amount of $250 USD to women of any age who are “unsung heroines” in their schools and/or communities.

Our favorite definition of an “unsung heroine” is by the Massachusetts Commission of Women who defines it as: “women who don’t always make the news, but truly make the difference. They are the women who use their time, talent and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others and make a difference in their neighborhoods, cities, [schools], and towns. They are mentors, volunteers and innovators who do what needs to be done without expectations of recognition or gratitude. These women are the glue that keeps a community together and every community has them.” 



Nominations can describe the unsung heroine in any way -- essay, art, video, photography, etc. To honor, recognize, and thank the unsung heroines of our community, all completed nominations/applications will be featured on our website regardless of being a scholarship or not.

2016 scholarship Winners


Erin gaffney

Erin Gaffney considers herself not just a feminist, but also a humanist, and finds that Women SPEAK aligns closely with her philosophy. Apart from feminism, her interests include playing piano for her church’s contemporary services, running cross-country, reading, and writing novels. She’s proud to say what she loves to do has hardly been hampered by the traumatic brain injury she suffered at the beginning of 2015, and she hopes her story can be used to give strength to many. Among her “recovery strongholds” are her 4 siblings and their children, her parents, and her friends from church.


Ashley Abing

Ashley Abing is an incoming junior and AP student at St. Lucy’s Priory High School. She enjoys art, playing the piano, and tennis. She believes in the equality of all people and their intersections and that sexism and patriarchy are the primary causes for the lack of female leadership. At St. Lucy’s, Ashley is the President for KIWINS, and is a member of the Science Team, Science Club, Social Issues Club, and tennis team. Ashley is an NYLSC Scholar and spent last summer as the Program Coordinator’s Assistant and volunteer leader for MissionSTEM, where she helped seventh grade girls become aware of gender inequality and pursue interests in STEM fields. This summer, she is interning at the University of California, Los Angeles through the Department of Radiation Oncology, as she aspires to become a scientist and advocate for women’s rights.

Frances song

Frances Song is a rising senior at Diamond Bar High School. As an ambitious student and a woman of color, she is deeply committed to advocating for women’s rights and social justice and plans on taking her passions a step further by pursuing an education in sociology and communications. Ultimately, Frances dreams of a career in law, public policy, or foreign affairs and hopes to dedicate herself to a lifetime of fighting for equality. She’s working towards this goal one step at a time: for now, she serves on her school’s Mock Trial team, interns for Girls, Inc., and is researching gender and sexuality at Pomona College. Career aspirations aside, Frances is a huge music lover and bookworm, and when she’s not fighting the patriarchy, you can find her curled up with a good Toni Morrison novel and her constantly-evolving Spotify study playlist. 


Claire Cassetta

Claire Cassetta is a 16 year old junior at St. Lucy's Priory High School. She plays an active role in both her community and her school. Over the past two years, Claire has dedicated 200 hours to the Pomona Valley Hospital Junior Volunteer program where she assisted families and their loved ones who were in the hospital. In addition, she volunteers at her church, St. Paul the Apostle. For the past four years Claire has participated in the holiday food drives and the annual Vacation Bible Study for young kids. Claire is ASB Secretary, as well as a Regent Ambassador and a member of the journalism staff. She is a motivated and sincere young woman with big dreams


Wendolyn sims-rucker

Wendolyn Sims-Rucker originated from the south suburbs of Chicago, a rising junior scholar at Loyola Marymount University while pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre. She is involved in numerous campus organizations such as: Resident Housing Association, Campus Ministry, Ralph Bunche Global Diversity Initiative, and KLMU radio station. Additionally, Wendolyn participated in Ignacio Companions Immersion trip to El Salvador in spring 2014, and Alternative Break trip to Louisiana and Mississippi in spring 2015. Wendolyn has an intense passion for fine arts, while seeking to incorporate social injustices into theatrical performances through dramaturgy and ethnography research. Wendolyn receives inspiration to express her talents through her writing and performances with narratives from her domestic and international travels, from various community interactions while subsequently, learning firsthand of individual’s harrying experiences. 


A rising sophomore at Penn, Claire has interests in varying fields that allow her to recognize the societal and professional role of women. Her interest in women’s health encourage her to understand the underlying societal reasons for certain medical cases. At the same time, her fascination with the advancements of technology allows her to be exposed to an amazing network of women who rise above gender stereotypes. Through these two interests, she is inspired by the strength of women and hopes to make an impact so that others may realize the same. To quote one of her favorite shows, "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," she believes “females are strong as hell!”