The Regional Chamber of Commerce Foundation at New Paltz proudly awarded $3,000 in Scholarships and Special Merit Awards at the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce’s June Business Luncheon on June 20, 2012, held at the Terrace Restaurant, SUNY New Paltz. The featured speaker at the event was SUNY New Paltz President Don Christian. The event was sponsored by Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union. Scholarship and Award recipients were: Jessica Ridgeway ($1,000 Joyce Minard Scholarship); Kristin Branche ($1,000 General Scholarship); Kathryn Owens ($500 Joyce Minard Special Merit Award); and John Paul Heyl de Ortiz ($500 General Special Merit Award).
A 2012 Graduate of SUNY New Paltz with a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Geochemistry, inaugural Joyce Minard Scholarship winner Jessica Ridgeway enters the graduate world with a diversity of experience and interests, as well as a dedication to volunteerism in Ulster County. In addition to her management position at Tantillo’s Farm Market, Jessica is an active member of the Village of New Paltz Environmental Conservation Commission, where she currently serves as Volunteer Coordinator for the “Food Not Lawns” project. Jessica plans to attend Bard College to pursue an MBA with a concentration in Sustainability.
After graduating from SUNY Brockport in 2005 with a Communications degree, 2012 General Scholarship winner Kristin Branche spent 6 years searching for her ideal career path before she settled upon School Counseling as her vocation. In order to pursue her goal, Kristin applied and as accepted to the Master of Science, School Counseling program at SUNY New Paltz in 2011. She has completed two semesters toward her MS, including an internship at Hamilton Bicentennial Elementary School in Port Jervis, while continuing her work as Assistant Manager at Fox and Hound Wine & Spirits.
A current student at SUNY New Paltz, Joyce Minard Special Merit Award winner Kathryn Owens has always been dedicated to improving circumstances for those around her through community involvement. Her volunteer work at Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice introduced her to her mentors, the Festival founders, and opened her eyes to the impact a few dedicated people can make on a whole community. Her experience with the Festival, as well as with her parents’ small business, Excel Auto Glass, sparked her interest in pursuing a business degree.
General Special Merit Award winner John Paul Heyl de Ortiz is a 2012 graduate of New Paltz High School this spring, where he successfully completed all required coursework, and participated in Junior Varsity Soccer through 11th grade, and participated in Varsity Track and Field for all four years. In John-Paul’s volunteer work with Ulster County YMCA, he became a mentor to younger groups, especially kids who were a little different, or came from tougher homes. This fall, he will attend SUNY Delhi, where he will pursue an AOS in Automotive Technology.