Four young women awarded Athena scholarships

Four young women awarded Athena scholarships

The 2022 Athena Scholarship Fund recipients, from left, Monica Romero, Vanessa Montemurri, Aliyah King and Hannah Lebedyk are shown on Friday, November 18, 2022 at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts.
The 2022 Athena Scholarship Fund recipients, from left, Monica Romero, Vanessa Montemurri, Aliyah King and Hannah Lebedyk are shown on Friday, November 18, 2022 at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Four standout female academics whose exceptional community accomplishments supporting girls and women earned them prestigious recognition were honoured at the 23rd annual Athena Scholarship Luncheon on Friday.

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Post-secondary students Hannah Lebedyk, Aliyah King, Vanessa Montemurri, and Monica Romero each received $5,000 scholarships during the program’s event at the St. Clair College Centre for the Arts on Friday.

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“I’m in total awe of what they’ve been able to accomplish in such a little time period and what their future holds,” said Windsor Regional Hospital president and CEO David Musyj, the luncheon’s guest speaker.  “Their community efforts are truly breathtaking.”

Criteria for the scholars include those who excel academically, exhibit extensive community involvement, serve as outstanding leaders, and also help girls and women to achieve a better quality of life and reach their full potential as leaders.

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Aliyah King completed three years of a bachelor of science degree in behaviour, cognition, and neuroscience at the Unviersity of Windsor, and she commenced her medical doctorate at the University of Ottawa in September. She advocates for the Bulimia Anorexia and Nervosa Association and the Canadian Mental Health Association, helps lead a healthy lifestyle initiative for girls in Grades 7 and 8 called Girls in Motion, and helps run weekly recreational ice skating lessons at both the University of Windsor and St. Clair College.

“There are so many women who inspire me with their strength and courage,” King said. “I hope that other individuals, especially young girls, will see themselves in me, Monica, Vanessa, and Hannah, and that will ignite their hope and belief in themselves.”

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Hannah Lebedyk is currently in her final year of graphic design at St. Clair College. She has been an in-school mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex since 2019, has served as a music tutor at Cardinal Carter Catholic Secondary School, and has volunteered with girls at Moments for Moms Childcare.

Vanessa Montemurri completed a bachelor of science in biology at the University of Windsor and is now in her third year in the doctor of medicine program at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine Windsor campus. She founded the Women in STEM seminar at Schulich to mentor female undergraduate students, and her community involvement includes creating the Child Poverty Project to research and combat the high rate of child poverty in Windsor.

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Monica Romero is in her final year at the University of Windsor in the joint law and master of social work program. During her time at Windsor Law, she has served clients through her role as senior caseworker at Community Legal Aid and the Family Law Project at Pro Bono Students Canada. She also founded a chapter of Amnesty International at Windsor Law and continues to serve as president.

The scholarships began in 1999, with the philosophy that “by elevating people with potential and solid values, they will be exceptional role models and inspire others to achieve excellence,” according to the scholarship’s website. Recipients “must be interested in increasing leadership opportunities for women, enhancing the quality of life in their community, mentoring, team building, and pursuing diversity.”

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The awards are funded through charitable donations.

The program awards four scholarships annually to one student from St. Clair College, one from the University of Windsor, one from the University of Windsor’s faculty of law, and one from any college or university attended by a student who has spent a significant period of time in Windsor and Essex County.

Applications for the scholarship will reopen in January. Those interested can visit

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