As students spend hours scouring the internet for scholarship opportunities, there are many local and national programs to aid in covering costs for education. Senior Abigail Bluvas was able to earn scholarships and learn valuable skills through the Distinguished Young Women Program. Bluvas initially found out about the program through her friend Hanna Pohlman who inspired her through her experience with DYW. Pohlman participated in the contest in July of 2018 and ended up receiving a full ride scholarship to the University of Alabama. “I decided to take part in Distinguished Young Women because it is a national scholarship program that promotes leadership and talent in young women, and rewards scholarships,” Bluvas said
The program starts off at the state and local level with many contestants, as the levels rise, fewer contestants stand. In March of 2021, Bluvas found out that she had qualified for the at-large program. This program was hosted over a weekend beginning July 9. That Friday night, Bluvas was placed with a host family that she would spend two days and nights with for a positive experience. The host families all have either had a daughter who has participated in the program or they have participated themselves. Bluvas was placed with the Venteicher family, parents of Brooklyn Venteicher ’15 who participated in DYW.
During the weekend Bluvas participated in a day-long workshop on public speaking and interview skills. “I definitely have learned a lot from this experience and hope to utilize these skills in the future,” Bluvas said. Throughout the process, contestants are judged on self expression by being asked questions in front of an audience. Bluvas was asked about her past volunteer experience and how that impacted her as a person. Bluvas answered by speaking about her fulfilling experience at camp Monroe Meyer, a day camp for children with disabilities, where she has volunteered for the past five summers.
At the end of the weekend-long program, there was a public closing ceremony for parents to watch. Girls got to see all of their hard work throughout the program pay off when they found out what scholarships they won during the ceremony. Bluvas was awarded scholarships to Arizona State University, Ohio University, and several other universities throughout the country. The scholarships she received ranged from $1,000 to $12,000 a year. “I will keep all of these scholarships in mind during my college search process,” Bluvas said.
“The atmosphere was very positive and we formed a sisterhood over the weekend,” Bluvas said. Through creating a positive environment for young women, the program helps girls succeed while forming lasting bonds with each other. Bluvas plans to keep in touch with all seven of the other girls in the program.
To apply for the DYW program visit distinguishedyw.org.