WAYNE, NJ — The Greater Wayne chapter of the American Association of University Women has chosen two deserving women to receive $2,500 in scholarships to help their continuing education.

“This year we received 17 applications from qualified, motivated women who were each making sacrifices to earn a college degree,” explained the President of the Greater Wayne chapter of AAUW, Lorraine LaShell.

From these 17 applications, Hannah Retamero Cid and Michele Bodden were chosen as this year’s recipients.

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“Both Hannah and Michele had to overcome significant obstacles to getting an education,” said LaShell. “Michele lost her husband to a tragic car accident in 2017 and became a single mother of two daughters, one diagnosed with bipolar disorder.”

According to LaShell, Bodden’s mother, her only relative in the US, then passed away in 2019. Despite her difficult situation, Bodden knew she had to get an education, so she could support her family. 

“Michele’s goal is to become a social worker and get a job in an area where she can make a difference in someone's life,” added LaShell.

Retamero Cid is currently a student at Rutger’s University, Newark. This is her second time attending a university, but the first in the U.S.

“Hannah was born in Venezuela where she pursued her higher education and was accepted to the faculty at the Central University of Venezuela,” LaShell told TAPinto. “Due to her country's dangerous and challenging situation, Hannah was forced to flee, leaving her family, friends and career behind. When she came to this country she was informed she had to start her studies from zero, but that did not stop her. She is pursuing her passion and majoring in laboratory science and plans to devote herself to medical research.”

She is working to achieve an Embryology Laboratory Director qualification from the American Board of Bioanalysis.

The AAUW is a national non-profit group with over 780 branches across the United States. The Greater Wayne branch was established in 1968. Their mission is to “advance gender equity through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Branch members strive to adhere to the mission and advocate for public policies that advance equity for women and girls on a local level.”

Dr. Linda Nardone, PhD is a member of the local branch, and she joined for the camaraderie of like-minded women and to “encourage and enable” women.

“This organization encourages a friendship that goes deeper in terms of educating, and I don't mean in a formal sense, but an exchange of ideas and an exchange of information,” said Nardone, who is running for Wayne Town Council this year. “We are women encouraging women and supporting women to be their best.”

LaShell added, “I am part of AAUW because I support its mission of fighting for equity for women and girls. An added bonus to being a member is the opportunity to develop leadership skills and build lifelong relationships with like-minded individuals.”

“Our goal is to raise more money next year, and help a greater number of women return to college,” said LaShell.

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If you would like to meet like-minded individuals, you are invited to join the branch.  Email aauwgwa@gmail.com for more information.  You can also visit  http://greaterwaynearea-nj.aauw.net/ and the national site, www.aauw.org