AFT Awards Scholarships to Four Outstanding Students

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Four exceptional high school seniors who are the children of AFT members were awarded Robert G. Porter Scholarships on July 13 during the AFT TEACH conference. The $8,000 scholarships are presented to accomplished students who also show outstanding service to their community and plan to pursue a career in labor, education, health or government service.

This year's recipients are: 

  • Deana Davoudiasl is a 2011 graduate of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, N.Y. Her mother, Catherine Budesa, is a member of the United Federation of Teachers and teaches in New York City. Davoudiasl plans to attend Princeton University, where she will study biology and international health, with a long-term goal of becoming a physician. 
  • Michael Grasberg is a 2011 graduate of Lawrence Woodmere Academy and a resident of Ozone Park, N.Y. His mother, Michelle Grasberg, is a member of the United Federation of Teachers and teaches in New York City. Grasberg plans to attend Baruch College at City University of New York, where he will study mathematics and pre-law.  
  • Jordan Konell is a 2011 graduate of Central High School in Philadelphia. His mother, Susan Konell, is a member of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. Konell plans to attend Yale University, where he will study political science and cellular biology, with the long-term goal of a career in politics and public policy.  
  • Chloe VanDerWeele is a 2011 graduate of Sheboygan Lutheran High School in Sheboygan, Wis. Her father, Jack VanDerWeele, is a member of the Sheboygan Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. VanDerWeele plans to attend the University of Wisconsin, where she will study biology, with the long-term goal of becoming a dentist.

The Robert G. Porter Scholars Program is named in honor of the late AFT secretary-treasurer, who served for more than 30 years. Porter was known for his commitment to improving the quality of public education and public service.

In addition to the student scholarships, the program awards $1,000 to AFT members to further their careers and advance the goals of the union. The 2011 recipients are:

  • Alicia Ashley, Health Professionals & Allied Employees (NJ), local 5094
  • Susan Chittenden, Wells Central School Teachers’ Association (NY), local 3102
  • Heather Courtwright, Berea (OH) Federation of Teachers, local 1699
  • Annie McClintock, United Teaching Assistants of Harborfields (NY), local 7940
  • Bernice Miller-Wheatley, St. Thomas/St. John (VI) Federation of Teachers, local 1826
  • Mary Steelman, Four Rivers Special Education Association (IL), local 3927
  • John Stewart, Keene (NH) Police Officers' Association, local 6246
  • Mark Stier, United School Employees of Pasco (FL), local 3600
  • Suahuil Valerio, Yonkers (NY) Federation of Teachers, local 860
  • Neam Zalzala, Adjunct Faculty Organ, Henry Ford Community College (MI), local 337

[AFT press release]

July 13, 2011