Community Education

Minerva Fund awards scholarships to nine local women

Posted on August 16th, 2023 By: Mary Williams

The Minerva Scholarship Fund introduced recipients of the 2023 Minerva Scholarships on Sunday, Aug. 6.

Minerva Scholarship Chair Pat Berger presented the awards in front of a proud assembly of family, friends and members of the Minerva and American Association of University Women of Gig Harbor groups. Now in its 32nd year, the fund has awarded more than 200 women over $500,000 in scholarships.

This year’s Minerva recipients

This year’s awards went to six women who are pursuing master’s degrees:

  • Aprica Bradley, pursuing a master’s in special education at Arizona State University
  • Kristen East, pursuing a master’s in counseling from St. Martin’s University in Lacey
  • Candise Greenlee, pursuing a master’s in curriculum and instruction
  • Wendy Holt, pursuing a master’s with a teaching certificate, both from Western Governor’s University
  • Nicole Keller, pursuing a master’s in marriage and family therapy from Central Washington University
  • Helen Wilkie, pursuing a masters in social work at the University of Washington.

Minerva recipients pursuing undergraduate degrees include:

  • Lauren Henricksen, working on a bachelor of science in anthropology at Central Washington University
  • Tarra Winslow, pursuing a bachelor of arts in fine arts at the University of Puget Sound
  • Alexis Pappas, seeking certification in career and technical education from Northeast Washington Educational Services District 101 in Spokane.

From left, Minerva scholarship recipients Nicole Keller, Candise Greelee, Lauren Henricksen, Alexis Pappas and Helen Wilke. Recipients not pictured include Aprica Bradley, Kristen East and Wendy Holt. Photo by Julie Warrick Ammann

The application period opens each spring, and the eligibility requirements to apply are few.  Women must have had at least a one-year gap in pursuing their education and must be enrolling in a degree or certificate program at an accredited institution. They must also live or work within the Peninsula School District boundaries and demonstrate financial need.

Recipients’ personal stories

Each recipient has her own unique story. Their excitement and gratitude is palpable, even if laced with a wee bit of nervousness about the challenges to come.

Winslow, a local business owner and music instructor, earned a Minerva Scholarship in 2020-21, when she completed an associate degree in fine arts, specializing in piano performance. She later decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in fine arts at Pacific Lutheran University.

“With the right kind of support, women have the chance to unlock intelligence, passion, commitment, and focus,” Winslow said.

Henricksen, who will attend Central Washington University to pursue a major in anthropology, was presented her scholarship by her mother, Gail, a previous Minerva scholarship recipient. Gail Henricksen completed her master’s in family therapy this spring at San Diego-based Northcentral University.

Gail Henricksen and her daughter Lauren Henricksen. The elder Henrickson was a previous recipient of the Minerva Scholarship. She awarded her daughter a Minerva Scholarship. Photo by Julie Warrick Ammann

Been there, done that

Several other previous recipients were present to add words of encouragement.

Sarah Whitmarsh completed a master’s in gerontology program in 2023 after receiving four years of Minerva Scholarships. Scholars are able to attend school either part- or full-time, and will continue to receive financial support as long as they are successfully working toward their goal.

Whitmarsh said knowing the funding would continue gave her the confidence to start, a sentiment echoed by many others.

Dr. Olga Inglebritson, dean at the Tacoma Community College Gig Harbor campus, provided words of encouragement and commented that she had been a Minerva Scholar in 2005, when she received an award of $500 to attend TCC.

Additional information about the Minerva Scholarship Fund, its history, and current and past recipients can be found at  The Minerva Scholarship Fund, affiliated with the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation, is a non-profit tax-exempt 501c3 organization.

Candise Greelee accepts her scholarship certificate from Pat Berger, Minerva Scholarship Chair. Photo by Julie Warrick Ammann