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Reaching for the Stars – NRVNews

Traditionally, stars represent the exceptional, the brilliant, the good, the positive. They symbolize noble and brilliant goals. The stars, as people, stand out from the rest; they leave a distinct mark in life and in society.

There are young stars coming up in Blacksburg, Virginia! Three Blacksburg High School 2022 graduates each received a $2,500 PEO Sisterhood STAR Scholarship. Ayca Bulbul, Kylene Monaghan and Karen Villanueva were recommended by the AU, BP and AH chapters of Blacksburg PEO respectively.

Ayca Bulbul
Ayca Bulbul

Since its inception in 1869, and through its six philanthropies, the women of PEO (Philanthropic Educational Organization) “help women reach for the stars” by celebrating the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans, and stewardship of Cottey College; and motivating women to achieve their highest aspirations. What began 150 years ago with a friendship between seven women in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, is now one of the oldest women’s organizations in North America with more than 500,000 members in 5,800 chapters at across the United States and Canada. During its existence, this nonprofit organization has helped more than 119,000* women pursue their educational goals by providing more than $398 million* in educational assistance.

The STAR Fellowship is one of six PEO projects. It was established in 2009 to provide scholarships to outstanding high school women to attend an accredited post-secondary institution in the United States or Canada during the next academic year. The STAR Competitive Scholarship is for women who demonstrate excellence in leadership, academics, extracurricular activities, community service, and potential for future success. Since its inception, $17.2 million* in STAR scholarships have been awarded to female high school graduates.

Ayca, Kylene and Karen all graduated with 4.0+ GPA with many of their courses being Advanced Placement or Dual Enrollment. All three are members of numerous honor societies, have strong leadership skills and are committed to community service. However, as similar as the breadth of their high school accomplishments may be, their passions and goals are as varied as the stars.

Kylene Monaghan
Kylene Monaghan

Ayca Bulbul completed an excellent study program and graduated with honors. His passion was robotics and STEM courses. She has been active in the BHS Technology Student Association, serving as President and winning regional, state and/or national awards in twelve different career categories. While still in high school, she did research with the science program at Purdue University and the mining engineering department at Virginia Tech. She will be attending Carnegie Mellon University in the fall to pursue studies in computational biology. Its ultimate goal is to improve the health and well-being of society through academic or corporate research.

Kylene Monaghan’s high school honors were countless, including the Junior Achievement Academic Excellence Award and National Merit Finalist. She is ADDA Certified as a Mechanical Draftsman and HSTTP Certified as a Building Code/Mechanical/Plumbing Specialist. Her extracurricular activities ranged from football team captain to student council vice president and president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She will attend Sewanee: The University of the South majoring in physics and will continue the pre-engineering program there while playing college football. His long-term goal is to become a mechanical or chemical engineer.

Karen Villanueva
Karen Villanueva

Karen Villanueva also shines with her high school achievements. His accomplishments, honors, and extracurricular activities indicate the broad area of ​​his interests: AP Scholar with Distinction and student council officer positions; Art and Graphic Design and BHS Forensic Team; VHSL Student Leaders Conference Steering Committee and MCPS Technology Department Intern; Taekwondo instructor and Blacksburg Christian Fellowship. She will attend Princeton University where she plans to combine her artistic talent and technological skills by majoring in computer science and fine arts.

Ayca, Kylene and Karen are shining stars! This world is and will continue to be a better place because of them and what they have to offer. PEO’s AU, BP and AH chapters are proud to help them reach for the stars.

To learn more about PEO, its powerful educational philanthropies, and to see stories of women who have benefited from the programs, visit peointernational.org.

*As of April 2022