White Plains, NY (January 2021) – United Way of Westchester and Putnam announced the awarding of $3,500 scholarships from its Ruth Taylor Fund to four Westchester graduate students pursuing master’s degrees in social work or public health.
The four recipients are Emma Kaishian of Sleepy Hollow, Holly Fink of Larchmont, Joseph Benenati of Eastchester, and Stefanie Nolli Gaspar of White Plains. Kaishian is pursuing her Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University. Fink and Nolli Gaspar are earning their Master of Social Work from Fordham University, and Benanti is seeking his Master of Social from CUNY Lehman College.
“We, at United Way of Westchester and Putnam, strongly believe in investing in the leaders of tomorrow and these individuals demonstrate their commitment to the Westchester community by already working or volunteering for a local nonprofit,” said Tom Gabriel, president and CEO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam. “We are impressed with the work these recipients have done and look forward to watching them grow.”
Benenati is a volunteer at the New Rochelle Humane Society and Lifting Up Westchester, and interns at R.A.I.N. Total Care. Fink is the founder of Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration, vice president of Neighbors for Refugees, board member of Westchester Jewish Council and Westchester Jewish Center, and advocates for Indivisible Westchester. Kaishian completed an internship for the United Way of Westchester and Putnam in December 2020 and is the Women 4 Women president. Nolli Gaspar is the founder and co-director of White Plains Still Dreaming, secretary of Teens Under Construction, and is a domestic violence counselor for My Sisters’ Place.
“I am honored to be a recipient of the Ruth Taylor Scholarship,” said Kaishian. “This scholarship will support my access to higher education, which will enable me to embark upon a career where I hope to improve access to healthcare. COVID-19 has hindered opportunities for students, such as me, to make ends meet financially. I am so grateful to United Way for the much-needed relief.”
The fund was established in tribute to Ruth Taylor upon her retirement as Westchester County’s Commissioner of Public Welfare, recognizing her nearly four decades of outstanding service. United Way of Westchester and Putnam, Westchester County Government, and the Urban League of Westchester County sponsor the annual awards. Applicants must be residents of Westchester County and enrolled in graduate studies in Social Work or Public Health on a full-time basis.
Since the 2008-2009 academic year, 64 students from Westchester received a collective $175,000 in Ruth Taylor scholarships.