Two students were awarded The Matthew Paul Finnigan Memorial Scholarship for the 2016/17 School Year.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Today, the Autism Society of California, the Finnigan family, and the Community Foundation for Monterey County announced the names of two highly qualified California students who won Achievement Scholarship awards through the National Achievement Scholarship Program.
Kelly Londenberg of Wildomar was awarded $1,500 and Chloe Rankin of Fremont received $750. Scholarship founder Tim Finnigan remarked that these two women were selected from a very strong pool of candidates and “regrets that we do not have sufficient funds to provide awards to all the excellent applicants.”
Kelly Londenberg studies Occupational Therapy at Stanbridge College in Irvine, California. Her stellar history of community service began with volunteering in special education classrooms at eleven years old. Ms. Londenberg has served on the Board of the Autism Society Inland Empire, facilitates a successful social group for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and was named the Autism Society of America 2012 National Volunteer of the Year. Her goal is to “help other individuals with disabilities reach their highest potential.”
Chloe Rankin attends Las Positas College in Livermore, California and was recently accepted as a transfer student in the Psychology Department at the University of California, Davis. Ms. Rankin has been invited to work and study for a semester abroad at Colegio San Patricio in Lujan, Buenos Aires, Argentina. She plans to blend her passion for music into her Psychology research by exploring how music stimulates the brain. Ms. Rankin’s goals include earning her Ph.D. in Psychology and sharing her own challenges with the broader community, in order to “help change people’s perspectives on autism and . . . show the world that autism is not all about interference with functioning.” She is a member of the National Honor Society in Psychology, Psi Beta.
The Matthew Paul Finnigan Memorial Scholarship Fund honors the memory of Matthew Finnigan, a young adult with ASD whose life was taken before he could achieve his goal of helping others. Matthew was attending college in Monterey and planned to use his educational interests in STEM fields, as well as experiences facing and overcoming challenges, to research and analyze biological and environmental factors and develop interventions that might reduce the symptoms of ASD. When asked what is truly important in life, Matthew wrote, "You have a legacy that will live on as long as their stories about you keep being told," and reminded his reader to "always look on the bright side of life."
This permanently endowed fund was established with gifts from the Finnigan family and friends, and matching funds from Chevron, to assist students with ASD whose interests align with those Matthew had, to realize their educational goals.
The Matthew Paul Finnigan Memorial Scholarship program was open to California students with ASD (DSM-IV or later criteria) studying full-time or part-time and pursuing a career in the fields of Psychiatry, Psychology, Statistics, Chemistry, Math, researching cures or management of autism, or a career which will help adolescents on the Autism Spectrum. The Autism Society of California is honored to assist the Community Foundation and the Finnigan family in the application and selection process for this important award.
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Beth Burt at 1-800-869-7069 or email at autismsocietycagmail.com.