For DonorsFor Applicants

Connie Konatsotis Scholarship

2 winners, $1,000 each
Application Deadline
Jul 26, 2024
Winners Announced
Aug 26, 2024
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Must identify as female
Education Level:
Must be a high school senior, undergraduate, or graduate student
Degree of Interest:
Interested in pursuing a degree in STEAM

Connie Konatsotis (née Kohnle) truly believed that there should be Gender Equality in the world, often fighting to ensure people from all walks of life, and especially Women, received their fair share of opportunities. She dedicated her time to various charities that helped create and award grants and scholarships for young women to pursue higher education. With her passing, her family decided to launch The Connie Konatsotis Scholarship Fund so that her passion and legacy will live on and contribute to the next generations’ opportunities in life.    

Connie and her husband, Nick believed that “the only thing that cannot be taken away from you is Education.” They reminded everyone they could about how important it was to continue learning, whether through self-taught, experience or formal education. While they were each from NY and loved the Arts, they were both equally curious about Life, People, Technology and Science and took time to research and continue learning well into retirement. They believed in the power and balance of the Arts & Sciences. This life mantra lived on in their home, but it really started at an early age in Connie’s life.   

Growing up, Connie was surrounded by women who were all independent, professional, and talented. The challenge was, they weren’t always encouraged to pursue their education beyond the Arts, even though they had aptitude for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Moreover, if they did pursue it, there was often bias and pushback from those in class or in the workforce.   

Connie applied to go to the prestigious, (at the time, All-girls), Hunter College High School, where she rode multiple trains and buses to get to school. She excelled at Hunter, exploring many avenues of education and her own identity as a “smart, young woman.” She always spoke very fondly of the support and opportunities that came to her from other women and specifically, from this time in life, as she acknowledged it is a pivotal time in a young person’s development. Connie went on further to complete her college education at Drexel University.   

Connie was a full-time working mother, entrepreneurially spirited, and had a long career in the financial services industry where she worked with many technology partners. She also co-owned multiple restaurants and a very successful catering company with her husband.   

This scholarship seeks to honor Connie’s legacy and passion for promoting Gender Equality and Education of Women and will award female students who plan to pursue higher education in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics).  

STEAM fields are rapidly growing as the world continues to innovate. Unfortunately, decades on, women are still underrepresented in many STEAM sectors. Gender-based discrimination, the wage gap, and a lack of encouragement to pursue STEAM contribute to this imbalance. The Connie Konatsotis Scholarship Fund hopes to help make a positive impact to close the gap.  

To apply, please tell us about yourself, the impact you hope to make on the world through your education, and what interests you about STEAM.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published April 26, 2024
Essay Topic

To apply, please tell us about yourself, the impact you hope to make on the world through your education, and what interests you about STEAM.

400–600 words

Winning Application

University of California-Los AngelesLos Angeles, CA
I was recently accepted to the UCLA undergraduate major in architecture. Previously regarded as more of an arts and humanities subject, my understanding is architecture is now included along with other subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). My multicultural identity as a Chinese-Jewish American adoptee, and my experience growing up in a 600-square-foot apartment, have inspired my architectural views about space. I aspire to create innovative, multi-functional indoor-outdoor spaces that embrace diverse human needs. As a one-year-old, I was adopted from China by a single Jewish mom. During my childhood, I was encouraged by my mother to stay connected to both my cultures. I learned Mandarin, visited China, trained in Shaolin Martial Arts, and played the Chinese Erhu, a musical instrument with two strings and a bow between them. I also embraced my Jewish culture by attending a Yiddish preschool, celebrating Jewish holidays, and having a non-traditional bat mitzvah. Most importantly, I was taught to value social justice. As a child, I built a Sukkah, a temporary shelter used during the festival of Sukkot. I later gifted this structure to a homeless person. In 2020, at UC Berkeley's embARC summer program, I pitched a design to improve the living conditions of homeless people. I included longer park benches for sleeping and sculptures that can double as shade or shelter from the rain. Also, I interned at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum where I used art to educate people, including about Asian-American discrimination during the pandemic. As an international adoptee, I aim to become an architect who helps people feel welcome and accepted in their daily environment. My multicultural identity enables me to reimagine spaces to be more inclusive, accessible, and supportive of people with different needs and backgrounds. My experience living in small places, including an orphanage in China, a one-bedroom apartment in California, and a summer internship in Portugal also influenced my perspective on architecture. From a young age, I felt confined and wished to reconfigure the space around me. I imagined opening ceilings to the sky, incorporating floor-to-ceiling windows, and knocking down walls to invite nature inside. This past summer, as an intern at two separate architectural firms in Lisbon, Portugal, I learned how space can be reimagined using indoor-outdoor concepts and multi-functional design, while also preserving cultural and historical identity. During a construction site visit, I observed how optical illusions can defy spatial confinements. On a crowded city block, one apartment building was being converted into a four-story townhouse. The interior was small, yet it felt large. Each level had floor-to-ceiling glass that looked out onto separate tiered sections of the backyard, creating a relationship between the inside and the outside. While the interior was modernized, the historical building facade was preserved. I also participated in the conceptual development of a school playground and used AutoCAD to create a play structure made from recycled plastic that could be reconfigured into an outdoor classroom area. Having experienced life and architecture on three continents, I am aware most people live in crowded conditions and small spaces with low light and I hope to address these limitations through my architectural designs. The hands-on and theoretical Architecture program at UCLA, along with my prior architecture courses, diverse experiences, and multicultural perspective is preparing me for my dream of becoming a well-rounded architect and pursuing graduate studies. I seek to help others by designing and implementing living spaces that are multi-functional and improve people's lives.
Ayanmo Adebajo
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteHyde Park, NY
Morgan Myles
Spelman CollegeDecatur, GA
Stella Walborn
Western Carolina UniversityCherokee, NC
I am a daughter, friend, and student. I currently attend Jackson County Early College as a senior. I can often be found reading a good historical fiction or suspense novel with a mug of hot chocolate. One of my favorite places to be is in the kitchen. I enjoy whipping up some fantastic desserts and pastries! I also spend time giving back by serving my community at food banks and nonprofit thrift stores. I have even had the privilege to spend some time in a free health clinic and interview a doctor on her daily schedule and duties. This summer, I will gain my C.N.A license to work with patients, gaining patient care experience. My career goal is to become a physician to provide crucial healthcare to individuals living in impoverished areas or who do not have access to proper healthcare. Many people die every day because they do not have the medical care to survive. I want to change that. I dream of fighting for the right to live in my career, traveling to unreached areas of the world, providing medical care, and sharing the gospel. The daily interaction I would have with various people of all age groups, ethnicities, and backgrounds excites me and would educate me on the different walks of life, something a textbook fails to do. My dream of becoming a doctor comes with a long road, yet I feel that I will be equipped to handle the journey because this is what I am meant to do, and with that belief, I can overcome any obstacle. I hope to specialize in pediatrics, as I have always felt I connect better with children than adults. I will be successful in becoming a doctor because it is my calling. Science encourages us to explore; never satisfied with unanswered questions. Technology calls us to invent and perfect, creating beautiful things that make life easier for others. Engineering is for the builders, the dreamers, always looking into the future and crafting the essentials and the ideas. Art makes the world burst with color, creating masterpieces of all shapes and forms, inspiring others, and impacting us profoundly. Mathematics is an unending puzzle that connects to all other aspects: art, science, technology, and engineering. STEAM holds something for everyone; we all have a role in this acronym. Through STEAM, we create a beautiful, diverse picture of how everyone contributes their knowledge; we make a wonderfully distinct and varied world, holding hope for everyone. We are united in our pursuit of STEAM fields, each lending to the other, building blocks of knowledge. Through the outreach of STEAM, individuals have the opportunity to make a lasting difference in the world.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jul 26, 2024. Winners will be announced on Aug 26, 2024.