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.