Spotlight on the 2019-2020 PWN Scholarship Foundation Award Recipients

2019-2020 PWN Scholarship Foundation Award Recipients

This year we received 19 PWN Scholarship Foundation applications, all detailing stories of inspiration and devotion to education, as well as balancing work and home life. We are fortunate to have so many hardworking women in our community who are pursuing their education goals.

We are pleased to spotlight the 2019-2020 PWN Scholarship Foundation award recipients.

Ashley Leverty recently returned to Iowa State University working towards a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Sciences with an emphasis on Kinesiology and Management. Ashley has served on the PWN Board since January 2018; she is also the Director of Golf for Veterans, an annual fundraising golf event for the National Disabled Veterans TEE Tournament, the weeklong event promotes rehabilitation by instructing veterans with visual impairments and other life-changing disabilities in adaptive golf. 

Her courage to return to school, while working full-time and volunteering does not go unnoticed. She is a valuable member of our team, and we are cheering her on as she continues her college journey. Congratulations Ashley.

Brenda Lansing has returned to school after 30 years to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration at Mount Mercy University. She has worked in healthcare her entire career and is currently the Patient Services Manager at Unity Point Health. She enjoys mentoring people to help them see their true potential.

Brenda works in a full-time leadership position, which sometimes requires long hours, along with managing and balancing family but she is thriving and has been successful in achieving a 4.0 GPA since her return to school. Way to go Brenda. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Our next award winner, Katie McGowan, was referred to our scholarship program by one of last year’s dynamic recipients, Erin Young.

Katie has returned to school to pursue a degree in Healthcare Administration at the University of Dubuque. Along with being a single mom of three children, two of whom have special needs, Katie works two jobs and donates plasma to support her family. She wants to complete her education journey so that she may have opportunities for professional growth and development at St. Lukes, where she is employed as a Financial Counselor and Scheduling Specialist. Katie your passion and determination will help you soar in school and in life. Thank you for letting us be a small part of your story.

Melanie Dilly is our next award recipient. Her story is certainly one of inspiration. She found her way back to school and is earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa; next year, she and her daughter will walk across the commencement stage, graduating at the same time.

She has volunteered internationally to aid victims of hurricanes and even adopted two young girls from the Iowa Foster program. Her education story continues as she looks to pursue her master’s degree in public health following receiving her diploma. Melanie’s love of learning, working hard, and serving others was instilled upon her by her father, who in memory, continues to empower and inspire her.

Introducing Nouran Othman, our next award winner. Nouran completed high school during the Syrian civil war. After she earned her diploma, she worked a variety of jobs and even established a Girl Scout Troup at a Syrian refugee camp.

She wanted to continue her education after high school, but it was simply not possible as she needed to help support her family.

The opportunity presented itself for Nouran to come to the United States and even though she knew she would miss her family terribly; she took the leap and now lives, learns and works here in Iowa.

Nouran attends the University of Northern Iowa and is earning her bachelor’s degree in Accounting, as she has always loved numbers. Between working full-time at Veridian Credit Union and completing her degree, her life is very busy.  Nouran has been inspired and empowered by a variety of determined, hardworking women and plans to motivate other women as she fulfills her dream of earning her college degree. Nouran, your story truly filled our hearts with pride, thank you for sharing your journey this far; we know you will do amazing things in the future.

Tracy Timmons is the final award recipient for the 2019-2020 scholarship year. Tracy attends Mount Mercy University and her major is Human Resources Management. She is employed at Collins Community Credit Union and was inspired to return to school after attending a professional development opportunity with the credit union. She began classes in 2018 as part of their Adult Accelerated Program; she has been on the Deans List and offered membership into the National Honors Society. Tracy is a working mom of two, wife, and student; this scholarship she receives will help alleviate some financial burden of her college expenses. Congrats Tracy on your hard work and determination, we celebrate you!

The 2020-2021 scholarship application will be available to complete soon. Please help us spread the word about this opportunity. Contact Laura Kamienski for further information regarding the Professional Women’s Network Scholarship Foundation or how to make a tax-deductible donation.

Professional Women’s Network of Eastern Iowa has been helping the community for 40 years!

Professional Women’s Network, Inc (PWN) announces its 40th anniversary as a driving force on women helping women in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor.

PWN was founded by Jean Kruse, Liz Sparks, and Carolyn Stephens in November of 1979 with the intent of growing their professional networks, as many opportunities during this era were focused solely on male networking.

Over the years, PWN has provided opportunities for networking, education, and leadership training to women in our community.

The organization has been a supporter of the PWN Scholarship Foundation, which was established to financially assist non-traditional women students. Through this foundation, scholarships are awarded annually to women who are local, non-traditional students pursuing their college education.

We are pleased to announce the award recipients for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Ashley Leverty, Iowa State University
Brenda Lansing, Mt. Mercy University
Katie McGowan, University of Dubuque
Melanie Dilly, University of Northern Iowa
Nouran Othman, University of Northern Iowa
Tracy Timmons, Mt. Mercy University

We invite you to join us at PWN Presents: A Celebration of Women Helping Women annual breakfast event where the scholarship recipients will be presented with awards.

We will also hear from UnityPoint President and CEO, Michelle Niermann, who will share her personal leadership journey and help attendees identify a clear answer as to why and how they should map their own journey.

This celebration will be emceed by CBS2 news anchor Karen Fuller and held on Thursday, September 26, at the Hotel Kirkwood beginning with a full breakfast buffet at 7:30 am. The event is presented by UnityPoint Health, Hills Bank, and Professional Women’s Network. Individual tickets for the public are $40.00 and corporate table sponsorships are currently available at