Winners of the Seaside American Association of University Women June Stromberg scholarship are staying in Seaside and attending college online.

Each year at least one $1,000 scholarship is given to a young women graduating from Seaside High School who is first in her family to attend college.

In 2020, Anayeli Campos Becerra, Anna Maria Peon Marin, Jennifer Aybarth Ramirez and Crystal Rouse were chosen from 10 applicants. With the continuing threat of the coronavirus, all four chose to pursue their college education online.

The beginning of her new journey at Oregon State University has been different than what she had expected, in terms of taking courses online versus in person, Anna Marie Peon Marin said.

“The first couple of weeks were challenging with getting accustomed to new school apps, having to study on my own, and adjusting to the online college environment,” Marin said. “Although there were some challenges, I will definitely say that there were advantages that helped balance everything out.”

Attending school online has been quite difficult, stressful and challenging, Anayeli Campos Becerra said.

“It has also opened me doors to success and new opportunities such as being able to learn how to be able to manage school online,” Becerra said. “It has been really challenging for most of the student and myself, but it is not impossible and we will learn how to keep on moving with our lives during this pandemic.”

Three of the honorees are bilingual in Spanish and one winner completed her high school education in three years.

They are pursuing careers in nursing, teaching, engineering and business at Clatsop Community College, Oregon State and the University of Oregon.

Seaside AAUW is part of the national organization which promotes the equity of women and girls. The Seaside AAUW Scholarship Foundation has awarded some 50 scholarships to women who live in the local area.

In addition to the June Stromberg Scholarship, the foundation awards scholarships to women who have been out of school for at least five years and plan to attend a two- or four-year college program or young women who have have broken barriers and excelled in areas previously held by men.

Going into online college, she had no idea what to expect, Crystal Rouse said.

“I was nervous but also excited to get started on my college career,” Rouse said. “The first month was so overwhelming, I honestly wondered if I was going to be able to get my grades up.”

But after the second and third months of online college, she started getting into a routine and finding resources online.

“And now I really enjoy it, I love the flexibility of my classes, and finding resources online, like their tutoring program,” Rouse said. “Don’t get me wrong. I can’t wait to go in person and be in a lecture hall for the first time, but for now and under these circumstances, it could be a lot worse.”

For more information about the foundation or Seaside AAUW, visit seaside-or.aauw.net.

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