Lauren Smulcer, recipient of the Officers’ Spouses’ Club’s Etta Baker Memorial Scholarship, said she is grateful for the $2,500 award for one very important reason — her two daughters.
“I am more than thankful and honored,” a teary-eyed Smulcers said. “This allows me to go to school and not take the money from my children’s college fund. As a mother, I want the money to be there for my children.”
Smulcer, a military spouse, received the OSC’s highest merit scholarship during the organization’s annual scholarship awards ceremony held May 10 at Heritage Park Neighborhood Center.
This year, OSC awarded more than $17,500 in scholarships to 11 recipients.
Michelle Hausman, president of OSC, welcomed the audience.
“I’d like to thank you all for coming,” she said. “This is a great turnout for our scholarship reception. … Everyone who applied was of high caliber.”
Garrison Commander Col. Tom Rickard and his wife, Lisa, attended the 90-minute event, which included a dinner catered by Wegman’s in Columbia.
Lisa Rickard is an adviser to OSC.
Brandy Malone, OSC scholarship chairperson, said the club is dedicated to giving back to the Fort Meade community.
“The Fort Meade Officers’ Spouses’ Club is not just a social club,”she said. “We are a nonprofit organization, and our members fundraise all year to ensure that we can support scholarships and community grants. We already have a number of ideas in the works to begin fundraising for next year.
Jessica Morgenstern, vice president of scientific education for the Central Maryland chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association and its scholarship chair, presented Smulcer with the Etta Baker Memorial Scholarship.
“It has been very gratifying to be involved with this type of thing and give back,” Morgenstern said in her remarks.
AFCEA donated the $2,500 for the scholarship.
Morgenstern called Smulcer a “military spouse extraordinaire,” who is a role model to her children and the Fort Meade community.
Smulcer, an Army wife, is the mother of 20-month-old Audrey and 3-year-old Amelia.
The Meuse Forest resident will enroll at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Nursing in the fall to pursue a master’s degree.
Debbie Alexander, an OSC member and wife of retired Gen. Keith B. Alexander — the former commander of U.S. Cyber Command and the former director of the National Security Agency — awarded the Debbie Alexander STEM Scholarship to McKenna Thomas-Franz.
McKenna, a sophomore at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, was taking her final exams and could not attend the ceremony. Her mother Heather Thomas accepted on her behalf.
A neuroscience and computer science major, McKenna received $2,000 toward her college education.
The funds were donated by the Alexanders.
“This scholarship is near and dear to our hearts,” Debbie Alexander said. “It’s really important to us.”
Alexander said her husband is dedicated to STEM education and has even emphasized the study of math and science with the couple’s 16 grandchildren.
The inaugural Debbie Alexander STEM Scholarship was awarded last year to Kaitlyn Thomas-Franz, McKenna’s younger sister.
“We’re very proud of her [McKenna],” said Thomas, an OSC member. “She’s worked very hard.”
The OSC Family Member Scholarship of $2,000 was awarded to Samuel Rothstein, son of retired Col. Edward Rothstein, a former Fort Meade garrison commander, and his wife, Audrey.
Samuel is a senior at Century High School in Sykesville and will enroll at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., in the fall to study English with a minor in creative writing. He has plans to serve in the Peace Corps and to become a horror writer.
“I’m very grateful for it,” Samuel said of the scholarship. “I worked very hard for it. The scholarship will do a great deal to help with my college education.”
The remaining recipients of eight Merit scholarships of $1,000 to $2,000 are:
John Marcis, a senior at Annapolis High School
Anna Peterson, a senior at Severna Park High School
Jason Golubski, a senior at Grovetown High School in Grovetown, Ga.
Carsen Short, a graduate of Anne Arundel Community College
Alyssa Frazier, a sophomore at Towson University
James Myers, a freshman at Virginia Tech
Molly Moesner, a junior at the University of Dayton in Ohio
Elizabeth Stewart, a junior at Belmont University in Nashville