2023 STEM Scholars

AAUW Scholarship Awardees 2023

This opportunity to meet the scholarship awardees is inspiring as we learn their motivation to follow their chosen major which will lead to their life commitments.

Congratulations to the AAUW High School STEM and Post-Secondary LAS or Vocational Awardees for 2023.  These students have achieved the highest academic successes, participated in academic and leadership extra-curricular activities and volunteered or were employed in the community.

Let’s meet the awardees:


Post Secondary Scholarship:


 Clare Montavon is currently a Biology student at Rock Valley College, focusing on Molecular and Cellular Biology. She will be transferring to Illinois State University in  Fall 2024.  Currently, Clare is a student worker in the Testing Center and has been asked to add Math tutoring to her on-campus activities.  Clare has a long list of volunteer commitments to the community, including Tails Humane Society, Julia Hull Library, 4-H Extension Office and Mighty Clovers 4-H club. She still finds time to work with her Dad during the summer months  at the family business, the Montavon Tree Service.


 High School Senior STEM scholarship awardees:

Abigail Barnhardt is graduating from Hononegah High School before she enters Concordia University to student Applied Analytics and Data Service.  Abbie explained that “Math is ever present in my life” so most of her activities revolve around math concepts such as exceling in many AP courses especially Math, tutoring Math, creating a STEM club which focuses on MATH, speaking about MATH importance to local schools and even a Girl Scout Troop! It all adds up for Abigail!


Sara Dennis is graduating from Guilford High School before she continues her studies in Neurobiology, Pre-Med track at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Besides her many extracurricular and sports activities, Sara has also attended two Neuroscience camps at Drexel University and Ohio State, and was selected to experience a Surgery Class at John Hopkins. Sara is a volunteer at Noah’s Ark and the Food Pantry among others, but she also worked as a shipping assistant at Leading Edge Hydraulics during her high school years.



Ruth Mathew is graduating from Auburn High School before she starts her studies in Biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago, on her path to practicing pediatric oncology. Besides participation in  school groups such as Science Olympiad, Model UN and Quiz Bowl, Ruth has been awarded a long list of academic awards focusing on Chemistry, Physics and Anatomy/Physiology. She is a published writer. She completed a summer research project at the University of Illinois College of Medicine which was accepted for publication by the Journal of Young Investigators.  Ruth’s flexibility is seen in her creations of “Kids Crochet for Cancer”.



Sonya McClain is graduating from Belvidere North High School before she enters an environmental engineering program at the University of Illinois, Champaign. Sonya has enjoyed the opportunities of leadership by developing programs for food collection and teamwork with her coop swim team where she was MVP and Team Captain. She was also involved in Exelon STEM leadership and mentor programs, besides working as a lifeguard year round.


Delaney Porter is graduating from Hononegah High School preparing to study at Lincoln Memorial University’s GPA Biology Pre-health program in preparation for a career in dentistry. Her Math teacher recognizes Delaney for having diligence and strength of character not seen in many students. Her leadership roles include positions such as Webmaster, statistical secretary, mentor…STEM students get all the fun!


Congratulations to the awardees. And special appreciation to the AAUW membership and Board for their generosity in funding these scholarships. Awardees, please know that the Rockford AAUW is committed to the success of regional, women scholars who will be the future leaders in  STEM and other career fields.