Freehold AAUW branch honors award recipients


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At the May 9 meeting of the Freehold Branch of the American Association of University Women, the six highest ranking female seniors from the schools in the Freehold Regional High School District were each honored with a monetary award of $500.

The awards are named for Rose Fishkin, who was a Cornell graduate, a member of the branch and a believer in lifelong education for women, according to a press release from the AAUW. The organization’s annual book sale enables the Freehold Branch to fund the awards. The 2019 book sale will be held from June 19-22.

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This year’s honorees are:

• Jessica Mena, Colts Neck High School, is a National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society member and a National Merit Scholarship commended student. In addition to
participating in the All-Shore Symphonic Band, Jessica is a member of the rock-climbing team and won the math competition. She will attend the University of Pennsylvania and major in physics.

• Erica Tan, Freehold High School, is an avid coder and advocate for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics curriculum). Erica’s projects include a chrome extension for the visually impaired and an automated detection system for Parkinson’s disease. Her research papers were presented at the 2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology conference. She is the captain of the Math League and a member of the Science League and the National Honor Society. Erica will attend the University of Texas.

• Stephanie Approw, Freehold Township High School. In eighth grade, Stephanie applied to the Freehold Township High School Global Learning Center with an interest in world and international relations. After taking Advanced Placement Physics in high school she decided to pursue a career in engineering. As captain of the varsity tennis term in her senior year, Stephanie helped lead the Patriots to victory in the Shore Conference A North Division for the first time in 29 years. Stephanie volunteers at the Monmouth County Library and is treasurer of the Habit for Humanity Club which raises money to build affordable housing throughout the world. She will attend Quinnipiac University.

• Preanka Pillai, Marlboro High School, is president of the Key Club, an executive board member of the Rutgers Congress Club and a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society. She has interned at the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office and presented her research regarding legislative solutions for DNA theft at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a Rutgers University Presidential Scholar, she plans to pursue marketing and political science at Rutgers University.

• Elizabeth Garcia, Manalapan High School, has been a student in her high school’s science and engineering magnet program for the past four years and earned the title of National AP Scholar. Elizabeth is a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish and math honor societies and spent three years with the winter swim team. She plans to attend Stevens Institute of Technology and pursue a degree in mathematical sciences.

• Kayla Laufer, Howell High School, is a senior in the performing arts division and attends Dance Attitudes, where she dances on a competitive team and is an assistant teacher. She enjoys volunteering and has been involved in Relay for Life, which is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Kayla has attended the Princeton Ballet School, New York University Tisch School of the Arts and various master classes. She will be attending Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute with a double major in dance and chemistry.

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