2017 Mary Vandewiele Leadership Award Recipient Announced



ANN ARBOR, MI, April 7, 2017 – The Joyce Ivy Foundation recently announced the names of eighty young women selected as 2017 Summer Scholars. From this group of Scholars, Abbee Elwell, a sophomore studying at Washtenaw Technical Middle College, has been selected to receive the 2017 Mary Vandewiele Leadership Award.

Mary Vandewiele, a Metro Detroit entrepreneur and advocate for women and their leadership development, established the Mary Vandewiele Leadership Award in 2013, and it is awarded annually to a Joyce Ivy Foundation Summer Scholar who demonstrate leadership and exceptional commitment to their school and home communities. Joyce Ivy Foundation Summer Scholars engage in both academic and leadership development during their summer program experiences at highly selective colleges and universities.

“Mary has been a steadfast supporter of the Foundation since our early days,” said S. Caroline Kerr, Chief Executive Officer of the Joyce Ivy Foundation. “She is always ready to dive into conversation about how we can further our impact. Thanks to Mary’s generosity and vision, we are celebrating the 5th anniversary of the Leadership Award, as well as the establishment of an endowment that will ensure support for generations of future Scholars. We are delighted to honor Abbee Elwell as the fifth recipient of the award.”

Abbee Elwell, of Milan, Michigan, is pursuing advanced level coursework at Washtenaw Technical Middle College (WTMC). She serves on the Milan Youth Council and is active with Aid in Milan and the local food pantry. Abbee holds leadership roles on the WTMC FIRST Robotics team, as well as captains the WTMC A Reserve Ultimate Team and coaches youth basketball. She plans to participate in the Harvard Pre-College Program this summer in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“It is important now more than ever that we encourage rising female leaders,” said Mary Vandewiele. “The Midwest is a source of talent, and I am proud to help support these aspiring young scholars on their paths to college and beyond. Abbee’s drive academically as a fifteen-year-old young woman in a college setting, along with her open-mindedness to others from different backgrounds, sets the stage for profound leadership potential.”

“I am honored to selected as the 2017 Mary Vandewiele Leadership Award recipient and a Summer Scholar,” said Abbee Elwell. “I’m ecstatic to meet people from all backgrounds and hear what they have to say about our current political and economic climate. Serving at Aid in Milan, I’ve learned that people are pretty amazing. Their strength, love, and compassion for others inspire me. Being immersed among talented teenage girls who have the same drive for excellence will refine my admiration and respect for people of all ages, ethnicities, and genders.”

The 2017 Joyce Ivy Foundation Summer Scholars have the opportunity to study at eleven partner colleges and universities: Barnard College, Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Emory University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Smith College, Washington University in St. Louis, and Yale University.