Four Award Winners Named from 2024 Summer Scholars, Two Receive New Scholarships


The Joyce Ivy Foundation recently announced the names of sixty-seven young women selected as 2024 Summer Scholars to receive scholarships for pre-college summer study at leading U.S. colleges and universities. From this talented group, four students are today announced as recipients of special awards for their exceptional accomplishment and potential. This year’s award winners are Lindsey Pereyra Damian of La Vista, Nebraska; Meridian Hailu of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Alesya Rathinasamy of Muncie, Indiana; and Catherine Taft of Coleman, Michigan

Each of these students has been selected for a unique named scholarship. Catherine Taft and Lindsey Pereyra Damian receive longstanding awards, the Mary Vandewiele Leadership Award and the Alumnae Scholarship Award, while Meridian Hailu and Alesya Rathinasamy are the inaugural recipients of two new awards. Hailu receives the First Five Scholar Award, endowed by Anne Hiller and named in honor of the first five cohorts of Joyce Ivy Summer Scholars. Rathinasamy, part of the first group of Summer Scholars from Indiana, receives the Steve Carlson Perseverance Award, endowed by Dr. Jennifer Carlson.

“The recipients of our named awards recognize truly exceptional members of the Summer Scholars community,” said Brittany Knight, Executive Director. “We are grateful to our longstanding supporters who have made these incredibly meaningful scholarships possible.” 

The Joyce Ivy Foundation is pleased to introduce these Scholars and to share more about the awards:

Lindsey Pereyra Damian, 2024 Alumnae Scholarship Award

Lindsey Pereyra Damian

Lindsey Pereyra Damian is a junior at Omaha South High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Aside from maintaining high grades in her school’s rigorous Dual Language program, she also is a three-sport student athlete involved in swimming, cross country, and track and field. Lindsey is also a dedicated member of her school’s National Honor Society and book club. The selection committee was impressed by her writing as well as by the dedication and hard work behind her many accomplishments. Lindsey is interested in a dynamic career related to finance and science and is eager to foster her passion for learning at her summer program. This summer, she will be studying genetics and epigenetics at Brown University. 

About the award: Since 2013, the Joyce Ivy Foundation has designated a Scholar in the incoming cohort as an Alumnae Scholarship recipient. This student is selected directly by Joyce Ivy alumnae, and her scholarship is supported by gifts made by the alumnae community throughout the year, including during the annual Giving Tuesday and Pay-it-Forward campaigns. To date, the Joyce Ivy Foundation has named 1203 Summer Scholars, including sixty-seven members of the 2024 cohort.


Meridian Hailu, 2024 First Five Scholar Award 

Meridian Hailu

Meridian Hailu is a junior at Jefferson High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She is a top student in her class and a leader in her community. She holds several awards as a Speech and Debate team member and has earned several accolades as an Oral Interpretation competitor. Additionally, Meridian has been a committed National History Day competitor, Black Student Union board member, and school ambassador. Lastly, Meridian has proudly served as a Connections/Link program member, where she has played an integral role in the transition of new freshman students into her high school. Meridian currently aspires to become a human rights attorney, and she will pursue her interest in human rights, law, and social justice at Brown University this summer. 

About the award: The First Five Scholarship was established in 2024 by Anne Hiller, a former Director and founding member of the Joyce Ivy Foundation who helped select the first cohorts of Summer Scholars. This award is selected annually by Joyce Ivy Foundation alumnae from the first five cohorts (2006-2010) and recognizes a Joyce Ivy Scholar who forges the pathway for others and who will continue the legacy of academic and citizenship excellence that has made our university partnerships, alumnae network, and sisterhood successful.  With the support of the Foundation, the earliest Summer Scholar alumnae proved the Joyce Ivy Foundation’s working model  and demonstrated excellence to the institutions they attended for summer programs, college, and graduate school. Now into professional careers, alumnae pay it forward through volunteer and financial support that enables continued excellence for current Scholars.

Alesya Rathinasamy, 2024 Steve Carlson Perseverance Award

Alesya Rathinasamy

Alesya is a junior at the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities. An academic rockstar and visible student leader, she joined the Indiana Academy as a sophomore and hit the ground running ever since – she took AP Calculus AB as a sophomore and is currently doubling up in both foreign language (German and Russian) and science (genetics and neuroscience) while being dual enrolled at Ball State University. Her excellence extends outside of the classroom where she has nurtured her passions in meaningful ways. She is an organic chemistry research assistant, a Sources of Strength Student Leader, and even began a reading program for children during the pandemic. She plans to use her scholarship to attend a Medical School Intensive course at Johns Hopkins this summer.  

About the award: The Steve Carlson Perseverance Scholarship was established in 2024 to annually cover all expenses related to summer program participation (tuition, room, board, travel and supplies) for one outstanding Summer Scholar hailing from the state of Indiana and ideally attending the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities. This Scholar displays academic excellence, a desire and drive to explore opportunities beyond her current circumstances, a strong belief in the transformational power of educational experiences, and perseverance in the face of any type of challenge or adversity. These are all qualities that Steve Carlson, for whom this scholarship was lovingly endowed by his daughter Dr. Jennifer Carlson (Indiana Academy ‘00), both possessed and valued.

Catherine Taft, 2024 Mary Vandewiele Leadership Award

Catherine Taft

Catherine is a junior from Coleman, Michigan, where she’s a top-notch student and an avid runner. In addition to being a state qualifier and Academic All State honoree in both cross-country and track, she is also a Business Professionals of America club leader who has competed at state and national levels, and a National Honor Society member. Ambitious, self-motivated, and persevering, Catherine draws inspiration from the strong women in her family. A dual-enrollment class this past fall sparked her interest in psychology, and she will continue to follow her curiosity in a course on found poetry at Brown University. 

About the 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 from Michigan who demonstrates leadership, academic promise, and exceptional commitment to their school and home communities. 

Damian, Hailu, Rathinasamy, Taft, and the full group of 2024 Summer scholars will be honored at the 19th annual Summer Scholars Gala on May 11, 2024 at 6 pm in Lathrup Village, Michigan. Kate Trumbull, the Joyce Ivy Foundation Leader of the Year and Senior Vice President and Chief Brand Officer of Domino’s, will deliver an address. The Gala will also honor two Woman of Impact award recipients, climate tech startup founder Anisha Gupta and Detroit restaurateur Ping Ho. Ticket sales and sponsorship for the Gala can be found here.