President Diane Dinsmore said that a new scholarship that the Grand Island Professional Women’s Chapter will award each year will be to an adult woman from Grand Island who is either returning to college, a trade school or continuing education.
This year’s winner is Amy Gilmore Smith, a Grand Island resident for four years who is currently attending SUNY Empire State College in the accounting field. She is a wife and mother who works for Christine Learman, CPA, on Baseline Rd., Grand Island.
Dinsmore will present the scholarship to Mrs. Smith at the Professional Women’s annual award dinner at 6 p.m, Wednesday, September 30 in River Oaks.
Amy initially received a three-year business degree at a college in Canada. Her marriage to George Smith, who was in the U.S. Air Force, drastically changed how she would further her education.
In those fourteen Air Force years, she took courses at many colleges in the United States as well as three foreign countries.
“I continued my education, one course at a time, with the various colleges along the way,” Mrs. Smith said. “We moved every few years, so I had to re-enroll in a new college each time. After all these years, I’ll finally get my bachelor’s degree from ESC this December.”
Valerie Goodwin, lecturer/mentor at Empire State College, said that Amy Smith has been a student in her accounting classes over the last year. She said Mrs. Smith “is a very good student---dedicated and hard working.” “As a full-time student with a part-time job, paying for her education is a concern,” Goodwin said, “The adult scholarship will be very helpful to her and her family.”
SUNY Empire State College is located throughout New York State. Mrs. Smith is a student in the Niagara Region and works out of the Cheektowaga Center. Regional Centers also are in Lockport, Jamestown, Olean and Fredonia.
According to Valerie Goodwin, ESC is a leader in adult individualized and on-line learning. “It is especially suited for the individual trying to complete a degree, allowing transferability and credit for life experience.”
CPA Christine Learman said that Amy Smith has been working under her supervision as an office assistant, and most recently, as a tax assistant. Learman said that Amy is a very capable and responsible employee.
“During her time with us, Amy expressed interest in completing her bachelor’s degree. We have encouraged and supported her, as she balances family, work and school activities,” Learman added.
Amy Smith said that receiving this scholarship from the Grand Island Professional Women has lightened her financial burden and allows her to focus on the most important aspect of school, which is learning.
“The Women’s generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I hope that one day I will be able to help other students achieve their goals just as the Professional Women here helped me,” Amy Smith said.
Amy, her husband, George, and ten-year old son, Kaden, all hope to continue community involvement.
George was one of the mural painters for the Grand Island Murals Project on Baseline Rd., across from the Grand Island Post Office. Amy has been involved with the Grand Island Historical Society, Taste of Grand Island, Discovery Boys Club, KidBiz, Boy Scouts, UPWard Basketball, Buffalo Dream Center and the PTA.
Her future plans include working for the elderly in estate and trust planning.
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Diane Dinsmore Amy Smith Christine Learman