The three Women in Business Scholarship recipients from Western Mass Women Magazine are all Elms students.

Scholarship Winners

Class of 2015 members  Lyudmila Renkas, Elizabeth Fitzgerald and Agnieszka Dziedszic received Women in Business Scholarships from Western Mass Women Magazine last month.


Elms Students Sweep Scholarships

When Western Mass Women Magazine was looking for three deserving women to receive its Women in Business Scholarship Awards for 2014, they didn’t have to look far - just to Elms in fact.

The three scholarships were presented last month to Elms students Elizabeth Fitzgerald ’15, Lyudmila Renkas ’15 and Agnieszka Dziedzic ’15. All three came to Elms through its off-campus partnerships with community colleges: Elizabeth and Lyudmila from Holyoke Community College (HCC) and Agnieszka - Agnes for short - from Springfield Technical Community College (STCC).

Elizabeth was selected by committee for the top award of $1,000, sponsored by Health New England, because “we know when you graduate you will be a true asset to the Western Massachusetts community,” Western Mass Women Magazine CEO Dee Emery-Ferrero told her in an e-mail.

The Huntington resident, who has six daughters ranging in age from 1 to 11, is pursuing dual degrees Accounting and Information Systems and Business Management and Marketing at HCC and currently maintains a 4.0 GPA.

“None of this would have been possible for me if Elms didn’t have the Friday night and Saturday program,” Elizabeth said. “Also, the staff is there with us every step of the way, she added, singling out Program Coordinator Joyce Desorcy and professor Sr. Kay Reagan for their support. “There is a genuine interest in the growth and development of each student from our professors.”

The honor from Western Mass Women Magazine  is Elizabeth’s fourth scholarship this academic year, having previously received the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship from the Zonta International Club of Quaboag Valley and two scholarships from the Western Massachusetts Community Foundation.

Although the past few years have been challenging, she said, with both she and her husband in school full-time pursuing dual degrees and having six children at home, “the recognition for my hard work truly adds more fuel to my fire.”

Lyudmila, or Mila, received a scholarship for $750 from the magazine. Her story is also one of overcoming great challenges.

“My family migrated to the United States in 2001 when I was 21 years old. I was already married and had my firstborn soon after in America,” Mila said. Although she had earned an associate’s degree in accounting in Ukraine, she discovered it was not transferable in the US.

After several years in a new country and learning a new language, “I decided to pursue my dream of becoming an accountant even if it meant starting all over again.”

She earned her associate’s degree in accounting from HCC in 2013 and is now enrolled in Elm’s accelerated baccalaureate program for accounting. She plans to continue her education and earn a master’s degree in accounting at Westfield State University.

Agnieszka Dziedzic ’15, recipient of a $750 scholarship, was born and raised in Poland and currently lives in Chicopee.

She received her associate’s degree in accounting in 2013 from STCC and will graduate next May with her bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Since June 2014 she has had an internship at UTC Aerospace Systems in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, and hopes to continue her education and earn her MBA at Elms.

Agnes also praised the professors at Elms, especially “my accounting professor, advisor and mentor, Amanda Huston - she made me believe in myself.”