In April 2017, the first two Erin Aaberg Givans Memorial Scholarship recipients were selected from a pool of talented and qualified applicants. The most recent scholarship was awarded in April 2018. CSCC and the Givans Family, feel confident that these students will carry on Ms. Aaberg Givans’ legacy as an effective advocate for children’s health care issues.
Catherine Yount grew up in Rocklin, California and attended Whitney High School. After graduating in 2011, Catherine went to UCLA, where she completed a degree in Human Biology and Society in 2015. While studying at UCLA, Catherine had the opportunity to spend a semester studying at the University of Accra, in Ghana. During her time in Ghana, she completed an internship at a Special Education school and did research regarding disability infrastructure in Ghana. It was here that she gained a passion for working with children with disabilities. Catherine went on to work in a Special Education classroom and worked for Disability Services in Irvine, California while she pursued a Master’s in Public Health at UC Irvine.
In the second year of her graduate degree, Catherine completed the California Leadership and Education for Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (CA-LEND) Fellowship at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles. She also partnered with the California Department of Public Health, Biomonitoring to complete a data analysis research project about sources of perchlorate, a chemical that has the potential to impact fetal and infant neurodevelopment. Catherine aspires to influence programs and policies that create access to health care for all children, especially those with disabilities. She is exceptionally grateful to all those who have made the Erin Aaberg Givans scholarship possible.
Vanessa Gutierrez grew up in South San Francisco, California and attended San Francisco State University (SFSU) where she completed a degree in Criminal Justice Studies in 2013. While studying at SFSU, Vanessa had the opportunity to work closely with the Kawasaki Disease Foundation (KDF), a non-profit organization that strives to address issues relating to Kawasaki disease. Vanessa’s involvement with the KDF arose from her daughters’ diagnosis with the disease. While her daughter was treated on time and is doing well today, Vanessa continues to advocate for children’s health via her involvement as a Board Member for the KDF. Through this journey, Vanessa gained a passion and interest in advocating for children’s health at the policy level. This motivated Vanessa to pursue a Master in Public Administration at SFSU, which she will complete in the Spring of 2018.
Simultaneously, Vanessa works at a San Francisco non-profit agency specializing in adult and children’s mental health as a Contracts and Communications Liaison. Vanessa seeks to use her degree to continue working in the public sector at the non-profit or government level to improve current health policies and responses to children’s health. Vanessa’s main focus revolves around creating strategies that create financial sustainability for organizations that focus on children’s health. She feels honored to be awarded the Erin Aaberg Givans scholarship, and is very indebted to the family, friends and donors of Mrs. Givans for making this scholarship possible.
Lizzie Jekanowski graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Boston College in 2013 with a B.A. in Political Science and Women’s & Gender Studies. As an undergraduate, Lizzie advocated for youth sexual health education and promotion in partnership with Advocates for Youth and the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. Featured in The New York Times, CNN, NPR and BBC America, Lizzie received international attention for her advocacy leadership when threatened with expulsion for distributing comprehensive, queer-inclusive sexual health information and resources at a Catholic university. This opportunity to challenge unjust institutions and affirm youths’ right to healthcare, regardless of religious affiliation or choice of university, launched Lizzie into her lifelong passion for reproductive justice advocacy for youth.
Since 2013, Lizzie has continued this passion in the Bay Area. She provided counseling, education and support for sexual assault survivors as young as seven years old at the San Jose Rape Crisis Center. She worked as a Health Services Specialist at Planned Parenthood clinics in the Peninsula and East Bay and trained to be a Young Teen Specialist to serve the unique needs of young patients ages 13-15.
Lizzie is currently a dual-degree graduate student at University of California, Berkeley, where she is completing a Masters of Public Policy and a Masters of Public Health. She is completing her summer internship at California Latinas for Reproductive Justice with the financial support of the Health Policy Advocacy Fellowship from UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. She is delighted to receive the 2018 Erin Aaberg Givans Memorial Scholarship and to honored to continue Ms. Givans’ legacy.