AmeriHealth Caritas Awards $160,000 through its First Eight Scholarship for Women

Eight female recipients were selected to receive the educational scholarship in honor of the first eight women elected to Pennsylvania’s General Assembly

PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#19thAmendmentAmeriHealth Caritas, a national leader in Medicaid managed care and other health care solutions for those most in need, announced today the eight recipients of its First Eight Scholarship for Women, a merit and need-based scholarship program named in honor of the first eight women elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly following ratification of the 19th Amendment one hundred years ago. This scholarship recognizes exceptional female students who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to their academics, extracurricular activities and community.

The scholarship will provide $20,000 ($5,000 per year for four years) to each of the eight recipients to attend a four-year college or university in Pennsylvania. An independent committee selected these recipients – all seniors who recently graduated from a high school in Pennsylvania – based on a combination of their academic performance, involvement in extracurricular activities, and volunteer history. In addition, the recipients had to meet several qualifications to be considered for the scholarship, such as maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher in their senior year. Like the first eight women elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, these recipients have demonstrated that they are trailblazers in their own way.

The award recipients are listed below in alphabetical order. The accomplishments of each of the recipients are provided at the conclusion of this announcement.

  • Ama Aidoo from Monroe County is attending The Pennsylvania State University
  • Jasmine Garcia from Lancaster County is attending Messiah University
  • Katelyn Kruszewski from Erie County is attending the University of Pittsburgh
  • Sarah McCloskey from Westmoreland County is attending The Pennsylvania State University
  • Ashley Pfeffer from Bucks County is attending Drexel University
  • Lemiya Shaat from Philadelphia County is attending Temple University
  • Noeliz Soto from Philadelphia County is attending Temple University
  • Mackenzie Zeigler from Cumberland County is attending West Chester University

AmeriHealth Caritas is proud to honor these accomplished young women as they advance their education, find a rewarding career path, and continue to contribute to their communities,” said AmeriHealth Caritas Chairman and CEO Paul A. Tufano. “They represent a remarkable generation of Pennsylvania women who will undoubtedly make their mark in the years ahead. We are thrilled to support their journey and to play a role in helping them achieve their dreams.”

AmeriHealth Caritas is invested in the communities it serves across the Commonwealth through volunteering, fundraising, community education, and outreach programs. The company understands the integral role education plays in building healthy communities, a key to its mission. By establishing the First Eight Scholarship for Women, AmeriHealth Caritas aims to make higher education obtainable for young female students and their families.

This is the first year AmeriHealth Caritas has offered the First Eight Scholarship for Women. For more information on the scholarship, please visit

Accomplishments of Award Recipients

Ama Aidoo

Ama Aidoo graduated from Stroudsburg High School. Aidoo ranked in the top quarter of her class with a 3.83 GPA, having taken three honors and three Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Outside the classroom, she earned a varsity letter from her time on the varsity track and field team. She participated in the Interact Club, Health Science Club, and Multicultural Club, while also making time to work and volunteer during her high school career. She worked part time as a daycare assistant at Under One Umbrella Daycare and a sales associate at Tommy Hilfiger. She also served as a junior volunteer at St. Luke’s Hospital where she made sure patients’ rooms were clean and comfortable, which influenced her to pursue a career in health care. She will be earning her Bachelor of Science in medicine at The Pennsylvania State University.

Jasmine Garcia

Jasmine Garcia graduated from Elizabethtown Area High School. Garcia earned a 4.0 GPA, having taken 14 honors classes, one AP class and two dual enrollment classes. Her outstanding academics earned her placement on the honor roll several times, recognition by the National Honor Society, and an Honors Spanish 4 Award. Further, Garcia was an active member of many school organizations, including Mini-THON, Key Club and the soccer team. She also supported her fellow students through multiple tutoring initiatives. In addition, Garcia explored a career in health care through internships at The Physical Therapy Institute and Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development. She will be earning her Bachelor of Science in physical therapy from Messiah University.

Katelyn Kruszewski

Katelyn Kruszewski graduated from Mercyhurst Preparatory School in Erie. Kruszewski earned a 3.69 GPA and ranked in the top quarter of her class, having taken six honors, 18 international baccalaureate, and three dual enrollment classes. During her high school career, she pursued her passion for theater by being the lead in four school plays. She was also a member of the International Thespian Society, where she helped organize benefit concerts and theatrical workshops for the community. Kruszewski has shown her commitment to her community and others by participating in multiple mission trips to Baltimore and being involved in community events and walks against breast cancer. Her hard work has been recognized by academic and music scholarships (not college financial) as well as by the regional Rotary Service Above-Self Reward. Kruszewski will be earning her Bachelor of Arts in theatre arts at the University of Pittsburgh.

Sarah McCloskey

Sarah McCloskey graduated from Belle Vernon Area High School in Fayette County. She earned a 4.45 GPA, having taken 13 honors classes and four AP classes. McCloskey is equally dedicated to her extracurricular activities and volunteer work. She served as the captain of the Majorette Squad, the president of the Spanish Club, the vice president of the (Medical Interest Club/Students Against Destructive Decisions), and an officer of the Interact Club, to name a few. She has volunteered at her church’s food bank and at the Ronald McDonald House. She received multiple recognitions for her hard work, including the Progeny Systems Academic Excellence Award and the September Rostraver Rotary Student of the Month, and was inducted into the Penn State 4.0 Club. McCloskey will be earning her Bachelor of Science in nursing at The Pennsylvania State University.

Ashley Pfeffer

Ashley Pfeffer graduated from Archbishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia. Pfeffer earned a 4.06 GPA, having taken 16 honors classes, eight AP classes and four dual enrollment classes. Outside the classroom, athletics is her main passion. She was the captain of her school’s varsity soccer team, played on the Philadelphia Soccer Club Team, and works as a soccer referee during her free time. During the off-season, she ran track and field and played volleyball. She has found ways to use athletics as a channel for good in her community by volunteering with Athletes Helping Athletes, an organization that aims to better the life of special needs athletes. Pfeffer also made time to pursue interests outside of athletics, such as volunteering at Caring for Friends (formerly Aids for Friends), a Philadelphia-based organization that alleviates hunger and loneliness of homebound individuals, as well as at St. Mary’s Hospital and the Archbishop Ryan Summer Camp. She will be earning her Bachelor of Science in biology from Drexel University.

Lemiya Shaat

Lemiya Shaat graduated from Kensington High School in Philadelphia. She earned a 4.02 GPA, having taken 10 honors classes. Her hard work has been recognized by state and district-level honors. Shaat proves that her hard work goes far beyond the classroom. While being an exceptional student, she supported herself by holding part-time jobs as a cook, assistant manager and gymnastics coach. Shaat will be earning her Bachelor of Science in physiology from Temple University.

Noeliz Soto

Noeliz Soto graduated from Kensington High School in Philadelphia. She ranked fifth in her class with a 3.85 GPA, having taken 12 honors classes. During her high school career, Soto served as president of DECA, formerly the Distributive Education Clubs of America, an organization in high schools and colleges around the globe that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs with skills in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. She earned second and third place in district-wide DECA competitions. Further, she led the development of the Bold & Beautiful Girls Conference, a female empowerment initiative that encouraged inner-city high school students to build and sustain a positive self-image. Soto will be earning her Bachelor of Science in digital forensics from Temple University.

Mackenzie Zeigler

Mackenzie Zeigler graduated from East Pennsboro Area High School in Cumberland County. She ranked seventh in her class with a 4.12 GPA, having taken 15 honors classes, three AP classes, and three dual enrollment classes. Zeigler held leadership positions in multiple school clubs, such as the secretary of the Spanish Club, the editor of the Yearbook Club and officer of the National Honor Society. Additionally, Zeigler was involved with Mini-THON, the Math Club, the Students Against Destructive Decisions Club and the Interact Club. She has received numerous recognitions for her hard work during her high school career, including the Silver Academic Award, the Bronze Academic Award, and a Certificate of Excellence by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Zeigler will be earning her Bachelor of Science in nursing from West Chester University.

About AmeriHealth Caritas

AmeriHealth Caritas is one of the nation’s leaders in health care solutions for those most in need. Operating in 13 states and the District of Columbia, AmeriHealth Caritas serves approximately 5 million Medicaid, Medicare, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) members through its integrated managed care products, pharmaceutical benefit management and specialty pharmacy services, and behavioral health services. Headquartered in Philadelphia, AmeriHealth Caritas is a mission-driven organization with more than 37 years of experience serving low-income and chronically ill populations. For more information, visit


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