Patti Reilly Scholarship
For those of us fortunate enough to know Patti, we probably remember her as a happy, energetic person that worked long hours and had a full life away from the office. She was a biologist that worked in all habitats studying in impacts of construction and oil spills on birds and other wildlife. She was also a wonderful mother, wife and friend. She enjoyed entertaining people in our house or while sailing on the boat; she loved spending time with friends and family. And once you met her you became friend and family.
After Patti’s accident a friend and former colleague suggested a scholarship fund in memory of Patti. She remembered that Patti would often encourage young women to pursue a career in science. Our daughter, her friends, our son’s friends all heard Patti talk about the joy of being a biologist. She would tell them more women should study science because they problem solve differently than men. She believed if more women were scientists the community would be fuller and there would be more scientific discovery because of women’s input. I believe several young women took her advice and are starting their careers in biology, engineering, and medical research. That is why we set up the Patti Reilly Memorial Scholarship Fund to provide scholarships for a graduating woman, from our community, going to college to study biology or environmental science. Four $1,000 awards have been given since establishing the fund in 2013. This year's winner will be studying bio-chemistry. With additional funds we could give more than one scholarship or a multi-year scholarship for students continuing to pursue a degree in biology.
The Scholarship Fund is held in a dedicated fund by the Mount Desert Island Regional High School. 100% of the money goes to the students. Gifts to the fund are tax deductible. Scholarships are awarded during a ceremony held a few days before graduation. Each year the graduating class is between 110 and 130 students, with roughly an even split in gender. Interest in Patti’s scholarship has been high. The three recipients are good kids who have an interest in science. Applications are reviewed by a committee (me and a few friends, let me know if you’re interesting in joining; I usually bake a pie) and we vote on the final decision. Applicants complete two essays 1) what they plan to study and why, 2) what are their activities outside of class to support the school and be a well rounded person.
Thank you for supporting the Ride and women in science.
- Brian Reilly