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Caton Reynolds receives Foundation’s Laura Reisz Dreitzler scholarship

ISSUED: 6 November 2018
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The Shepherd University Foundation is pleased to announce a unique scholarship opportunity for a female West Virginia resident majoring in the field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). The Laura Reisz Dreitzler Scholarship is a full tuition scholarship established and funded for four years by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous in memory of her own grandmother. The award was made to Caton Reynolds, a freshman biology major from Charles Town. Reynolds is the first in her family to attend college, a preference expressed by the donor in creating the scholarship award.

“Receiving the Laura Reisz Dreitzler Scholarship has meant so much to my family,” said Reynolds. “Being the first in my family to attend college was unknown territory for us. My ambition is to become a doctor and receiving this scholarship has allowed me to focus on my schoolwork and pursue this goal without worrying about the financial burdens associated with college.”

Dreitzler (1876-1965) loved learning and did so throughout her life, despite having little opportunity to pursue a formal education. Largely self-educated, she passed the Ohio State Teachers Examinations with high marks and taught for several years in a one-room schoolhouse. Dreitzler was especially drawn to mathematics and physiology. Dreitzler also enjoyed geography and passed that knowledge on to her granddaughter and her granddaughter’s friends by telling them adventure stories starring children from her own childhood.

Although she lived in a male-dominated world, Dreitzler was a feminist and suffragist who modeled industry, frugality, generosity, and fierce dedication for her children and grandchildren.

“I feel she would be quite pleased to know that her name is now associated with Shepherd University in support of President Mary J.C. Hendrix’s initiatives to encourage women in the pursuit of careers in the STEM fields,” said Dreitzler’s granddaughter, who named the university’s Seeding Your Future initiative as the inspiration behind her scholarship award.

Created by Dr. Sytil Murphy, associate professor of physics, and Dr. Jordan Mader, associate professor of chemistry, Seeding Your Future strives to address the challenge of engaging middle- and high-school-age students in STEM disciplines. The program includes an annual conference for middle school girls and monthly STEM workshops for students in the eighth grade through high school.

Dreitzler’s granddaughter feels the STEM fields will benefit from more women and vice versa. “STEM is where the high-paying jobs will be,” she said. “I want women to get ahead.”

The donor credits Monica Lingenfelter, executive vice president of the Shepherd University Foundation, with helping to facilitate the creation and first award of the Laura Reisz Dreitzler Scholarship.

“I chose to work with Shepherd, and Monica in particular, because I appreciated the personalized attention I received from her and her staff,” the donor said, noting that she hopes her gift will inspire others to give to Shepherd in whatever way they are able to. “It doesn’t have to be much. Every little bit helps.”

The donor also feels Shepherd maintains the resources and support necessary for college students to manage everyday aspects of college life, including how to study, how to set goals for the future, and, above all, knowing when to ask for help. She feels these issues are especially important for first-in-family students to master.

“Nothing would please me more than for Caton to graduate,” she said.

To learn more about honoring someone with the creation of a named fund through the Shepherd University Foundation, please contact Monica Lingenfelter, Shepherd University Foundation, P.O. Box 5000, Shepherdstown, WV, 25443-5000, 304-876-5397, or visit

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