Fisher Students Honored by Italian Women’s Civic Club

October 5, 2017

Two St. John Fisher College students—Nicole Rossiter ’19 and Kelly Vanderwall ’18—were named recipients of the Italian Women’s Civic Club (IWCC) Dante Scholarship Award.

Two St. John Fisher College students—Nicole Rossiter ’19 and Kelly Vanderwall ’18—were named recipients of the Italian Women’s Civic Club (IWCC) Dante Scholarship Award.

Rossiter and Vanderwall were among five local college students to receive the award, which recognizes academic achievement and promotes pride in Italian American heritage. The students will be formally honored during an awards dinner in November.

The club established the Dante Scholarship Fund in 1921 to assist young men and women of Italian heritage in pursuing a college education. The Scholarship was named after the great Italian poet, Dante Alighieri, giving recognition to his passion for his literary talents. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $4,000.

Rossiter is a senior working towards a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She traces her Italian heritage to her mother’s great grandparents, who came from Serradifalco, a town in the Province of Caltanissetta, Sicily. Her great grandfather, Ignazio, came to the United States alone, at the age of 17, and worked to bring his family over. Taking care of the family was always first priority, and she notes that those traits have been passed down through the years. For Rossiter, that trait has translated into a passion for service, and she has volunteered at various hospitals and nursing homes. As a result, it is her long-term aspiration to become a nurse practitioner and give back to the community.

Kelly Vanderwall is a junior majoring in marketing through the School of Business. She hopes to graduate early and plans to complete a master of business administration in the year following graduation. She currently works for Wegmans and hopes to continue her career in their consumer insights department. She is also interested in athletics, and can see herself conducting customer research for companies like Nike or Adidas.

The IWCC was established in 1919 to educate immigrant women on their newly acquired right to vote and assist them in assimilating into American life.  The mission of the Club has evolved over the years, and today focuses on supporting higher education opportunities for young adults of Italian ancestry. The Dante Scholarship Award is among the group’s many philanthropic efforts. Applicants for the scholarship must be full-time matriculated undergraduate or graduate students at area colleges and universities. Awards are based on criteria set by the IWCC committee and include academic achievement, extra- curricular activities, community service, and personal identification with Italian American heritage.