Local Chapter of P.E.O. Sisterhood awards scholarship to McCullough

Single mother of three returned to school

September 10, 2012
  • From left, Mary Helen Strauch, chairwoman of the continuing education program for local Chapter I of the P.E.O. International Sisterhood, presents a scholarship to Jennifer McCullough.
Submitted photo

Jennifer McCullough of Hagerstown received a $3,000 grant from Mary Helen Strauch, chairwoman of the program for continuing education for local Chapter I of the P.E.O. International Sisterhood.

McCullough is beginning her final year at Hood College in Frederick, Md.

McCullough is a single mother of three children, who after a number of years in the work force returned to school.

After a lapse of several years, she returned to the classroom, obtaining scholarships, grants, part-time jobs and pursuing every lead to continue her education.

Approaching her final year and in need of funds to complete her studies, she learned from one of her instructors about the P.E.O. programs for providing aid to qualified women. She contacted Strauch of Chapter I. In her studies, McCullough has proved to be an excellent student, who had financial needs.

P.E.O. is an international philanthropic organization, founded in 1869, and dedicated to assisting women complete their educations. During the years since its inception, P.E.O. has distributed more than $150 million in educational scholarships, grants and loans. Application for assistance is done at the local level with each chapter identifying candidates for one of the six forms of financial assistance.


These area include continuing education grants of up to $3,000, educational loans up to $10,000 and a highly competitive one-time scholar award of $15,000 for women pursing doctoral degrees. The newest award is the STAR Scholarship, a one-time $2,500 grant that assists graduating seniors. The requirements for application vary according the award.

Criteria for the PCE or continuing education grant that McCullough received state that the applicant must be a citizen of the U.S. or Canada, have had a minimum of 24 consecutive months break in her education and be within 24 months of completing her educational goal. She must demonstrate financial need, have an educational goal and outline a plan for completing that goal.

Local chapters work to identify and inform women about these opportunities.

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