7th Annual Sandbagger Invitational Golf Tournament – Great Day for STEM Scholarship Fundraiser

In its seventh year, the Sandbagger Invitational Golf Tournament, organized by Women In Defense Space Coast, delivered a fun filled day on the greens at Baytree National Golf Links while growing the STEM Scholarship Fund for Space Coast students.

Over 60 golfers embarked on foggy greens to tee off at 7:30 am, but the skies cleared for a beautiful finish to the day which included lunch, drinks, goodie bags, and awards at the Baytree Clubhouse. First, second, third and last place golf teams received top prizes. Additional contests for longest drive and closest to the pin awards were acknowledged for both men and women golfers. Other prizes included items for winning raffle tickets plus a 50/50 drawing.

“Last year, we awarded $16,000 in scholarships, most of which was raised at the golf tournament,” stated WIDSC President Elizabeth Huy. “This event enables us to share our mission and connect with the community while raising funds, and being held on Military Spouse Appreciation Day and during May’s National Military Appreciation Month, we celebrated the many military spouses and veterans that joined the tournament.”

This year’s golf event sponsors included 8-koi, Acuity International, All Points, Alluvionic, AVET Project Inc., Cloud 9 Real Estate Group, Coldwell Banker Paradise – Steven Natschke, CRI, Desapro, Elizabeth Brienza for Nana’s House, Erdman Motors, Frazier Engineering, Geiger/Your Logo.com, Hedrick Brothers Construction, Indigo Strategic Consulting, KBR, Kegman Inc., Keyes Coverage, Merrill Lynch, Professional Specialty Insurance LLC, Rolle IT, SCIS, Turtle, and WhiteBird Attorneys at Law.

WIDSC members, supporters, and volunteers also helped to make this year’s event a huge success, including Allegra Printing, Baytree National Golf Links, and Courtyard Marriott Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach.

On Thursday, June 20, STEM scholarship awards will be presented to selected female students in Brevard County at the Courtyard Marriott in Cocoa Beach. Scheduled to speak at this year’s awards event is Jackie Rodriguez-Valdes, Chief Executive Officer at Summit Healthcare Services. STEM scholarship awards event registration will open on May 17.

If you would like more information about WIDSC programs and fundraising for STEM scholarships, please contact Elizabeth Huy by emailing President@WIDSC.org. 

VIEW THE PHOTO GALLERY

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Women In Defense Space Coast Awarded $16K in STEM Scholarships to Space Coast Students on June 15th in Cocoa Beach

A total of $16,000 in STEM scholarships was awarded to twenty-one Brevard County students on Thursday, June 15th at the Courtyard by Marriott Cocoa Beach. The event featured Krista Dawson, PMP, Executive Director of Engineering Services for Axient, as guest speaker.

The 2023-24 WIDSC STEM Scholarships varied from $325 to $1,000 in unrestricted cash awards for exceptional Brevard County women seeking to further their education in STEM studies who’ve demonstrated an interest in starting and furthering a career that supports the national defense industrial base. Awards are based on academic achievement, field of study, work experience, statements of interest, and recommendations. Applications for 2023 awards closed April 23rd.

“We had an overwhelming response for scholarships this year,” says WIDSC STEM Chair Leslie Tibbetts of Community Credit Union. “It’s an honor to lend support to students in our local community and help to build a more diverse and stable workforce on the Space Coast.”

The recipients are as follows:

  • Emma Aiken, Palm Bay, Forensic Science at University of Florida
  • Ashleigh Antaloci, Palm Bay, Nursing at Eastern Florida State College
  • Willow Ash, Merritt Island, Biology at University of Central Florida
  • Deztynee Bryan, Melbourne, Meteorology at Florida Tech
  • Elizabeth Eskildsen, Cocoa, Business Management at Eastern Florida State College
  • Gianna Fernandez, Rockledge, Computer Science & STEM at University of Florida
  • Nuha Haque, Melbourne, Behavioral-Cognitive Neuroscience at University of Florida
  • Emma Havel, Melbourne, Actuarial Science at University of Central Florida
  • Kayla Havel, Melbourne, Baccalaureate at New College of Florida
  • Lydia Hinkle, Melbourne, Education at Florida Atlantic University
  • Alexis Linder, Rockledge, Mechanical Engineering at Florida Tech
  • Lena Martinez, Palm Bay, Health Sciences at University of Central Florida
  • Amira McKaige, Titusville, Computer Engineering & International Affairs at Florida State University
  • Chloe Nason, Mims, Sports Management at Eastern Florida State College
  • Taylor Rendina, Titusville, Health Sciences at University of Bridgeport
  • Marisa Ricks, Cocoa Beach, Biology at University of Florida
  • Josette Roach, Melbourne, Organizational Management at Eastern Florida State College
  • Victoria Scabarozi, Cocoa, Associate of Arts at Eastern Florida State College
  • Abigail Shepard, Indian Harbour Beach, Neuroscience & Interdisciplinary Mathematics at Florida Atlantic University
  • Christina Souvannala, Patrick AFB, Library & Information Science at University of Illinois Ubrana-Champaign
  • Paulina Tawrel, Melbourne, Environmental Engineering at University of Florida

WIDSC established the Space Coast STEM Scholarship Fund in 2013 to encourage women in Florida to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) related to the national security and defense interests of the United States. Since its inception, WlDSC has now awarded over $90,000 in scholarships and contributed to numerous STEM-related events in partnership with local businesses, non-profits, and Federal agencies such as Patrick Space Force Base.

Event guests were invited to bid on an array of silent auction items generously donated by local businesses to include ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Buds & Bows Floral Design, Chick-fil-A, Costco, Cloud 9 Real Estate Group, Courtyard by Marriott Cocoa Beach, Etc. Shoppe, Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach, Mister Car Wash, Pint & Pistol, Suntree Country Club, to name a few. A full list of sponsors and donors supporting the WIDSC STEM Scholarship Fund can be found here.

Fundraising efforts are conducted throughout the year to include sponsored events such as the most recent 6th Annual Sandbagger Invitational Golf Tournament held at Baytree on May 19th and the Tenth Anniversary Celebration held at L3 Harris in January. Donations are accepted year-round.

Networking and professional development events are organized to help connect individuals and local companies to opportunities for workforce and business development. WIDSC currently has over 100 members. Details for upcoming events can be found here.

If you would like more information about WIDSC STEM scholarships and awards, please contact Leslie Tibbetts at STEM@scwid.org or 321-258-8504.

See more event photos.

6th Annual Sandbagger Invitational Golf Tournament Raises $10K for STEM Scholarships

Sold out sponsorships provided hospitality for enthusiastic golfers on the greens at Baytree National Golf Links on Friday, May 19th for Women In Defense Space Coast’s 6th Annual Sandbagger Invitational Golf Tournament. The event raises funds for STEM scholarships that will be awarded to Space Coast students on June 15th.

-SEE THE PHOTOS-

The event was organized by WIDSC volunteers with 15 people giving their time to work throughout the day to keep the golfers happy and hydrated, and the action moving smoothly. A total of $10K was raised from sponsorships, entry fees, mulligan packages, and raffles.

“We are very pleased with the turnout and level of support the community showed to our golf tournament this year,” stated WIDSC Chapter President Inga Young of 8-koi, “Our volunteer board works hard all year long to develop and deliver value-added programming to our membership.  Raising money to award STEM scholarships is very meaningful and just one way our organization can contribute to creating a more diverse and stable workforce on the Space Coast.”

The tournament’s first place team was Robbie Blubaugh, Reid Hart, Ryan Holloway, and Jacob Vetter. The second-place team was Mark Klenck, Steve Lindsley, Danny Renfro, and Bob White. The last place fun prize went to Craig Berry, Wayne Grimes, and Bob Pine.

Advanced Management Group, Kegman, and SCIS provided Gold Sponsorships, and Unified Solutions was the Silver Sponsor. The Bloody Mary & Mimosa Bar was sponsored by WhiteBird Law, Lunch was sponsored by Cole Engineering, and Leonardo DRS was the Coffee Sponsor. Tee Box Sponsors were 8-koi, Acuity International, Alluvionic, AVET Appeals, Cloud 9 Real Estate Group, Coldwell Banker Paradise, Frazier Engineering, Hedrick Brothers Construction, and Professional Specialty Insurance LLC.  Longest Drive Sponsors were Poseidon and UES. Geiger YourLogo.com and Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida sponsored Closest to the Pin. Other event support was provided by Allegra, Courtyard by Marriott Cocoa Beach, Gillespie Services, Intracoastal Brewing Company, Moon Golf, Rockledge Country Club, Target, and WaWa.

The 2023 STEM Scholarship Awards Ceremony for students on June 15th will be held at the Courtyard Cocoa Beach. Krista Dawson, PMP, Executive Director of Engineering Services for Axient, will be the featured speaker, and guests will be invited to bid on a selection of silent auction items to kick off the 2024 scholarship fund. See more information and register to attend.

Next year’s tourney will be held on Friday, May 10th, 2024.

WIDSC Featured on WFIT’s ‘Coastal Connection’

On March 27th, WFIT aired an interview with host Terri Wright and WIDSC Communications Director Gail Hart on the Coastal Connection program.

Produced by WFIT’s General Manager, Terri Wright, Coastal Connection serves as a spotlight on the community. Each 5- min edition of Coastal Connection showcases a special event and/or not-for-profit organization in Brevard County, Florida. Read more at WFIT.org.

Terri and Gail talked about the mission of Women In Defense Space Coast and about the upcoming Sandbagger Invitational Golf Tournament on May 19th that will raise money for STEM scholarships. WIDSC supports the advancement and recognition of women in national security by providing networking, education, and career development opportunities.

Since 2013, WIDSC has given over $75,000 in scholarships to female Space Coast students who are pursuing STEM studies with an interest in national defense and security careers. The 2023 scholarship awards will be presented on June 15th in Cocoa Beach. The deadline for scholarship applications is April 23rd.

Registration for the golf event is open to the first 100. Players can join the game for $85 to include lunch and cart. There will be prizes and contests on the greens. Event sponsorships are available.

To hear the full WFIT Coastal Connection interview, visit https://www.wfit.org/podcast/coastal-connection/2023-03-27/women-in-defense-space-coast-offers-scholarship-to-women-in-stem-and-hosts-a-fundraiser-golf-tournament.

STEM Scholarship Awards Ceremony – June 15, 2023

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

Event sponsorships are available.

Since 2013, WIDSC has awarded over $75,000 in scholarships to women in Brevard County who have an interest in careers supporting all aspects of national security and defense. See more about STEM Scholarships.

More about our Featured Speaker…
Krista Dawson, PMP, is the Executive Director of Engineering Services with Axient‘s Civil Air and Space Segment. In this role, Krista provides program management support for multiple NASA and NOAA contracts at Goddard, Wallops, Johnson, and Armstrong Flight Research Center. She practices operational problem-solving for process improvement and efficiencies in support of Axient’s corporate development and strategic growth, as well as mentoring for students obtaining STEM degrees. Prior to this position with Axient, Krista worked in intelligent transportation systems for Roadway, in addition to electrical design and systems engineering for Exploration Ground Systems at Kennedy Space Center.
Krista earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering at the University of North Florida and her Master’s of Science in Industrial Engineering/Engineering Management at the University of Florida. She is a member of the National Space Club, Project Management Institute, and Women in Defense Space Coast Chapter. She also lends support to her local community as a volunteer with events such as Cocoa Beach Operation Surf, Surfers for Autism, beach clean-ups, and Space Coast Little League. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with family and friends, especially fishing with her husband and son.