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Past Scholarship Winners

Students who have been awarded scholarships share their thanks and photos.



Photo of recipient, Lauren LagunovichPlease accept my sincere gratitude for selecting me as the first recipient of the Robin Shari Parker HAPPI Foundation Scholarship.  It is truly an honor.  My passion for this field has been solidified by the caring and knowledgeable professors that I have connected with since beginning my journey at Nova Southeastern University. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

As my time at Nova is quickly coming to an end, the scholarship will allow me to complete my studies this summer.  I am currently placed in a middle school environment enjoying every moment assisting students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  It is my hope to continue working with this population of students. 

Again, thank you for honoring me with this prestigious award.


Lauren Lagunovich

Nova Southeastern University, SLP Graduate Student

It is truly an honor and a privilege to be selected as the recipient for the Joseph Gonzalez Memorial scholarship. I appreciate you for recognizing my hard work and dedication as I am working to enter the field of speech language pathology. I currently work multiple jobs, working long hours to pay tuition independently, without the support of financial aid. This scholarship will alleviate the tuition stress that rolls around every semester. I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead as I enter clinicals and externships. I appreciate the support that NOVA Southeastern University has provided me.


April Curlee

About April:

With a Bachelors Degree in elementary education, I taught in a public school system for 11 years, teaching 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades. During my teaching career I continued my education by completing a Masters in Education, a ED.S in Educational Leadership, an ESOL endorsement and a Educational Supervision. I was nominated for teacher of the year, served as chairman of my grade level, piloted new reading and math software and instructed my coworkers how to implement it and was a teacher representative for special education parent-teacher conferences. I would translate English to Spanish during the conferences and worked closely with the speech language pathologists to secure services for students as needed. This is when I realized that I wanted to do more with and for students to help ensure that they received the appropriate speech services needed.

I decided to take a break from teaching and became a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines which provided a more flexible schedule for me to enroll in NSU’s Speech Language Pathology program. I work long hours to pay tuition independently, without the help of financial aid. With only four semesters remaining in the program and full time externships coming up, receiving the Joesph Gonzales Memorial scholarship will help alleviate the stress of tuition payments. Because of my background in elementary education, upon graduation, I would like to work with pediatric and/or student populations.


Originally, Carly is from Orlando, FL. She now lives in El Paso, Texas as her husband is currently stationed at Fort Bliss. Carly enjoys spending time with her German Shepherd and 2 cats, cooking, and doing yoga. While the military lifestyle can be difficult, she enjoys living and traveling across the U.S. She writes:

To the Robin Shari Parker HAPPi Foundation’s Board of Directors:

Words cannot express the immense gratitude I feel for receiving this scholarship. I am deeply
humbled to be a recipient of the Robin Shari Parker HAPPi Foundation scholarship, and to even
be associated with Dr. Parker’s extraordinary work in the field of autism spectrum disorders.
Like Dr. Parker, I also attended Florida State University for my bachelor’s degree in
Communication Sciences and Disorders. Additionally, I briefly worked alongside Dr. Amy
Wetherby, whom instilled within me a passion for working with individuals with autism. I am
also an avid reader of the PrAACtical AAC blog due to its invaluable information regarding
AAC implementation and strategies.

I want to extend a sincere thank you to this Foundation. Not only does it provide invaluable
education and resources related to autism spectrum, it also increases awareness of pancreatic
cancer. As an individual whose family was directly affected by both pancreatic cancer and
autism, I understand firsthand how devastating these ailments can be to individuals and families.
Given my family history, I strive to help families affected and educate the public. Pancreatic
cancer is a vile disease and autism spectrum disorders add immense stress to family units; my
prayers go out to those affected.

Going forward in my career, I hope to work with military families afflicted by autism spectrum
disorders. Given that my husband is in the Army, I have been made aware of the lack of support
military families receive financially, emotionally, and educationally in this area. Due to constant
cross-country moving, it’s difficult for these families to establish a solid support network. This
lack of support impedes on progress, specifically for children on the spectrum. I wish to be a
solid support system for those in need by offering education, resources, and emotional support.
Although Dr. Parker’s time on earth was cut short, her legacy continues in the field of speech-language
pathology. Dr. Parker’s research will continue to provide vast insight and knowledge
for years to come. I can only hope to impact as many lives as she did.

It is an incredible honor to be associated with the Robin Shari Parker HAPPi Foundation. Thank
you for this generous opportunity!

Carly Finocchio

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