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Valorie Wolcott Mendelson OSPA Scholarship


 OSPA announces

the 2020 recipients of the Valorie Wolcott-Mendelson OSPA Scholarship

  The VWM OSPA Scholarship Committee is pleased to have received numerous applications for the scholarships this year and is also extremely pleased that the amounts given out this year have been increased to $3,000.

Introduction of Madeline Gronotte

The seventeenth recipient of the OSPA Scholarship is a second- year student at the University of Dayton.  However, Madeline Gronotte completed her undergraduate work and received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from The Ohio State University.  As an undergraduate she received the Keith and Linda Monda International Experience Scholarship which allowed her to travel to New Delhi and Varanasi, India to study a multitude of religions, historical and contemporary elements of Indian culture.  She also received a STEP Fellowship which provided a fellowship to travel to Germany to explore the distinct history, culture and sport policy in Berlin and Cologne, Germany.  Both of these experiences have given Madeline, who hales from Evansville, Indiana,  the opportunity to view life from a different angle and deepened her ability to problem solve, which has come in handy for designing COVID compatible strategies to reach our students.  Prior to her graduate school experience, Madeline was a special needs Instructional Assistant at Oakland Park Elementary School in Columbus.  She assisted the primary teacher with classroom management and teaching academic curriculum.  She has also been a Behavior Intervention Aide at the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

 Madeline received her Master of Science in Education in August 2020 from the University of Dayton.  She is currently a graduate assistant working with the Montgomery County Educational Service Center in Dayton.  In that role she is working in the Social Emotional Learning Division team preparing materials for trainings and compiling training feedback.      She is a member of the School Psychologists of the University of Dayton and is a student member of both OSPA and NASP.  Elana Bernstein Ph.D., NCSP, the Assistant Professor in School Psychology at Dayton says this about Madeline: “Maddie is bright, hardworking, and kind.  She has shown commitment to the field and to our graduate program, building professional relationships within her cohort, as well as with local school districts in the Dayton area through her practica and graduate assistantship experiences.” 

Madeline says of herself that she chose to pursue a degree in school psychology because it will “ prepare me for a challenging yet fulfilling career and an opportunity to interact with and foster meaningful change for students from all walks of life. “  


Introduction of Kyanna Johnson

Our eighteenth recipient is a second- year student at The Ohio State University and a first-generation college graduate.    She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in Queens, New York.  Kyanna completed a double major in psychology and sociology while there and was admitted to Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology as well as Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Sociology.   

While at St. John’s Kyanna was a Research Assistant surveying preschool teacher’s emotions towards anger and other forms of negative feedback in the classroom.  During her time at St. John’s Kyanna also became a team leader at AmeriCorps: Jumpstart in Jamaica, New York.  She began by creating perso9nalized activities and lessons to engage young children in learning advanced vocabulary and reading concepts.  She assisted in the coordination of city-wide events and eventually supervised teams of college corps members doing volunteer service through an entire school year.  Kyanna also worked as an Activities Specialist Intern at the Zucker Hillside Hospital Psychiatric Rehab Center where she where she worked with outpatients and former patients in developing educational and self help skills. 

Also, while an undergraduate student Kyanna became a member of Best Buddies, New York, and assisted in the development of social skills in high school students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.   She continued to display her leadership qualities by co-founding and becoming the Executive Vice President of the Black Student Union at St. John’s.  As Executive Vice President she oversaw service events of the organization both on campus and within the local Black communities; hosted bi-weekly discussion meetings for Black students and faculty with topics regarding cultural discussion and political education; organized off-campus trips connected to the organization’s mission.

Ohio State was delighted that Kyanna accepted their invitation into the Ph.D. program focusing on urban and social justice.  OSU awarded her the University Graduate Enrichment Fellow for her first year.  She is currently working with teachers in the Columbus City Schools on both academic and behavioral interventions.

 Scott Graves, Ph.D.,  her advisor has said of her: “ Kyanna’s work ethic, intelligence, personality and desire to improve the wellbeing of children and adolescents makes her a worthy recipient of this scholarship.”

Kyanna wrote in her application:  “Embracing diversity is always easier said than done on a systemic levels, and I want to be able to challenge the schools that I work in in the future to strive for all forms of equity for marginalized children.”


The Ohio School Psychologist Association Scholarship was created by the Executive Board in 2006 and the first $1,000 scholarship was awarded in November 2008. In 2012 we increased the scholarship to $2,000 and in 2015 we were able to increase the number of scholarships to two.  We are pleased to announce that for 2020 we have increased the two scholarships to $3,000.

  This scholarship is funded through the support of our annual raffle at the Fall Conference in Columbus and generous gifts from OSPA members. In 2011 the OSPA Executive Board renamed the scholarship the Valorie Wolcott Mendelson OSPA Scholarship in honor of our first chair and the guiding force for this scholarship.

 From humble beginnings we have grown our funds through the greathearted donations of publishers who donate materials that school psychologists use; through the 9 Ohio universities where school psychologists are trained; by regional school psychologist associations who bring creative offerings that reflect their geographic/cultural traditions; from personal donations and from memorials.

The Scholarship Committee is very please to announce that the donations from the 2019 scholarship raffle and Past President’s Challenge totaled more than $7,200 and have allowed us to increase the amount of the scholarships for 2020.  No raffle was planned for the 2020 Fall Conference due to its virtual nature but donations are always welcome!  

 The funds have been invested and managed by The Columbus Foundation and now total more than $147,000. 

To date the Scholarship has given out $34,000.  Please see the list of recipients below

2008 Ryan Taylor Universisty of Toledo
2009 Amber Kokal Kent State University
2010 Autumn LaRich University of Dayton
2011 Morgan Jensen University of Dayton
2012 Diahana Davis Cleveland State
2013 Amy Bruno University of Miami
2014 Estafany Rodriguez Cleveland State
2015 Nicholas DeHoff University of Miami
  Kallie Pettiti Kent State University
2016 Alanna Bebech Youngstown State
  Selena Philson Ohio State University
2017 Chia Hong University of Miami
  Alex Passafiume Ohio State University
2018 Taylor Wohlgamuth University of Dayton
2019 Ashley George University of Miami
  Adam Zegarac Cleveland State
2020 Madeline Gronotte University of Dayton
  Kyanna Johnson Ohio State University


Invitation for Giving:

The Valorie Wolcott Mendelson OSPA Scholarship is a 501(c) (3).  Contributions are always welcome.  Please make check out to:  The Columbus Foundation with a notation that it is for the Valorie Wolcott Mendelson OSPA Scholarship - 2085. Please mail contributions to:

Alicia Szempruch
Scholarship Manager
The Columbus Foundation
1234 East Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43205-1453
Phone: 614/251-4000 Fax: 614/251-4010

Contributions may also be made on line at Click on Give Now.  Click on Search and Give by a Nonprofit  Then Type in Valorie Wolcott Mendelson OSPA Scholarship -2085. Thank you for considering a tax deductible donation to support the development of school psychologists in Ohio..

The Valorie Wolcott Mendelson OSPA Scholarship Award Recipients:

Thank you for all you have done to enhance the profession of School Psychology in the state of Ohio!  If you have any questions or concerns please contact: 

Juliette Madigan, Scholarship Chair