Kent State Student With Down Syndrome Awarded Ruby’s Rainbow Scholarship

Kent State University student and Medina resident Erin Hawley is the 2016 recipient of a $3,000 Ruby’s Rainbow scholarship. Ruby’s Rainbow grants scholarships to adults with Down syndrome who are seeking post-secondary education, enrichment or vocational classes. In the last five years, Ruby’s Rainbow has granted $290,000 in scholarship funds to more than 100 people, helping people with Down syndrome pursue their dreams of higher education and independence.

Hawley is attending her sophomore year at Kent State, and is studying in the Career and Community Studies program. The Career and Community Studies program is a college-based, transition, nondegree program to prepare students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury and autism for adult life through academic pursuits, peer socialization, and career discovery and preparation. The program integrates inclusive classes, a typical college experience and a transition curriculum to assist students in achieving adult roles and a quality of life in a community of their choice.

Hawley lives in an on-campus residence hall during the school year, enjoys listening to country music, singing karaoke with friends and playing a variety of sports, such as cheerleading, golf and horseback riding. However, nothing compares to her new favorite hobby, which is caring for her new nephew, Jack.

“Erin is a stellar example of a student who applies tremendous effort into achieving academic, independent living and career goals that will help her to transition successfully into adult life,” says Yvonne Michali, Ph.D., director of program development for the Career and Community Studies program. “She studies hard and is learning how to be a self-determined person who can problem-solve, make good decisions and advocate for what she wants to do in life.”

For more information about Kent State’s Career and Community Studies program, visit

POSTED: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 12:08pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 12:09pm