AWI Scholarship Winners Dream Big on Behalf of Animals

A teenager looks at her laptop while petting a cat.
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Washington, DC—The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) announced today the 14 winners of a scholarship designed to support high school seniors who are planning to use their post-secondary education to better the lives of animals.

The Animal Welfare Institute Scholarship program, now in its fourth year, recognizes students in the United States who are actively involved in helping animals in their schools or communities and plan to continue working on behalf of animals in college and beyond. The 14 winners, selected from a record number of applications this year, will each receive $3,000 to use toward post-secondary education expenses.

“AWI is proud to support these amazing young advocates as they pursue higher education and continue working to improve the lives of animals,” said Susan Millward, AWI’s executive director. “This year’s winners have an impressive history of volunteerism both inside and outside of school, and have demonstrated a firm grasp of the issues surrounding human-inflicted animal suffering. We congratulate these exemplary students.”

Applicants have started school clubs focused on animal welfare, worked at animal sanctuaries, created a humane education library, and campaigned to save a state park, among other activities. They include future pre-vet majors, as well as aspiring biologists, environmental scientists, zoologists, wildlife rehabilitators, and nonprofit leaders. Their long-term goals—from restoring damaged ocean areas to expanding affordable veterinary care for rescue facilities—are as varied as their career interests. But all are focused on making animals’ lives better.

The 2023 Animal Welfare Institute Scholarship winners are:

Ava Banfich, Division Avenue High School, New York; Ella Claffey-Hesseltine, Newington High School, Connecticut; Daniel Driessen, Union Pines High School, North Carolina; Grace Hannah, Brookville Area High School, Pennsylvania; Liam Hopkins, Green Mountain High School, Colorado; Madison Kossow, Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory, Florida; Jae Lieberman, Pace Academy, Georgia; Iris Price, Grapevine High School, Texas; Riley Ramirez, Stockdale High School, California; Amy Sheehan, Pascack Hills High School, New Jersey; Cora Steichen, Bedford High School, New Hampshire; Mystique Stueck, Destinations Career Academy of Wisconsin; Samantha Thurston, River Falls High School, Wisconsin; and Haley Van Sloten, Rodriguez High School, California.

In addition to the scholarship program, AWI, in partnership with the Humane Education Network, holds an annual “A Voice for Animals” competition. High school students from all over the world are awarded cash prizes for essays, photo essays, or videos that examine animal suffering and present viable solutions. The deadline for contest applications this year is May 21, 2023.

Media Contact Information

Marjorie Fishman, Animal Welfare Institute
[email protected], (202) 446-2128

The Animal Welfare Institute ( is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates and other important animal protection news.