The first Pat Brister Leadership Fellowship was awarded to Dara Cutrer, a single mother and biology student at the University of Southeast Louisiana. The $ 2,500 award, funded in honor of former St. Tammany Parish President, was presented on December 6 for Brister’s birthday by the Northshore Community Foundation.
The scholarship provides a woman in St. Tammany with money to help her engage in transformational training for personal and / or professional development to better enable her to have an impact on the North Shore and on the – beyond, said the foundation.
Cutrer, a Madisonville resident and single mother of two, is in her third semester of work towards a degree in Biological Sciences, with a concentration in Ecology, Environmental and Evolutionary Biology. She hopes to use her bachelor’s degree to work directly on the impacts of climate change in the areas of coastal restoration; invasive species research; and air, water and soil security along the coast and in rural areas.
âI am so grateful to receive this award and I feel supported by an incredible organization. I am touched because I know Ms. Brister’s work and what she has done for women (for years) and the improvements she fought for in the community we share. She was truly inspiring and being the first recipient of such a special scholarship is touching and I am totally moved, âsaid Cutrer. âGod always provides and something always gives. The support I feel right now motivates me to keep moving forward.
Brister was a leader, role model and advocate for the people and causes that have fascinated her throughout her life, according to the Northshore Foundation, and she recognized the value of experiences outside of a traditional educational path, to develop leadership skills and create opportunities for professionals and personal growth and impact. The purpose of this scholarship is to support and encourage the women of St. Tammany who aspire to learn, use and make themselves and their world a better place.
âPat recognized that her professional success also stemmed from education and various life experiences, and I am so proud that our foundation honors her legacy in a way that will give Dara the opportunity to develop her personal strengths that serve herself, her family and her community, âsaid Susan Bonnett Bourgeois, CEO of the Foundation.
As a board member first, then ward president for two terms, Brister dedicated the last decade of her life to St. Tammany and volunteered her time on more than 20 volunteer boards and commissions. Her commitment to women’s causes was best recognized when she was appointed Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. With that in mind, Brister’s colleagues at Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas have partnered with the Northshore Foundation to honor Brister’s legacy of leadership and service through these donations on his behalf.
The next round of Pat Brister Leadership Fellowships will open this summer. The Northshore Community Foundation was founded 15 years ago to unite human and financial resources to improve the quality of life on the North Shore. Since then, the foundation says it has moved more than $ 61 million in âphilanthropic fuelâ across the region. Visit NorthshoreFoundation.org to learn more about their scholarship and grant programs.