Right to Work Scholarships Awarded

The National Institute for Labor Relations Research has announced the winners of its two annual essay contests on the Right to Work issue, the William B. Ruggles Journalism Scholarship and the Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teachers Scholarship.

Valerie Bischoff, currently a first-year graduate student at Columbia University School of the Arts, was awarded $2,000 as the 2008 recipient of the William B. Ruggles Journalism Scholarship. Majoring in Film Writing and Directing, Mrs. Bischoff is a 2006-2007 Fulbright Scholar, who has won several other awards including Honors in her undergraduate major, Film and Digital Media, at the University of Santa Cruz. Valerie’s essay reflected how the positive experience of living in a Right to Work state, Nevada, allows her to pursue her educational and career goals. As she concluded:

. . . [T]he right to unionize should be one of our fundamental freedoms. However, the validity of this right can only be realized if the members of the union are involved because of choice. Thankfully, in twenty-two states, a Right to Work law protects this freedom.

Lisa Bishara, beginning her first year as a graduate student at Ohio State University, took top honors in the Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teachers Scholarship. Mrs. Bishara was awarded $1,000 for her prize-winning essay on the vital importance of teachers’ academic freedom and the Right to Work. As an Elementary/Secondary Curriculum and Administration major, Mrs. Bishara plans to become a curriculum specialist with a defined emphasis on the creative arts. As she explained:

. . . We teach that everyone has choices in all that they do. Children are required to serve consequences for their poor choices, and are rewarded for their superior choices. We teach nonconformity, “If your friends jumped off the highest bridge, does that make it the right choice for you?” No, this is not an acceptable answer. We teach that it is important for the child to opt for traveling their own course regardless of that his or her peers take. How, then, are we to allow ourselves to be forced into compulsory unionization? It is important to support voluntary unionism, which emphasizes the importance of choice.