MADW Sue Shelton White Scholarship Applicant Eligibility and Criteria:

The scholarship is open to women who are nontraditional students residing within the West Tennessee counties of Madison, Lake, Obion, Weakley, Henry, Gibson, Dyer, Benton, Carroll, Haywood, Lauderdale, Crockett, Henderson, Chester, Decatur, Hardin, McNairy, Hardeman, Fayette, and Tipton. A nontraditional student is one who did not immediately continue her education after graduating from high school or receiving her GED, or a student who is returning to college after a break in post-secondary enrollment. For purposes of this scholarship, weighted consideration will be given to applicant who also meets the following financial and family status standards:

  • Works full- or part-time while enrolled in school;
  • Is financially independent from her parents or guardian (as defined by tax status);
  • Has dependents other than a spouse (usually children, but may also be a caregiver of sick or elderly family members).


In September 1923, Sue Shelton White gave an important speech as principal speaker at an equal rights pageant, which was then being held to celebrate the first women's rights convention 75 years before, in 1848. Her forceful words were credited with calling her fellow suffragists to action as she asked:

How much do you value that which has been accomplished for women in the past 75 years? How precious to your little daughter is the heritage that is hers? How much do you desire that the yolk shall be entirely lifted? Women must be freed of their subjection whatever the cost. What you can give here today will measure the length of the next step to be taken and (will) register your individual response to the appeal of women for unhampered lives.”

Using White’s words as inspiration, please write a single 500-word essay that discusses these three things:

  • The women you have valued in your life;
  • Goals you hope to accomplish with your education that will be a positive influence for girls and other women;
  • How the Sue Shelton White Scholarship will enable you to take that next step to your future.

Please do not include your name or other personally identifying information in the body of the essay so that we may maintain objectivity amongst the scholarship award judges.

Download the Eligibility and Criteria guidelines and the Application here:

Apply online here: