MUW Alumni Association

Winners of Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association scholarships have been announced for the 2023-24 academic year.

“All year long, our alumni work hard to raise funds to support these scholarships, and it is always inspiring to hear about the students who earn them. This year we are especially excited to award the First Generation Scholarship for the first time,” said Heather Fasciocco Stone, MUWAA president. “We wish the students receiving the Culinary Arts Advisory Board Scholarship, Legacy Scholarship, Southern Grace Scholarship and First Generation Scholarship the very best during their time at The W and look forward to the day they join us in the Long Blue Line.”

Throughout the year, MUWAA members raise funds to endow scholarships through annual events and giving opportunities. These efforts have resulted in W students having the lowest rate of student debt among students in Mississippi’s public universities. Up to 95% of W students receive financial aid, according to The W’s Office of Admissions.

The scholarship recipients include:

Culinary Arts Advisory Board Scholarship – Rachael Prather


The winner of this year’s Culinary Arts Advisory Board Scholarship is Rachael Prather from Oxford. She graduated in May 2023 from Oxford High School and entered The W as an incoming freshman this fall. Prather started her own cake company in 2017 called Tokens of Confection, where she has already gained experience in decorating and baking, as well as the ins and outs of running a business. Believing that the kitchen is the heart and soul of a home, she is excited to continue learning more in her time at the culinary arts program. She plans to open her own restaurant and provide food that brings people together and offers the joy of a kitchen to all.

Legacy Scholarship – Katelyn Francisco


Katelyn Francisco of Caledonia was awarded this year’s Legacy Scholarship. She graduated this past spring from Caledonia High School and joined the women’s soccer team as an incoming freshman this fall. Francisco was excited by the unique opportunities that The W provided by combining academic rigor with the ability to join an excellent soccer program. She was also inspired by her aunt, Jennifer (Collins) (O’Steen) Burt, ’96, who attended The W in the 1990s. Francisco describes herself as a lifetime soccer player and has participated on both club and school soccer teams over the years. She also enjoys working with computers and coding and hopes to one day pursue these passions by going into computer programming or software engineering.

Southern Grace Scholarship – Laura MacClellan


This year’s winner of the Southern Grace award is Laura MacLellan. Both of Laura’s parents are proud W alumni, James MacLellan and Elysa Harvey MacLellan. MacLellan was born in central Mississippi and moved to Eswatini, Africa, for seven years beginning in 2013. In 2020, she moved back to the States with her family, and they made Pascagoula their new home. MacLellan earned her associate’s degree in Culinary Arts from East Mississippi Community College in May 2022 and started classes at The W in August 2022. She plans to graduate with her Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Administration-Culinary Arts in May 2024. She has been an active member of The W community as a member of both the Rogue Social Club and Maskers Honorary Social Club. At the end of her first year at The W, she was named Overall Outstanding Student for students in the Bachelor of Applied Science program for 2022-23.

First Generation Scholarship – Victor Ordonez


Victor Ordonez of Olanchito, Honduras, is this year’s recipient of the First Generation Scholarship. Ordonez comes to The W after a successful tenure as a student at Northwest Mississippi Community College, where he was recognized as part of the Hall of Fame for his academic and leadership achievements. In Honduras, Ordonez was ranked in the top three students of his local school. He is a passionate student and joined The W’s widely recognized nursing program this fall. When he’s not studying, he is passionate about capturing moments as a professional photographer who loves travel, exploring new cultures and broadening his horizons.

The MUW Alumni Association supports these scholarships through gifts from W graduates and supporters of the university. To contribute toward these efforts, visit


About the Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association

The Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association exists to support and promote the mission of Mississippi University for Women while providing alumni engagement opportunities as the university’s officially affiliated alumni organization. To learn more about the MUWAA or to join, visit

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.