Zeta Phi Beta Sorority’s National Educational Foundation Awards Historic $125,000 Founders’ Centennial Scholarship

Janae Smith-Williams was awarded $125,000 as the recipient of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.’s Triumphant Founder Pearl Anna Neal Centennial Scholarship. The student athlete was chosen from more than 5000 graduating seniors across the U.S. and now attends Macalester College as a psychology major.

On December 1, 2021, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, an international women’s service organization, and the Zeta National Educational Foundation, Inc. (ZNEF) announced that Janae Smith-Williams was awarded $125,000 as the recipient of its Triumphant Founder Pearl Anna Neal Centennial Scholarship. Applications for ZNEF 2022 scholarships for high school seniors, college and graduate students will open tomorrow, Dec. 2, 2021 at

Smith-Williams, a 2021 graduate of Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, DE was chosen from more than 5000 graduating seniors across the U.S. Born deaf, she overcame a difficult childhood and myriad communication challenges while maintaining a 3.68 GPA as a student athlete on both the cross country and soccer teams. Additionally, she was a member of the National Honors Society and Howard Mock Trial Club, and a committed volunteer within the deaf community.

Currently, Smith-Williams is a psychology major at Macalester College in Minnesota and plans to become a youth mental health counselor. “With this scholarship, it is our hope that Ms. Smith-Williams will achieve her dream to shatter the stereotypical belief that deaf persons are inferior, and use her strength and resiliency to impact the lives of our youth,” said Valerie Hollingsworth Baker, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated president.

Through scholarships funded by its chapters, Zeta has given more than $4 million in the past five years to help students, like Smith-Williams, achieve their college dreams. “Janea’s strength, perservance, commitment to community, and academic achievement exemplifies the spirit of Zeta’s founders. I know she is destined for greatness and will certainly make ZNEF proud,” said Dr. JacQueline Lawton, ZNEF chairperson.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated was founded January 16, 1920 on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. The sorority has initiated a diverse membership of more than 125,000 college-educated women with more than 855 chapters in North AmericaEuropeAsia, the CaribbeanAfrica and the Middle East. The Founders’ Centennial Scholarship will be awarded annually for five consecutive years in honor of the sorority’s five founding members. This year’s scholarship was named after the second Zeta Founder, Pearl Anna Neal.

SOURCE Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

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