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Amanda J. Mierzwa Memorial Fund

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The Amanda J. Mierzwa Memorial Fund, established in 2017, is a tribute to a wonderful woman and brilliant scientist.  Distributions are awarded annually to a female graduate of a Jackson County, Michigan high school who is majoring in a STEM discipline at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor.  As a general guideline, recipients will have demonstrated excellent performance in their academic career as well as participation in activities contributing to the betterment of society.

About Amanda

Starting in her toddler years, it was clear that Amanda was destined to be a scientist of some type.  She had a tremendous curiosity for the world around her and loved to experiment.  Her most renowned science project growing up involved nearly two dozen human molars, each soaking in its own petri dish with some form of treatment condition (e.g., citrus juice, soda, etc), while she diligently made and recorded daily observations of the effects of each treatment.  She did not have to worry about anyone invading her bedroom during that whole project!

Amanda grew up in Parma, Michigan and was a graduate of Jackson County Western High School, where she was valedictorian of her class.  She earned a bachelor of science in biochemistry from her beloved University of Michigan and a PhD in neuroscience from the New York University School of Medicine.  At the time of her passing at age 34, Amanda was fulfilling her destiny as a research scientist doing primary research in traumatic brain injury at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.  She published numerous academic research papers in various scientific journals.

Amanda cherished her Jason, whom she met while in graduate school in Manhattan.  She was more than a little annoyed one Saturday when he made plans that would have her miss watching the Michigan vs Notre Dame football game. Jason, however, redeemed himself that day when he proposed to her exactly 18 months after their first date.  They enjoyed an extraordinary honeymoon traveling to exotic locations in Europe and the Middle East.  Back in Manhattan, they enjoyed all the city had to offer, especially walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and eating pizza.

In 2009, Amanda accepted a post-doctoral position at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.  She and Jason bought a house in Silver Spring, Maryland and adopted two bichons, Maize and Blue.  Her proudest accomplishment was becoming a mother to Katie in 2011.  Her little Katie was the center of Amanda’s life and brought her much joy every day in simple ways like comments made while driving to and from school, making dinner together, playing in the park, watching Disney movies, reading books, and “nuggling” every night before bedtime. Amanda took great pride in each of Katie’s new accomplishments whether it be learning to print her own name, ride a bike, swim all by herself, or mastering a new skill at gymnastics.

Amanda was an avid sports fan and saved her greatest devotion for the Michigan Wolverines and Detroit Tigers.  She was always well-prepared to discuss current events.  She also enjoyed the theater, concerts, opera, ballet, playing her piano, golfing, swimming, gardening, highly competitive board games, reading, and running half-marathons.

Amanda had an indomitable spirit and incredibly strong will.  She also possessed a very kind heart and blessed many family members and friends with her thoughtful gestures.  Her mantra for her last two and a half years was “I’m not done yet. I choose life.”

The Amanda J. Mierzwa Memorial Scholarship will help her legacy live on by assisting other wonderful young women from Jackson County in their pursuit of an education in the STEM disciplines.

2018 Awardees

  • Rachel Rudd, Columbia Central High School 2016 — $1,500 renewal scholarship
  • Alexandra Nelson, Lumen Christi High School 2017 — $1,000 renewal scholarship
  • Phoebe Miller, Grass Lake High School 2018 — $1,500 scholarship
  • Olivia Rodriguez, Western High School 2018 — $1,000 scholarship
  • Madison Maynard, Grass Lake High School 2018 — $1,000 scholarship
  • Karsen McCord, Lumen Christi High School 2018 — $750 scholarship
  • Taeah Hammond, Western High School 2018 — $750 scholarship

2017 Awardees

  • Katelyn Gebhardt, Western High School 2016 — $1,500 scholarship.
  • Rachel Rudd, Columbia Central High School 2016 — $1,250 scholarship.
  • Alexandra Nelson, Lumen Christi High School 2017 — $1,000 scholarship.

Fund Administrators

  • Terry & Sue Mierzwa
  • Jessica Mierzwa Ferri


CharitySmith accepts donations in two ways:

By Mail:
Amanda J. Mierzwa Memorial Fund
CharitySmith Nonprofit Foundation
13100 Filly Lane
Truckee, CA 96161
Use credit card by clicking the link below.
Donate To Fund

The above Memorial Fund is established as a division of Charitysmith Nonprofit Foundation (EIN 87-0636433). All donations are tax deductible in accordance with federal tax law. Receipts for tax purposes are sent via US Mail within two weeks of donation. Please consider asking if your employer participates in a gift-matching program. If so, your donation may be matched by your employer.

For questions regarding your donation or this memorial fund please contact CharitySmith.