Charter Oak Awards $90,000 in College Scholarships

Brian A. Orenstein, Charter Oak Federal Credit Union President and Chief Executive Officer, and Joyce Gresh, Supervisory Committee Chairperson, presented 45 college scholarships totaling $90,000 during the credit union’s annual scholarship reception on May 29th.

For five consecutive years, the credit union has recognized the achievements of students throughout New London and Windham counties via its $90,000 scholarship giveaway, and has rewarded 221 students with scholarships totaling $442,000 during that time. Students vying for Charter Oak’s annual scholarships are required to submit a brief essay, in addition to highlighting their academic, athletic, and community accomplishments. 

Charter Oak’s scholarship program is notable throughout the region for its guarantee to award one $2,000 college scholarship to one college-bound senior at each high school within New London and Windham counties with an attendance of at least 100 students. Additional scholarships are given to students already enrolled in college. Recipients of Charter Oak’s scholarships tend to excel academically and most importantly take an active role in supporting local community initiatives.

This year’s high school student award winners include (sorted by school): Ryan Konon, Bacon Academy; Zachary Aquino, East Lyme High School; Daven Roberts, East Lyme High School; Lucy Driscoll, Ella T. Grasso Technical High School; Caitlyn Shetland, Griswold High School; Allia Izzarelli, Griswold High School; Bryce DonFrancisco, H.H. Ellis Technical High School; Melanie Straub, Killingly High School; Emily Watling, Killingly High School; Marissa Archer, Ledyard High School; Mikayla Fors, Ledyard High School; Madison Murphy, Lyman Memorial High School; Noah Rumm, Lyme-Old Lyme High School; Hannah Casey, Marine Science Magnet High School; Emma Giurleo, Montville High School; Rachel Liang, Montville High School; Mackenzie Ullrich, Montville High School; Taylin Santiago, New London High School; Nathaniel Crary, Norwich Free Academy; Liliana Lorenzo Concepcion, Norwich Free Academy; Justin Relaz, Norwich Technical High School; Katelyn Benito, Parish Hill High School; Emily Moran, Plainfield High School; Brandon Griffin, Pomfret School; Kayla Anderson, Putnam High School; Megan Clabby, Robert E. Fitch High School; John Marcolina, Robert E. Fitch High School; Cole Potts, Saint Bernard High School; Connor Naslund, Stonington High School; Emma Sabbadini, Stonington High School; Lauren Semancik, The Woodstock Academy; Travis Gladstone, Waterford High School; Julia Karlberg, Waterford High School; Sophia Kasem-Beg, Waterford High School; and Valerie Knowles, Wheeler High School.

Applicants not attending a qualified high school but who are members of the credit union were also eligible to apply. Winners in this category include Makayla Arriaga, University of Connecticut; Nina Bentley, Siena College; Veronica Dinneen, University of Rhode Island; Autumn Gardner, Three Rivers Community College; Allynna Grills, Springfield College; Hannah Meyers, Quinnipiac Law School; Ryan Schantz, Home Schooled; Jaden Stefanski, Fairfield University; Kailey Sullivan, Bentley University; and Nick Tibbetts, Yale University.

In addition to Charter Oak’s $90,000 scholarship giveaway, its employees awarded two separate scholarships through the employee-funded Community Outreach Program. Julian Faulk, a student at the University of Vermont, was awarded the $2,000 Community Outreach Memorial Scholarship, and Julianna Gray of Waterford High School was awarded the $2,000 Louise Jackson Community Outreach Scholarship.

Charter Oak awards scholarships on an annual basis and will begin accepting applications again in January 2020 for the 2020-2021 school year. Since the inception of Charter Oak’s Community Giving Program in 2009, the credit union has awarded more than $2.75 million in donations back to the community via its channels of giving which include scholarships, sponsorships, grants, and matching gifts. To learn more about the credit union’s philanthropic efforts, visit

About Charter Oak
Charter Oak is eastern Connecticut’s largest credit union with assets of $1.15 billion as of March 31, 2019. Charter Oak has an expansive and convenient network of 16 branches serving New London and Windham counties, providing one of the largest and most convenient branch networks of any financial institution serving eastern Connecticut. For more information about Charter Oak’s broad range of products and services, please visit any of our convenient branches, or visit our website at, or call our Contact Center at 860.446.8085 or 800.962.3237. Federally insured by NCUA. Equal Housing Lender.
Charter Oak Federal Credit Union is like a bank, just better! We’ve been proudly serving eastern Connecticut since 1939 and we offer great checking, deposit, lending, insurance and investment products. And because we’re a credit union, we’re owned by our members, not by shareholders. So we can offer lower rates on loans and higher rates on deposits. It’s easy to become a Charter Oak member: simply live, work, worship, learn, or volunteer in New London or Windham counties. So join today and see why Members Bank Better at Charter Oak!