AXA Achievement℠ Announces Scholarship Winners

Scholarships Awarded to Students Passionate about Improving Education,
Community Outreach, Disease Prevention, and Environmental Research

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AXA, a financial protection and retirement industry leader, announced
today the 52 recipients of the 2016 AXA AchievementSM
Scholarship. Winners – known as AXA Achievers – are ambitious and
talented students who have demonstrated exemplary leadership skills and
a commitment to making a positive contribution to the world. Through
their outstanding achievements, these students are driving awareness and
innovation in such areas as education, community outreach, health,
disease prevention, and environmental research.

Every year, AXA awards 52 high school seniors – one from each state,
plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico – college scholarships of
$10,000. Of those 52 winners, 10 students are recognized as national
winners and receive an additional scholarship award of $15,000. AXA has
given more than $25 million in scholarships to more than 6,000 students
since the program’s inception in 2003.

“We are honored to recognize these students and celebrate the
contributions they have made through their extraordinary achievements,”
said Mark Pearson, director, president and CEO of AXA Financial. “This
year’s AXA Achievers are remarkable young people whose drive and
initiative to solve problems inspires them to innovate and create
positive change, and we are proud to help make college a reality for the
next generation of leaders.”

The 2016 national scholarship winners are:

Education Programs

  • Scott Forsythe, Huntington, IN
    Scott founded the Dyslexic
    Kids Support Organization
    , a global nonprofit that boasts over
    10,000 members in 74 countries, to help children and teens with
    dyslexia. The organization offers an annual conference with a focus on
    children and teens, free tutoring, support groups, and other resources.
  • Rachel Hunter, East Troy, WI
    Rachel founded FIRST Ladies,
    an organization for young women in STEM (Science, Technology,
    Engineering & Math) that offers a setting for girls to share their
    stories, support, and network with female professionals and other
    young women who share their interest in STEM. Today, there are over
    800 members in 20 different countries.

Community Outreach

  • Nicholas Lowinger, Cranston, RI
    In 2010, Nicholas started
    the Gotta Have Sole Foundation, a nonprofit that donates brand-new
    footwear to children in homeless shelters nationwide. By securing
    donations from his community and corporate footwear manufacturers,
    Nicholas distributed shoes to over 44,000 homeless youths in 106
    shelters in 43 states and has mobilized over 100 youth leaders across
    the U.S. who have established Gotta Have Sole clubs in their own
  • Grant Mercer, Marietta, GA
    In 2014, Grant started Building
    , a group that uses Legos to reach out to children living
    in homeless shelters. Every week, Grant brings Legos to shelters where
    he meets with 4-15 children and builds with them while discussing how
    math, history, and science relate to their Lego projects. Grant also
    collects Legos, repackages them in shoeboxes and gives them to the
    children so they can have their own Legos to create with.
  • Rashaud Red, Baton Rouge, LA
    Rashaud was the youngest
    speaker to participate in TEDxLSU 2015, the premiere TEDx event in the
    greater Baton Rouge area. TEDx events are focused on ideas and
    inspiring talks intended to spark deep discussion among participants.
    Rashaud’s TEDxLSU
    centered around his greatest achievement – the development
    and implementation of the I Am MORE initiative, which brings
    young people and police together for dialogue and joint collaboration
    on community projects. His initiative is being filmed as a documentary
    and is slated to reach 60 schools in Louisiana.
  • Reagan Roy, Louisville, KY
    Over a two year period, Reagan
    established community vegetable gardens to change the way people eat
    and to fight the rise in obesity, especially among African American
    children and adults. He worked in low-income communities where
    families could not afford to buy fresh vegetables. Within two years,
    Reagan had five community gardens open to the public with the help of
    a host of volunteers.

Health Innovations and Disease Prevention

  • Sophia Lee, Wexford, PA
    Sophia conducted bioinformatics
    research on mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that affects the lining
    of the lungs. She discovered cancer genes that can be used for
    targeted drug treatment. Sophia is the lead author of a paper accepted
    for publication by the Journal of Pathology Informatics, which
    identifies a possible mutation that may be present in mesothelioma
    cancer cells and could be used for early detection and treatment.
  • Tejal Patwardhan, Chapel Hill, NC
    Inspired by family
    relations to Autism Spectrum Disorder, Tejal came up with the idea of
    a technological communication aid for those on the Autism Spectrum,
    initiating a team to develop the device. Based on an algorithm she
    helped create, the device assists users in detecting emotional cues
    during speech to decrease conversational misunderstanding. The device
    is now supported by the president of the Autism Science Foundation.
  • Kenneth Shinozuka, New York, NY
    Kenneth invented SafeWander,
    a low-cost wearable sensor that sends an alert to a caregiver’s
    mobile device when a loved one or a patient gets up from a bed or
    chair. Kenneth also founded a start-up to provide SafeWander to
    those in need. In 2014, Kenneth presented a TED
    about his invention and how it helped keep his grandfather,
    who has Alzheimer’s, safe. In addition, Kenneth is part of the Cadillac
    Dare Greatly
    campaign, which celebrates “distinguished design and
    innovations that…inspire [the world] as we shape our future.”

Environmental Research

  • Martin Blair, Phoenix, AZ
    Martin started the Sustainable
    Transportation Initiative
    to reduce the carbon emissions of the
    Bioscience High School community. He designed and built a hybrid
    electric vehicle, launched community-based challenges and constructed
    electric bikes that were made available to the community. Through
    Martin’s initiative, the school saw a significant decrease in its
    carbon emission.

Through AXA Achievement, which encompasses the AXA AchievementSM
Scholarship (52 scholarships including the 10 national winners) and the
AXA AchievementSM Community Scholarship (up to 375
scholarships), AXA awards more than $1.4 million every year, making AXA
one of the nation’s largest corporate providers of scholarships. AXA
also offers financial education services to provide comprehensive
resources for students and parents planning for college

For more information on AXA Achievement, including a full list of
our winners, visit the AXA
Foundation page
. Find AXA on Facebook,
and LinkedIn.

About AXA Foundation

directs the company’s philanthropic and volunteer
activities, working to improve the quality of life in communities across
the United States where AXA has a presence. The AXA Foundation’s
multifaceted signature program, AXA AchievementSM, supports
the company’s strong commitment to Corporate Responsibility and AXA
Group’s flagship theme of “Risk Research and Education,” by providing
America’s youth with access and advice to help them succeed in college
and beyond. Since its inception, AXA Achievement has awarded over
$25 million in college scholarships to more than 6,000 students, known
as AXA Achievers.

For more information go to or AXA’s
Facebook page

About AXA

“AXA” is a brand name of AXA Equitable Financial Services, LLC and its
family of companies, including AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company
(NY,NY), MONY Life Insurance Company of America (AZ stock company,
administrative office: Jersey City, NJ), AXA Advisors, LLC, and AXA
Distributors, LLC. In business since 1859, AXA is a leading financial
protection company and one of the nation’s premier providers of life
employee benefits and financial products and services distributed to
individuals and business owners through its retail distribution channel,
AXA Advisors, LLC (member FINRA, SIPC) and to the financial services
market through its wholesale distribution channel, AXA Distributors, LLC.

AXA S.A. is a Paris-headquartered holding company for a group of
international insurance and financial services companies, including AXA
Equitable Financial Services, LLC companies. AXA S.A. is a worldwide
leader in financial protection strategies and wealth management with 102
million clients in 56 countries as of December 31, 2013.

The obligations of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company and MONY Life
Insurance Company of America are backed solely by their claims-paying


Jennifer Recine, 212-314-2009
McGroarty, 212-314-2485