2023 Stein Family Scholarship Winner: John Weber Williamson

by | May 4, 2023 | Trending News

The annual Stein Family College Scholarship of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation is awarded this year to John Weber Williamson, a senior at Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake.

Williamson is the 16th recipient of the four-year scholarship, which provides up to $20,000 per year to a Jewish student in Tidewater. The scholarship was established in 2009 in memory of Arlene Stein, who did not complete college because of financial hardship. Arlene passed away in 2007 and Jerry Stein, her beloved husband, in 2014. TJF works closely with the Stein family each year to administer the scholarship.

Williamson will attend Old Dominion University, majoring in psychology with a focus on cognitive and clinical psychology. He says he plans to focus on early diagnosis and early intervention for children with special needs. Having two older brothers with autism, Williamson has experienced how early detection of special needs can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life.

Among his honors and activities, Williamson was recently inducted into the National Honor Society, where volunteerism is required and encouraged. While volunteering at Ohef Sholom Temple and its Religious School are some of his favorite acts of service, it was the experiences and opportunities from being a member of the school marching band for four years that has allowed Williamson to volunteer across many sectors in the community – from environmental causes such as Clean the Bay Days to community health initiatives such as blood drives. Being active and involved in the community is where Williamson thrives.

Without the Stein Family Scholarship, Williamson says he would have been a commuter student, unable to immerse himself fully in the campus community. Instead, he will now be able to take advantage of ODU’s recent invitation to join the Living-Learning Community, a program that allows him to live and engage with other students with similar academic and professional interests, while helping students manage college transition, academic focus, and social-emotional wellness.

When asked about his key to success, Williamson says, “Do not be afraid to do what you love and are passionate about, even if others don’t agree. Your passion will keep you motivated!”

Prior recipients of the scholarship include Morgan Conley (Brandeis University ’13), Eric Smith (University of Virginia ’14), Marissa Arager (George Mason University ’15), Avi Malkin (College of William and Mary ’16), Dinar Yusufov (James Madison University ’17), Amanda Gladstone (Virginia Tech ’18), Dana Cohen (Virginia Tech ’19), Brett Pomerantz (Virginia Tech ’20), Sydney Levine (University of Virginia ’21), and Lucie Waldman (Old Dominion University), Faith White (Kent State University ’23), Emily Myers (Shenandoah University, ‘24), Danial Watts (Virginia Tech ‘25) and Leia Morrisey (University of Virginia ’26).

For more information and to apply for next year’s Stein Family College Scholarship, contact Ann Swindell, Tidewater Jewish Foundation donor relations and grant manager, at aswindell@ujft.org or 757-965-6111.