The Guttmacher Institute is pleased to announce Molly Kelly as the recipient of the 2017 Cory L. Richards Memorial Scholarship. Ms. Kelly, who was chosen from an exceptionally strong pool of more than 140 candidates, will use the scholarship to complete her Master’s degree in public policy with a concentration in women’s studies at George Washington University.

Through her graduate studies, Ms. Kelly is building her research skills and focusing on understanding the links between women’s socioeconomic status and their sexual and reproductive health. Her passion for this work is rooted in her own life experiences. Reflecting on the scholarship, Ms. Kelly said, “As a young woman from a blue-collar background, I come from a long line of strong, intelligent women who never had the financial or social resources to pursue higher education. This scholarship will enable me to reduce the burden of student loan debt while I pursue my professional goals. I am profoundly appreciative of the Guttmacher Institute and humbled by this honor.”

Ms. Kelly has substantial hands-on experience, including stints as a field organizer at MassEquality, a legislative aide to Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier in the Massachusetts State House and a residential advocate at a domestic violence shelter in Washington, DC. Most recently, she worked as an intern at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, focusing on projects related to the social and economic status of single mothers in the United States.

“We are delighted to name Ms. Kelly the 2017 Cory L. Richards Scholar,” remarked Rachel Benson Gold, Vice President for Public Policy and a member of the selection committee. “Cory was passionate about supporting new leaders who are committed to advancing the field with new thinking and innovative ideas. Along with her impressive academic record and demonstrated commitment to the field, Ms. Kelly has a clear appreciation for the role of research in advancing policy, with a focus on documenting and addressing persistent disparities in sexual and reproductive health.”

Named in honor of Cory L. Richards, a leading figure in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights whose remarkable career at the Guttmacher Institute spanned nearly four decades, the Cory L. Richards Memorial Scholarship reflects what was for him a core commitment: mentoring and nurturing the professional growth of emerging leaders. It does so by providing financial support to students seeking advanced degrees in public health or public policy with the intention of devoting their careers to advancing policy related to sexual and reproductive health and rights. One individual is designated each year as a Cory L. Richards Scholar and awarded a one-time scholarship of $15,000 to support full-time graduate study at an accredited institution in the United States. In keeping with the Institute’s and Cory’s commitment to equalizing opportunity, priority is given to students with a demonstrated financial need. Find out more about all of the Cory L. Richards Memorial Scholarship recipients.