Kaitlyn Shapiro, 17, of Lehighton has won the 2011 Cedar Crest College Scholarship Competition and with it a four-year, full tuition Trustee Scholarship. Shapiro competed in the College's Scholarship Competition Day in December, where she received the highest score out of 56 participants.

"It feels great to earn this scholarship. I am very happy I got it and it's really going to help with school (costs)," Shapiro said. "Most campuses have an English program with a concentration in creative writing, but Cedar Crest has an excellent creative writing program and I want to be a novelist. When I visited the campus, everyone was helpful. I also like how the school encourages the individuality of students."

Shapiro was homeschooled by her mother, Amber, through 10th grade, and she has attended Commonwealth Connections Academy cyber charter school for her junior and senior years of high school. She certainly doesn't shy away from hard work. Through school, the teenager is a member of the National Honor Society of High School Scholars, the History's Happenings Club, the Writing Club, the Monitor Newspaper, and the American Red Cross Club. She has done volunteer work for the Girl Scouts and 4-H Club, among others, and writes an online blog.

When she earned a near perfect score on the critical reading section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test, she took it again to try to earn a "perfect" 800 score, according to her mother. Kaitlyn didn't quite make it, but she did improve her overall score.

Amber Shapiro and her husband, Todd, were excited about their daughter's choice of schools.

"When we got the letter that she had won it was like she won the lottery, and we knew it was a great way for Kaitlyn to begin the next chapter of her life. She is so dedicated to her studies, and it's nice to see that all her hard work has paid off," said Amber. "When we came to visit Cedar Crest, there was this great sense of community. The area is beautiful and safe, and not far from many things to do. The academics are great and she's very excited about enrolling there."

The Shapiros are no strangers to the Cedar Crest College campus. They appreciate the natural beauty of the campuswhich is a nationally registered arboretumand have been picnicking there every summer since Kaitlyn was a baby, Amber said. Kaitlyn is also a big fan of science and looks forward to volunteering at the nearby Da Vinci Science Center.

Cedar Crest College is very pleased to have Kaitlyn Shapiro join the campus community as its second-ever Trustee Scholarship winner.

"Kaitlyn exemplifies the type of bright young woman we want at Cedar Crest Collegeone who values leadership, scholarship, honor, community and service," said Kim Owens, senior executive vice president of enrollment management and student affairs. "She has a chance to do truly great things at Cedar Crest College and beyond. We look forward to having her and many of the other participants here in the fall."

Participants in Scholarship Competition Day took an exam on a variety of subjects; completed a written essay; participated in an interview with a College faculty and student team; toured the campus; and learned about the Cedar Crest College campus from current students.

Prior to the selection of Shapiro as winner of the Trustee Scholarship valued at approximately $125,000, five finalists were chosen based on their academic standing and performance during the competition. These finalists were all eligible for four-year scholarships. Non-finalists will receive a one-time, $2,000 scholarship. The competition was open to young women who will attend college in fall of 2011.

Located in Allentown, Pa., Cedar Crest College was recently selected as one of the 10 best women's colleges in the United States by Forbes in 2009. The liberal arts college is committed to the education of women leaders in an increasingly global society. Founded in 1867, Cedar Crest currently enrolls approximately 1,900 studentsfull-time, part-time and graduatein more than 30 fields of study.