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Meet the Scholars – Emily's Gift Scholarship
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Meet the Scholars

Click a scholar’s picture to read his or her bio.


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CAROLINE BATEMAN

2020 Michael Gahagan Transplant Scholar

Caroline hails from Catonsville, Maryland, and she is a senior at Salisbury University in Salisbury, Maryland, where she is pursuing a BS degree in Elementary Education. During the 2020-2021 academic year, Caroline had the opportunity to work as a long-term, on-site substitute teacher at St. Mark School in Catonsville, the school her younger siblings attend. After graduation in May 2022, she plans to return to the Baltimore area and land a teaching job. In December 2019, Caroline’s father Mark Bateman donated a large portion of his liver to her cousin Meghan Smith, who was in liver failure from a rare genetic disease. Caroline reports that Meghan is doing well post-transplant, has stayed healthy during the pandemic, and has become a great advocate for organ donation on social media (Instagram: @meghanmakingmoves).

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AUSTIN BRANNAN

2020 Theater/Dance Scholar

From Elkton, Maryland, Austin is a sophomore at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, where he is pursuing a BA degree in English and a BS degree in Theater with a minor in Dance. MD/DE performance credits include Frank Abagnale, Jr. (Catch Me If You Can); Cornelius (Hello, Dolly!); Robert (The Drowsy Chaperone); Jack (Into the Woods); and Young Patrick (Mame). National Tour: Elf the Musical (Michael understudy, ensemble).

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GRACE DALIK

2021 Michael Gahagan Transplant Scholar

Grace is from Linthicum, Maryland. When Grace was eight years old, her five-year-old brother Andrew donated bone marrow to their 18-month-old sister Cora, who had been diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a form of bone marrow failure. Grace recently graduated from The Catholic High School of Baltimore. She will be attending University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and majoring in Biology, inspired by the role genetics played in saving Cora’s life 10 years ago.

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KILEY ERNEST

2019 Theater/Dance Scholar

Kiley hails from Forest Hill, Maryland, and she is currently a senior at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, where she is pursuing a BFA degree in Musical Theater. During the 2021-2022 academic year, Kiley will be serving as an intern at Lincoln Center in NYC. MD performance credits include Velma von Tussle (Hairspray), Morticia Addams (The Addams Family), Cosette (Les Misérables), Judy Haynes (White Christmas), and Ariel (The Little Mermaid). Rider performance credits include It’s a Grand Night for Singing, Chasing Grace, Girls Like That, and Working. In Spring 2022, Kiley is playing Sally Bowles in Rider’s production of Cabaret.

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ETHAN HOLLER

2021 Michael Gahagan Transplant Scholar

Ethan is from Baltimore, Maryland. In 2007, Ethan’s grandmother, Stephanie “Noni” Canzani, donated a kidney to her cousin Sandy. For years, Ethan, Noni, and Sandy have enjoyed countless adventures on NYC bus trips to see Broadway shows. A recent graduate of the Acting program at Carver Center for Arts and Technology, Ethan will be attending Pace University in NYC to pursue a BFA degree in Acting. Noni and Sandy promise to visit during their bus trips!

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SARAH JONES

2018 Theater/Dance Scholar

Sarah calls Astoria home now, but her roots will always lead back to Baltimore. She graduated as valedictorian from Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts in 2018 and has since found another home in the CUNY Baccalaureate program at Hunter College. Sarah’s path has shifted to study Theater Production and Management, but she will always love musical theater and looks forward to producing work that is important for our world to see. After working on numerous virtual productions during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sarah production-stage-managed one of the first live indoor theatrical productions in NYC, Persou at The Cell Theatre. When Sarah graduates in December 2021, she will have completed internships at National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Ring of Keys organization, One Whale’s Tale production company, and Lincoln Center.

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SARAH LAMBETH

2020 Theater/Dance Scholar

Sarah is from Bel Air, Maryland, where she graduated from Patterson Mill High School in 2020. She is currently a sophomore at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, where she is pursuing a BFA degree in Musical Theater. MD performance credits include Sandy (Grease), Wendy Jo (Footloose), Abigail Williams (The Crucible), Mercutio (Romeo and Juliet), Genie (Aladdin Jr.), and Wendy (Peter Pan).

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KATELYN O’CONNOR

2021 Theater/Dance Scholar

Katelyn lives in Bel Air, Maryland and recently finished her freshman year at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she is earning BA degrees in Dance and Political Science. She has training in 12 different genres of dance. Featured dancer credits include The Great Gate of Kiev (music video), The Thud (short film), The Reach Opening Festival (Kennedy Center), and Soloist in The Nutcracker. Musical theater credits include Cha-Cha (Grease), Lori (A Chorus Line), and The White Queen (Chess).

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SAMANTHA SHELDON

2019 Theater/Dance Scholar

Samantha is from Catonsville, Maryland, and she is currently a junior at Seton Hill University (SHU) in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where she is pursuing a BFA degree in Musical Theater. Samantha is our first scholar to have previously performed with Emily when they shared the stage in 2012’s Anything Goes. Other MD performance credits include Anita (West Side Story), Ariel Moore (Footloose), Babette (Beauty and the Beast), Snow White (Snow White), and Mary Lennox (The Secret Garden). SHU performance credits include the titular role in a live-streamed, COVID-safe, green-screen production of Hamlet; a performer in a recorded-then-streamed Songs of Goldrich and Heisler cabaret; and an ensemble member in Chicago. Represented by The Talent Group, Pittsburgh.

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EMILY SIGNOR

2020 Theater/Dance Scholar

Emily lives in Reisterstown, Maryland, where she graduated from Franklin High School in 2020. Emily is a sophomore BFA Musical Theater major who is also minoring in Dance and Arts Administration at Ohio Northern University (ONU). MD performance credits include Miss Honey (Matilda), Carolyn (The Bridges of Madison County), Cecily (The Importance of Being Earnest), Molly Aster (Peter and the Starcatcher), and Jane Banks (Mary Poppins). ONU performance credits include Tap Dancer (SHIFT Spring Dance Concert), Laila (Laila Pines for the Wolf), and Madame Press Secretary (Six Polar Bears Fell from the Sky this Morning, 14th International Play Festival – Global Climate Action Takes the Stage).

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GRACE WERNER

2018 Michael Gahagan Transplant Scholar

From Towson, Maryland, Grace is currently a senior nursing student at Towson University (TU). During the 2020-2021 academic year, she worked with nurses at Johns Hopkins Hospital and St. Joseph’s Medical Center for her clinicals. Grace aspires to become a labor and delivery or NICU nurse. At TU, she has held several leadership positions including Chapter Assessment Program Chair and Vice President of Operations for Tri Delta, Greek Ambassador, Orientation Leader and Student Director for New Student and Family Programs, Student Ambassador, member of Order of Omega, and Director of Involvement for the Republican Club. In February 2005, Grace’s stepfather Sean donated a kidney to his brother, Michael Gahagan. Grace’s Uncle Michael was a volunteer for Living Legacy Foundation and Donate Life Maryland, and he served as the original Vice President of Emily’s Gift Scholarship until he passed away in October 2017.

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SAMANTHA YAKAITIS

2021 Theater/Dance Scholar

Samantha lives in Ellicott City, Maryland and is a 2021 Mount Hebron High School graduate. She will be attending Marymount Manhattan College in NYC to pursue a BFA degree in Musical Theater. Performance credits include Jane Banks (Mary Poppins), Young Fiona/Baby Bear (Shrek the Musical), Amy (Company), Fantine (Les Misérables), Lola (Damn Yankees), Mary Flynn (Merrily We Roll Along), and The Narrator (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). Samantha has also performed at The Strathmore with Kristin Chenowith (soloist), Matthew Morrison, and Shoshana Bean.