Thank you to the St. Louis Vegetarian Society whose donation enabled us to award runner-up prizes for our 2012 scholarship contest. The students are all amazing, so it’s very difficult to choose the winners. To read about previous winners of $5,000 each, see http://www.vrg.org/student/scholar.htm and see pages 18 and 19 for this year’s winners. To support additional scholarships and internships, go to www.vrg.org/donate.

Chanel Cristni Tucker


Chanel Cristni Tucker became a vegetarian at age 10 and then transitioned to a vegan diet. She volunteered with the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri and the James River Care and Rehabilitation Center, as well as raised funds for a homeless shelter. Chanel would like to major in French and Nursing so she can become a traveling nurse practitioner in countries such as Haiti, Algeria, and French Guiana.

Alyssa Infalt


Alyssa said that promoting vegetarianism in a farming community is challenging, but she has influenced the country store where she works to carry veggie burgers and serve them on Saturdays, as well as provide more vegetarian soups. “Many of my cohorts butcher their own animals or send their animals to the local butcher shop to slaughter their cows, chickens, or pigs. Convincing these farmers that slaughter is morally wrong is practically impossible. They have strong beliefs about butchering that dates back many generations. However, I found a way to compromise with my friends. We had “Vegetarian Fridays” at school where everyone who sat at the same table as me ate vegetarian. Now when I go to these friends’ houses, they make sure they have vegetarian food that others, as well as myself, would enjoy.”

Shaina Villalobos

New Jersey

Shaina Villalobos worked with the executive chef at her school over a four-year period to rethink the original vegetarian choices of pizza, pasta, and mozzarella sticks that were on the menu. They added healthier options such as hummus, tomato-pesto paninis, and tomato, spinach, garlic, herb-flavored wraps. Shaina researched recipes that utilized extra ingredients the foodservice already had in the kitchen. Many involved hummus, carrots, peppers, or fruit. There was usually leftover spinach from other dishes, so they decided to use it in veggie wraps. “It’s nice because this means we won’t have to spend a lot of money on extra resources for vegan and vegetarian lunches, and can use what would otherwise be thrown away,” Shaina said.

As a counselor at her church camp, Shaina has provided vegan hot dogs, burgers, and ‘chicken’ nuggets for both children and adults. She received the Hispanic Heritage Youth Award in Mathematics and Engineering and was a Petty Officer Second Class in the NJROTC program. Shaina hopes to study biology in college so she can promote vegetarianism and help the environment.