Wilde Lake woman's activism puts her in Maryland's Top 100


April 11, 2001|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HELEN SZABLYA, president of the Foreign-born Information and Referral Network and senior vice president of Fenton Communications in Washington, has been named one of Maryland's Top 100 Women for 2001.

The award, which recognizes women who make an impact in the state, was presented March 20 at a ceremony at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

FIRN is a nonprofit organization assisting immigrants and refugees with health care, housing, employment, immigration law and instruction in English as a second language. FIRN served 2,000 clients last year, Szablya said, and expects to increase that number this year.

"I joined the FIRN board one and a half years ago," Szablya said. "It's been an exciting process watching FIRN grow. It's becoming a real institution. It started out with [founder] Pat Hatch in a car with a briefcase. It's now grown into an operation whose budget will exceed $600,000 this year."

A refugee from the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Szablya immigrated to Canada in 1957 and to the United States with her parents in 1963. She lives in Wilde Lake with her husband, Charles Dann, and has two children, Anna Meiners, 24, and Alexander Meiners, 19.

"The United Way and the county and other institutions have been looking to FIRN to fulfill a significant need," Szablya said. "When you look at the census figures and the immigrant growth in Howard County, you see that this will become an even bigger need as time goes on."

Maryland's Top 100 Women is an annual award program of the Daily Record, a Baltimore newspaper covering business and legal news throughout the state. The honorees were nominated by the business community, women's organizations and the community at large, and selected by a panel of judges.

Fair winners

Last month, Long Reach High School was the site of the Howard County Mathematics, Science and Technology Fair, sponsored by the Howard County public schools and Shimadzu Scientific Laboratories.

West Columbia students won numerous awards at the fair.

For middle school biological science projects, children winning ribbons were Isha Argawal from Clarksville Middle School; and Bradley Eisenberg, Samantha Bier, Ilana Burger and Sarah Semmel, from Wilde Lake Middle School.

Salmah Rizvi, from Atholton High School, won an award for the best high school biological science project.

For middle school chemistry projects, Clarksville pupils Hadass Kogan and Melinda Petre won ribbons, and Stephen McCarthy won an award for the best project.

For middle school engineering and technology projects, ribbons were won by Clarksville pupils Wossen Ayele, Rushi Talari and Jason Wetstone. Daniel Brobowsky of Harper's Choice Middle School was named runner-up, and Andrew Chandler of Wilde Lake Middle School took top honors for his project, "Penetration Depth of Arrowheads."

Pupil Aysha Jawed of Wilde Lake won the award for the best middle school environmental science project for her investigation "Phosphate and pH Levels in Columbia Ponds."

In the high school environmental science competition, Matt Rothwell of Wilde Lake High, took home a ribbon.

Hillary Finucane, a pupil at Wilde Lake Middle School, was runner-up in the middle school mathematics category.

For middle school physics, Jason Shafer of Wilde Lake was awarded a ribbon.

Wilde Lake High School brought home several awards in the physics category. Michael Atamas and Robert Ricketts were awarded ribbons, Danielle Allor was named runner-up, and Mike Williams brought home top honors for his project, "The Truth About Flight."

Yard sale

The Town Center Community Association will sponsor a village yard sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 21. This is a great opportunity to meet your neighbors and pick up bargains at Town Center Park on Vantage Point Road.

Complimentary bagels and drinks will be provided. Registration or information: 410-730-4744.

Fashion show

The American Association of University Women will hold its Spring Fashion Show at Vantage House at 1 p.m. April 21.

Tickets cost $10. Proceeds will be used to provide scholarships for women in the county and support for the AAUW National Education Foundation program.

Tickets and information: Cookie Cogan, 410-461-9961.

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