Family awards scholarship in memory of slain woman

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UTICA — The family of Bianca Devins, who was brutally slain in 2019, has announced the first award from the Bianca Michelle Devins Memorial Scholarship Fund. The first recipient, Tiana Guzman of Utica, is studying in the psychology child life program at Utica College, seeking to pursue graduate study in art therapy.

Members of the Devins and Williams families created the fund at the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties last year to support students pursuing a degree in psychology to continue Bianca’s dream of helping adolescents with mental illnesses.

“Bianca’s goal was to become a psychologist to help adolescents with mental health issues. From her own experience, Bianca knew how important this work is,” said a statement issued by Kim Devins, Bianca’s mother. “Bianca was a talented artist who used art to work through her own mental health issues. Our family created this scholarship with the Community Foundation so that Bianca’s dream would be carried on through others. We wish Tiana the greatest of success in pursuing her career and ask that she keep Bianca’s spirit with her as she accomplishes their shared goals.”

“I was very touched by Bianca’s story and am truly grateful for receiving this award,” said Guzman. “As a single mother with a one-year-old son, this scholarship will help to alleviate some of the financial stress that comes with college. I can’t thank the family enough for that.”

Guzman is a member of the National Honor Society for Leadership and Success, Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society, and Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society. In addition, she runs a small online business selling custom-made painted pieces in Utica and surrounding areas.

For information on the scholarship fund, go online to foundationhoc.org/bianca.

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