The Dodds/Spencer Award

The IWGA is pleased to announce we will now be awarding four Junior Girl awards to outstanding high school seniors. Two awards will be in honor of Mrs. Julia H. Dodds, who was the first 50-year member of the Illinois Women’s Golf Association. This award was established in 1992. The other award has been establishment to honor Helen Spencer. Helen played in the IWGA State Amateur and Senior State Amateur Championships from 1958 to 1994 – spanning 36 years!

2023 Winner Nicole Johnson, Edwardsville

The Julia Dodds Junior Girls award was established in 1992 to honor an outstanding graduating high school senior. The award is in honor of our first 50-year member of the IWGA – Mrs. Julia Dodds.

This award is presented to an accomplished young woman as she embarks on her college career. The award criteria for selection include Character, Scholarship, Leadership and Sportsmanship. The winners will receive the $2,000 award, which will be directed to their college choice to assist in their educational expenses. Our winners exemplify the qualities and are outstanding young woman. This year, the IWGA Committee selected Nicole Johnson as the winners of the Julia Dodds Award.

Nicole Johnson is from Edwardsville and graduated from Edwardsville High School.  She started playing golf when she was seven years old with her dad taking her to the driving range in hopes of sparking an interest in the game.

In her high school career, she was a 4-time Conference champion, won regionals and sectionals twice, and finished 12th at State her junior year.  Her senior season she achieved her goal of winning the Class 2A individual state title.  This moment was one of the most significant moments in her golf career. As she looks back now at her golf accomplishments, she knows that the practicing, putting, chipping, playing in tournaments and working hard for four years helped her reach her goals. To reach this point she needed talent and the support she received from her family, coaches, and teammates.

When Nicole played in her first IWGA Junior tournament, she was impressed by the ladies in green, their friendliness and the organization of the tournament. She has played in the junior tournament since eighth grade (Covid took one year) and played the last two years in the IWGA State Amateur. In a very competitive field, she made it to the quarter finals in 2022.

This fall Nicole will be furthering her academic and golf career at Middle Tennessee State University. She is excited to take her golf to the next level. She feels that the many things she has learned from golf will help her face the challenges in the classroom and on the course.

Nicole would like to personally thank the IWGA for preparing her for higher level competition. The smiles, the words of encouragement, the kindness shown by the ladies in green will always be remembered.

Congratulations Nicole!


Helen Spencer Award

The IWGA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Helen Spencer scholarships.  Established in 2019, this award is presented in honor of Mrs. Helen Spencer.  Helen played in the IWGA State Amateur and Senior State Championships from 1958 to 1994 – spanning 36 years.

This award is presented to an accomplished young woman as she embarks on her college career.   The award criteria for selection include Character, Scholarship, Leadership and Sportsmanship.  The winners will receive the $2,000 award, which will be directed to their college choice to assist in their educational expenses.  Our winners exemplify all these qualities and are outstanding young women.  This year, the IWGA Committee selected Emma Tjaden and Madelyn Young as the winners of the Helen Spencer Award.  

Emma Tjaden is from Staunton, Illinois and attended Staunton High School.  John Maxwell stated, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” Emma values these words of wisdom and exemplifies what it means to be a leader in her school and her community.

Emma worked diligently during her entire school career.  She was ranked number one in her class. She earned a perfect 4.0 GPA all four years and was on the High Honor Roll throughout high school.  She was chosen as a 2023/2024 Illinois State Scholar and named “one of ‘the best and brightest’ of Illinois high school seniors in the Class of 2023,” by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission and the State of Illinois.

Emma was on the varsity golf team all four years of high school. She learned to play golf during her freshman year and became passionate about the sport.  Good citizenship and sportsmanship were her principal goals, not only towards her teammates, but her opponents as well.

The game of golf has taught Emma many things, not only on the course, but also in everyday life. One thing about the game of golf is that it requires a lot of honesty. Unlike most other sports, there are no referees or umpires watching a player’s every move. Integrity and honesty are at the heart of the game.  Even though her high school golf season ended this past fall, she is very excited to play Club Golf in college and promote the great game of golf for many years to come!

Emma plans to major in Elementary Education at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She looks forward to joining the Club Golf team!

Emma is a very hard-working and dedicated individual who will put forth every effort to succeed. She plans to continue to strive for strong academics, outstanding leadership, dedication to her community, as well as play and promote the great game of golf!

Congratulations Emma!


Madelyn Young is from Mount Carmel, Illinois and attended Mount Carmel High School. She played 4 years of varsity golf for her successful high school team. Her freshman year, the team got second place at the state tournament. Sophomore year they won both Sectionals and Regionals but were not given the opportunity to play at state due to Covid. Following that year, her junior and senior seasons they were undefeated and won state. Her senior year, Madelyn won the individual state title for 1A. She also succeeded in the classroom and became a National Honors Society member and was a member of the NHS council. She represented her class on the Student Council this past year.

An opportunity that has helped shaped Madelyn is getting into the rental business. She knew as soon as she received her driver’s license, she would have expenses that she would be responsible for on her own and would need a job. Having a job while golfing every day and being gone for tournaments was going to be a challenge. In her sophomore year of high school, she purchased a mobile home, renovated it, and paid it off within a year by renting it out.  Madelyn decided to continue with the rental business during her senior year and purchase another mobile home. Her business is called Younger Properties. She finished the property this Spring and rented it out to a young family. She loves the feeling of accomplishment she gets while working on these properties and making them into quality and affordable housing for families in her hometown and plans to grow her business in the future.

Madelyn will be attending Ball State University and play on the women’s golf team. She plans to major in Legal Studies with the focus on business. After getting her bachelor’s degree, she plans to go to law school. Her dream is to return to her hometown and open her own law practice in Wabash County. Ideally, she would like to take after her Grandpa Mike and practice both mineral rights and business law, especially since there is a need for more mineral rights lawyers in her area.

Congratulations Madelyn!


HOW TO APPLY – Not Available until 2024 – TBD

Applications are made on-line at the IWGA website ( Criteria for both awards include: Character, Scholarship, Leadership, and Sportsmanship. Only one application should be submitted; all applicants will be considered for each award.

Those interested in applying should send documentation of academic status (year in school and gpa) and name of high school.  Two letters of recommendation are required and can be from high school principal, high school teachers, or  anyone who has knowledge of the applicant. Each applicant should write a personal narrative which describes your extracurricular activities, expresses things that have impacted your life, and outlines your plans for the future. Also, please enclose a recent photo.

Application will be accepted beginning on February 1 and deadline for submission is May 1st by 5:00 pm. 

The $2,000.00 award will be directed to the award winner’s college to assist with her educational expenses. If the honoree is unable to accept the cash award, the IWGA will determine an organization to receive the money in her honor.


Questions should be e-mailed to:

IWGA Dodds/Spencer Committee

Dodds/Spencer Award Winners