Second Year for Dual Recipients of ISPA Foundation Scholarship

June 4, 2015

For the second year in a row, the International SPA Association (ISPA) Foundation has awarded two recipients to receive the Mary Tabacchi Scholarship. Taylor Toreno from Parkland, Fla., and Anne-Liise Verpson from Raasiku, Harju County, Estonia, will be presented with their certificates during the General Session at the 25th annual ISPA Conference & Expo at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nev. from October 19-21, 2015.

Toreno attends Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla. and will obtain a degree in Resort and Hospitality Management in May 2017. Toreno aspires to grow the non-profit she developed for children that have lost a parent, emphasizing the importance of spa. 

Verpson attends University of Tartu in Pärnu, Estonia. She is in the process of achieving her degree in Wellness and Spa Service Design and Management and will graduate in June 2016. Verpson would like to return to her university’s department to teach spa curriculum. 

The Mary Tabacchi Scholarship was created in 2006 and named in honor of Mary Tabacchi, Ph.D., RD, Associate Professor, Hospitality Facilities and Operations at Cornell University. Dr. Tabacchi is a beloved spa industry veteran and pioneer in spa education.

“Every year as we interview exceptional applicants for the ISPA Foundation Mary Tabacchi Scholarship it is exciting to see the level of excellence these students show as they pursue their passion into the spa industry.  Taylor and Anne-Liise show a dedication to education, drive for their careers and personal compassion for aiding others.  I look forward to welcoming them to the stage at the ISPA Conference & Expo to receive their scholarships,” said Jeff Kohl, Chairman of the ISPA Foundation.

Toreno and Verpson will each be awarded 5,000 USD to help counterbalance their educational dues. In addition, they will receive a travel stipend and hotel accommodations to attend the 2015 ISPA Conference & Expo, a one-year ISPA Student Membership valued at 130 USD and will be assigned a one-year mentor to help navigate their career aspirations.

“I am so honored. Being selected will afford me the opportunity to continue my education, attend the 2015 ISPA Conference and Expo, and will provide me with a mentor. Being a first generation student, I am beyond thankful that I have people who believe in me, and I will not let them down,” Toreno said.

“I am honored to receive the award of Mary Tabacchi Scholarship from ISPA, which I consider as recognition to my mentors, my internship supervisor and my parents for their guidance and support on my path for reaching my goals on becoming a professional in this field,” Verpson said.

More information about attending the 2015 ISPA Conference & Expo can be found at


Note to the Editor: ISPA President Lynne McNees is available for interviews; please contact Allie Hembree, to schedule.

About the International SPA Association: ISPA is recognized worldwide as the leading professional organization and voice of the spa industry. Founded in 1991, ISPA advances the spa industry by providing invaluable educational and networking opportunities, promoting the value of the spa experience and speaking as the authoritative voice to foster professionalism and growth. More details on ISPA are available on

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