By Amanda Wicks

Miranda Lambert knows how difficult being a woman in the music industry can be, which is why she established a scholarship to help aspiring female songwriters and music business majors succeed. This year marks the first recipient for that award, and it went to Anna Vaus a junior at Belmont University.

Related: Miranda Lambert to Receive Inaugural ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award

The 80 applicants who applied for the scholarship were asked to submit an online application as well as an original song, which judges reviewed. They sent along their top six picks to Lambert, who decided the winner.

Vaus has already opened for several prominent musicians, including Lonestar, Billy Ray Cyrus, LeAnn Womack and Phil Vassar. She said about receiving the scholarship, “I am so thankful and honored to have been chosen as the first recipient of the Miranda Lambert Women Creators Fund. Not just because of what a crazy opportunity it is for myself, but because the tide is changing for all of the young women in this industry. I have so much hope for women in country music because of the path that Miranda and so many awesome people are currently fighting to pave for us!”

Vaus is currently majoring in songwriting and minoring in music business. The scholarship will provide up to $40,000 in funding for Vaus’ 2016-2017 school year. Lambert raised the money for the scholarship by headlining a songwriter round at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville, where she was also joined by her tour mates at the time: Raelynn, Clare Dunn, and Courtney Cole and female songwriters Natalie Hemby and Jessi Alexander.

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