Four Pitt-Brad Students Receive Scholarships to Study Abroad

Bradford, Pa. — Four students at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford have been selected to receive a $5,000 study-abroad scholarship and participate in the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship Program for Women in Global Leadership.

Morgan Emery, Stephanie Makin, Elizabeth Tillman, and Rebecca Zipay will each receive a stipend to support a summer study-abroad program of their choice and a follow-up community engagement experience after their return.

Emery, a sophomore from Eldred majoring in English, will spend a month in Viña del Mar, Chile. There, she will take an intensive Spanish course to improve her second language skills. Additionally, she will focus on literacy and reading education. Speaking a second language is important to Emery, who said her future plans may include, “teaching English as a second language or working for the United Nations as an employee of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization).”

Makin, a sophomore criminal justice major from Colver, plans to spend six weeks in Cusco, Peru. Makin also hopes to improve her Spanish language skills, as well as learn about the challenges faced by disadvantaged families there. She hopes these experiences will help her launch a career with the FBI. When she returns, she plans to “take the experiences and lessons I learn from Peru and help disadvantaged families locally.”

Tillman, a human relations major in her sophomore year, is from Appleton, N.Y.  She will spend a month at Veritas University in San José, Costa Rica, where she will immerse herself in the culture and work to improve her language skills. Tillman, who hopes one day to become a lawyer, said, “I hope to share what I’ve learned about Costa Rican culture and inspire students of all ages to study abroad.”

Zipay, also a sophomore criminal justice major, is from South Park.  She will spend a month in Amman, Jordan, where she hopes to develop a proficiency in the Arabic language. While living and studying among Muslims, she will deepen her understanding of this different culture. Zipay said her goal is to help “bridge the gap between Western and Middle Eastern peoples,” and “help dispel misconceptions that have continued to spread since 9/11.”

Prior to leaving for their summer study experiences, the women will attend a leadership workshop in Pittsburgh with Vira I. Heinz recipients from 14 other colleges. A follow-up workshop will be held in the fall after their return, at which time each woman will learn how to design and implement their community engagement experiences.

“The Community Engagement Experience is a way for each young woman to translate what they learned in their host country into a relevant experience for the people in their home communities,” explained Isabelle Champlin, assistant professor of anthropology and director of the international studies program. “It’s a way for the women to give back while enhancing their leadership skills.” In the past, engagement projects have been conducted at George G. Blaisdell Elementary School and Federal Correctional Institution, McKean, for example.

Fifteen colleges in Pennsylvania and West Virginia participate in the Vira I. Heinz scholarship program. Each school is funded for three scholarships.

“The opportunity to network with 40 or more incredibly talented and motivated young women is a tremendous bonus each woman will carry into her future career,” Champlin said. “We are very fortunate this year to have our alternate candidate selected in addition to the three names we recommended to Vira Heinz. All four women are well-qualified for this program, and we are very excited to see what kinds of lessons they bring back to us.”

The Heinz Endowments support efforts to make southwestern Pennsylvania a premier place to live and work, a center for learning and educational excellence, and a region that embraces diversity and inclusion.

While the majority of its giving is concentrated within southwestern Pennsylvania, the Heinz Endowments work wherever necessary, including statewide and nationally, to fulfill its mission.


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