The Vira I. Heinz Program, part of Heinz Endowments, is intended to empower young women to address global issues by offering opportunities for international education, leadership development and community service. Typically, each participating college or university in Pennsylvania is granted three spots for female sophomores or juniors. This year, as has been the case at Waynesburg in previous years, Waynesburg was granted six spots.
The program provides scholarships of at least $5,000 for women who have never been out of the United States to study abroad for the summer, and Waynesburg is one of only 13 higher education institutions to participate in the program. Collectively, the Waynesburg recipients will receive more than $40,000 for their trips, scheduled to take place during the summer of 2016.
“It’s an honor,” said Pat Bristor, associate dean of students and coordinator of the University’s Vira I. Heinz Program. “It’s the quality of our students. We have outstanding students, and we have exceptional female students who apply for the scholarship and really present themselves well.”
The six students were selected after an application process that included creating a proposal for their intended travel plans and interviews in front of a committee. They will participate in a year-long program which includes spring and fall retreats at the University of Pittsburgh, a summer of travel, an experience report and a community engagement experience.
Waynesburg scholarship recipients this year include sophomores Melanie Byler, Moesha Godwin and Alexis Prettiman and juniors Summer Fiori, Anna Narehood and Maranda Valentino.
Byler, an athletic training and exercise science major from Salisbury, Pennsylvania, plans to travel through International Studies Abroad to India. She will be completing a healthcare service learning program and hopes to learn the Hindi language as well as expand her knowledge of Eastern medicine.
Fiori, a psychology major from Mount Morris, Pennsylvania, will travel to Northern Thailand to study at Chiang Mai University through the Center for International Studies. She will study the Buddhist religion, learn to speak Thai and serve as a volunteer at the Elephant Nature Park. She also plans to spend time touring the country and experiencing the culture.
Godwin, a psychology major from Bronx, New York, will spend the summer in Adelaide, Australia, studying international health and indigenous cultures, particularly the Aboriginal culture. She is traveling through International Studies Abroad and is most looking forward to interacting with new people.
Narehood, a forensic chemistry major from Frenchville, Pennsylvania, will spend the summer in Luneburg, Germany, and is traveling through the University Study Abroad Consortium. Thrilled to be fulfilling her dream of traveling abroad, Narehood plans to study German culture, language, government and politics.
Prettiman, a criminal justice and international cultures double major from North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, will be travelling to Rabat, Morocco, through the Council on International Educational Exchange. While there, she will study the Arabic language and seek to better understand the religion and traditions of Morocco, experiences for which she feels the University has helped prepare her.
Valentino, a history secondary education major from Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania, plans to spend the summer in Saint Petersburg, Russia, learning the Russian language and studying sociology and history at Saint Petersburg Polytechnic University. Through the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) Study Abroad Program, she will also travel to a number of places throughout Russia, such as Moscow and Norovgrod, to study the culture.
The Heinz Endowments supports 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.
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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations
724.852.7675 or email@example.com