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Campus News

Vira I. Heinz scholarship recipients to virtually study abroad

Four Waynesburg students selected

Rachel Pellegrino Apr 23, 2021

Four Waynesburg University students were recently admitted into the Vira I. Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership 2021 Cohort.

This year’s participants include Amanda Latta, Ciera’ Fitts, Emily Schafer and Rachel Pellegrino.

“The Vira I. Heinz program is a wonderful opportunity for young women to have the opportunity to go abroad, but even more so to learn about women in power,” Pat Bristor, associate dean of students, said. “I think it’s a true testimony to the quality of students that we have at Waynesburg that we continue to get more and more each year.”

The Vira I. Heinz Program offers students who have never traveled outside of the United States the opportunity for international experiences, leadership development and community service.

Pictured left to right in this February 2020 photo: Rachel Pellegrino, Amanda Latta, Ciera' Fitts and Emily Schafer


Students admitted into the program receive a scholarship to put towards an international experience of their choosing. Every year, the program awards at least three scholarships to each of the participating universities and colleges throughout Pennsylvania.

This year’s recipients will study abroad virtually and have already chosen their study programs.

All four women were set to participate in the program last year, but due to the pandemic, all international travel was halted. The pivot to online programs shows the Vira I. Heinz program’s commitment and prioritization of offering international experiences during the COVID-era.

“Because I view this scholarship as so much more than just the opportunity to study abroad, I think that the continued support by The Heinz Endowments for women to do some type of a virtual program and still have that interaction with programs in other countries is going to be just an amazing opportunity,” added Bristor.

Latta, junior international culture and political science double major with minors in psychology and history, will virtually intern abroad in South Africa with international diplomacy and foreign relations. She is excited to get practical experience and make valuable international connections. In addition to the internship, she will take a virtual class in Korean language studies.

Fitts, junior marine biology major, and Schafer, junior nursing major, will both virtually study abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Fitts will take a marine biology course on endangered species. She is excited to have the opportunity to learn and gain more insight into her field of marine biology.

Schafer will take two virtual courses in San Jose, Costa Rica. She will study Spanish language and holistic health.

Pellegrino, junior journalism and electronic media major, will virtually intern abroad in Florence, Italy, where she will also take a course in Italian culture. She is looking forward to not only learning more about the culture of Italy but also gaining international experience in her career field.

The students were recognized by the University during a special recognition service on campus Tuesday, April 20.

About The Heinz Endowments

The Heinz Endowments is devoted to the mission of helping our region prosper as a vibrant center of creativity, learning, and social, economic and environmental sustainability. Core to our work is the vision of a just community where all are included and where everyone who calls southwestern Pennsylvania home has a real and meaningful opportunity to thrive.