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Three students earn distinguished Heinz scholarships for international travel


Three students earn distinguished Heinz scholarships for international travel

GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College students Madison Mele ’17, of McMurray, Pa., Jennifer Shelley ’16, of Port Allegany, Pa., and Jaime Whitaker ’18, of Kersey, Pa., will spend a summer abroad after earning Vira I. Heinz Scholarships for Women in Global Leadership.

“Thiel College is fortunate to be part of a select group of Pennsylvania institutions that receive funding from the Heinz Endowment to support the Vira I. Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership,” Thiel College Campus Coordinator for the program and Professor of Sociology Cynthia Sutton, Ph.D., said.

  • Mele, a Peters Township High School graduate, will travel to Italy to study the contribution of women to the Renaissance.
  • Shelley, a Port Allegheny High School graduate, is headed to Thailand to teach English to Thai school children and learn the Thai language
  • Whitaker, a St. Marys High School graduate, will travel to Costa Rica to develop fluency in Spanish and volunteer with local schools and daycare centers.

While the international study experience—which must last for at least 28 days—is often considered the cornerstone of the program, recipients also participate in two intensive retreat weekends, plan and implement a community engagement project to share the knowledge gained during their international experience, and write detailed reports to process the travel and community engagement experience, Sutton said. 

Funded by the Heinz Endowments, the Vira I. Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership prepares women for tomorrow’s global challenges by offering a unique opportunity for international experiences, leadership development and community service. Each year, Thiel College is awarded three scholarships of at least $5,000 a piece to support student participation in this program. Three women of sophomore or junior status are selected from each of 14 regional colleges and universities and admitted to the two-year leadership program.

About Thiel College

Thiel College is a private liberal arts institution founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016 and remains committed to combining tradition with innovation.

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