on December 5, 2016 on 12/5/16
Donations for scholarships rise while FEA celebrates six years advancing diversity in international education
WASHINGTON, DC, December 5, 2016 – The profile of American students traveling overseas is set to become more diverse than ever before thanks to the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA), which raised $81,000 last month to fund scholarships for non-traditional students, languages and destinations.
More than 300 supporters gathered for FEA’s 6th annual gala celebration in November at the National Museum of Women in the Arts helped FEA achieve a nearly 10% increase in funds raised year over year. Funds raised will finance scholarships for minority, LGBTQI, first-generation, disabled and community college students, as well as veterans, returning learners, and students pursuing language instruction and non-traditional destinations. Having awarded approximately $500,000 to 120 scholars since 2010, FEA is currently accepting applications for 2017.
“We must ensure equity in travel abroad; it cannot just be reserved for high-income students,” said gala keynote speaker William English ‘Brit’ Kirwan, Chancellor Emeritus of the University System of Maryland. A nationally recognized authority on critical issues in higher education, including diversity, access and affordability, gender equity, and innovation, Dr. Kirwan detailed the myriad benefits of study abroad, including competitively positioning students for careers. He shared how working as a visiting professor in Europe early in his storied career fueled his passion to make study abroad more commonplace and accessible.
Michael J. Warren, managing principal of Albright Stonebridge Group, was honored as the FEA Fritz Kaufmann Champion in recognition of his personal and professional investment in American engagement in the world. A former Rhodes Scholar, executive director of the National Economic Council under President Clinton, and current member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to which he was appointed by President Obama in 2010, Warren explained how decades of personal, academic and professional experiences travelling and living overseas culminated in his lifelong commitment to study abroad and diplomacy.
Attendees at FEA’s gala celebration learned first-hand the transformative experience of study abroad from past FEA scholars who offered multimedia presentations, often in native costumes and displaying artifacts from their host countries. Indicative of the depth of intellect, drive and scholastic achievement common to FEA Scholars, they included:
- Taeilorae Levell, an African-American student of political science and Arabic at Howard University who traveled to Morocco to prepare for a career advocating for justice for refugees from the Middle East;
- Darius Carey, an African-American student who traveled to Ghana to advance his study of the African Diaspora History and Sociology of Sport with an emphasis on race, class and gender, and who is now in graduate school at Syracuse University;
- Kathy Tran, a first-generation Vietnamese immigrant and Diversity Scholar at the University of Utah who traveled to Seoul, South Korea;
- Marisa Vickers, a first-generation college student attending Texas State University who studied in France and hopes to work in humanitarian aid;
- Clara Tsao, an Asian-American biochemistry and sociology alumna of the University of California, Los Angeles who started a non-profit to promote social entrepreneurship, studied in Costa Rica, and participated in community and health practicums in rural health clinics while studying at the University of Botswana. Clara is currently a Presidential Innovation Fellow at the White House;
- Juli Smith, an international business and Asian studies student at Loyola University of New Orleans who journeyed to Taichung City, Taiwan to improve her language skills, including Taiwanese sign language;
- Miranda Parvis, an immigrant from Argentina who overcame great odds to study Hospitality and Tourism at Florida International University and who studied abroad in Tianjin, China;
- Lucas Mackey of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University studying the aviation business and Mandarin, who used his time in Kaohsiung, Taiwan to gain skills to manage an airline;
- Amber Kennedy, an African-American alumna of mass communications and journalism at Albany State University who worked for a Chinese media company while studying at Xiamen University, who now is a graduate student at Norfolk State University; and,
- Karon Cannon, an African-American alumnus of advertising and Japanese from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and who went to Tokyo to immerse himself in language study.
“Study abroad builds relationships between people and between countries, broadening the worldview of all involved,” said FEA Executive Director Jennifer Calvert. “We are committed to expanding the image of Americans abroad to more accurately reflect our country’s rich diversity.”
About the Fund for Education Abroad
The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) is a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to increase the opportunities for dedicated US students to participate in high-quality, rigorous education abroad programs by reducing financial restrictions through the provision of grants and scholarships. FEA’s goals include assisting committed students in the acquisition of critical foreign language skills and cultivating US students’ world awareness and appreciation of cultural differences through academic and experiential opportunities. Scholarships are awarded with a preference for under-represented students in study abroad programs, including minorities, first-generation college students, community college students and those choosing to study in non-traditional countries. FEA won the 2015 Diversity Abroad Excellence in Diversifying International Education Award and GoAbroad Foundation’s 2015 Innovation in Philanthropy Award.
About the Stonebridge Albright Group
The Stonebridge Albright Group works across the globe to enable companies to do well by doing good, addressing societal needs alongside economic value creation. In addition to facilitating collaborative relationships with public and social sectors players, the team brings considerable expertise on issues of environmental sustainability, economic development, ethical sourcing and corporate governance.