Two years ago, junior communication and media major Anastasia White traveled from her native Florida to Pittsburgh to study at Carlow. This summer, thanks to a scholarship from the Vira I. Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership, she’ll take a two-month detour in Bangalore, India.
White is one of four Carlow University undergraduates to receive the prestigious award for 2017. (See related article.)
The Vira I. Heinz Program, supported by The Heinz Endowments, prepares women for tomorrow's global challenges by offering a unique opportunity for international experiences, leadership development, and community service. Young women from universities and colleges across Pennsylvania are admitted into the program and receive scholarships of at least $5,000 to put toward the cost of international experiences of their choosing.
White plans to draw upon her minor in women’s and gender studies (she also minors in English) while focusing on gender issues at Christ University in Bangalore.
“Gender roles in that part of India aren’t like they are here,” she says. “Christ University has strict rules about what we can wear —no revealing clothing, no piercings, no tattoos. I want to understand the role of women there and why they have these rules, but I will also be respectful of the culture.”
White will spend time in both the classroom and community. Christ University’s motto, “Excellence and Service,” is reflected in the work White will do in her classes.
“They offer three volunteer outings, and I’ll be doing all of them,” she says. “For the third one, we’ll go to a local village and help with daily activities, like fetching water and cleaning,” she says.
“I want to learn the language, really get to know the people. I’m actually staying a couple of weeks longer so I can visit northern India instead of spending all of my time in one area.”
“These four students are now a part of a network of diverse female student leaders,” says Gwendolyn Stevens, Carlow’s assistant director of campus life. Stevens also serves as campus coordinator for the Heinz program and will guide and mentor the scholars while they’re here—and abroad.
“There is a lot of great work to be done along with dreams to capture,” says Stevens.
White looks forward to capturing some of those dreams.
“I feel honored to get this privilege,” she says. “I cannot wait to observe and engulf myself in a culture that has so much beauty and a lot to offer.”
By James Foreman