Four Carlow University Students Named Vira Heinz Scholars

Four Carlow University students, a sophomore and three juniors, have been named Vira I. Heinz Scholars for 2017, and will have the opportunity for international experiences in their studies.

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Vira I. Heinz Program Offers Unique Opportunities for International Experiences

 Pittsburgh, Pa. – Four Carlow University undergraduate students were named 2017 Vira I. Heinz Scholars and will study abroad this summer.

“As Vira I. Heinz scholars, our Carlow students are part of a year-long global leadership program for women from 13 Pennsylvania colleges and universities,” said Gwendolyn Stevens, the Assistant Director of Campus Life, as well as the Vira I. Heinz program campus coordinator for Carlow.  “I am so excited for each of them. These four students are now a part of a network of diverse female student leaders. There is a lot of great work to be done along with dreams to capture, and I am so honored to be a part of that experience with them. I look forward to providing mentorship and support to these young women throughout their participation in the VIH program”.

The four students are:

Yazmin Bennett-Kelly, a sophomore English major with a certification in secondary education and minor women studies from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will study abroad in Ghana, Africa.  “Studying abroad will advance my career goals because as a future educator and leader, I feel strongly about immersing myself in diverse educational experiences. I am looking forward to exposing myself to the Ghanaian culture and learning more about global issues”

Brianne Griffith, a junior creative writing major with minors in professional writing and communication from McKeesport, Pennsylvania, will study abroad in Stellenbosch, South Africa. “Reading and writing poetry pushes me out of my comfort zone. This international experience will be a new kind of poetry for me—something that scares me so much, but I know will make me a more dynamic person. I hope to embrace my vulnerability while in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and become more culturally competent.”

Courtney Wallace, a junior psychology major from West Homestead, Pennsylvania., will study abroad in Sligo, Ireland. “My favorite quote is by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which is ‘Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail’. With that quote as inspiration, I hope that studying abroad will open the doors to the discovery of my own path in life in which I can leave a mark on the world in a positive manner. The psychology field and helping others are my vocation and passion in life.  Therefore, being able to work with children in a culture that is different than my own is significant to me and will enhance my global perspective through experiential learning.”

Anastasia White, a junior Communication and Media major with two minors in English and Women’s and Gender Studies from Miramar, Florida will be studying abroad in Bangalore, India for seven weeks. “I feel honored to get this privilege. I cannot wait to observe and engulf myself in a culture that has so much beauty and a lot to offer. As a future Public Relations specialist , I know travelling abroad will be beneficial to me because we have to be aware of what is going on in the world and know how to inform people of  issues and ideas that are present globally. It will be very interesting putting myself into a new situation and come into it with an optimistic attitude.”

“This is a very prestigious scholarship funded by the Heinz Endowments,” said Ben Pilcher, director of the Center for Global Learning at Carlow, who, along with Stevens, assisted the students in selecting their study abroad program.   “This is a wonderful opportunity for our students.”

The Vira I. Heinz (VIH) 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. Universities and colleges across Pennsylvania participate in the VIH Program.  The young women from each institution are admitted into the program and receive a scholarship of at least $5,000 to put toward the cost of an international experience of their choosing.

The VIH Program has three principal components: the international experience, the Community Engagement Experience and two weekend-long, intensive leadership development retreats. During the spring semester prior to and the fall semester following their international experiences, the awardees meet in Pittsburgh, PA. These trainings provide the awardees with a foundation of skills necessary to maximize cultural learnings while abroad and to engage their leadership skills in their own communities upon their return.  For more information, please visit


About Carlow University
Carlow is a private, co-educational, Catholic university located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s “Tech, Ed, and Med” district. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Carlow’s graduates, curriculum, and partnerships reflect its strong commitment to social justice; ethical, forward-thinking and responsible leadership; and service to the community that has a meaningful impact. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in three major areas: Health and Wellness, Leadership and Social Change, and Innovation and Learning. Carlow graduates are in demand for their professional expertise, in fields ranging from nursing, the sciences, and perfusion technology to counseling, education, and forensic accounting; their entrepreneurial spirit and creative mindset; and their ability to manage change.  Our student-athletes compete on eleven different teams, including men’s basketball and men’s and women’s golf—and our mascot is Shammy—the cute green shamrock that is a reflection of the university’s Irish heritage and roots. 

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