Wednesday, July 6, 2022
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Nationality Room scholarships for summer study abroad are back


After two years on pause, Pitt’s Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs have resumed funding summer study abroad scholarships to give students immersive, global learning experiences.

This year’s 46 scholars will explore a wide range of topics: narratives in magical realism and science fiction in Ghana, food studies in Italy and engineering sustainable design in Guam, to name a few.

Undergraduate scholarship winners gathered with Nationality Room committee members, donors and former scholarship recipients on April 13 to celebrate the recommencement of the program. The organizers hoped the event, aptly themed “Let the Journey Begin,” would be the start of the students’ lifelong intercultural journeys.

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For Kati Csoman (A&S ’89, GSPIA ’96), director of the Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs in the University Center for International Studies, traveling to Hungary 33 years ago as a recipient of a Nationality Room scholarship set her on a path of global education.

“Helping to facilitate intercultural learning experiences for Pitt students in collaboration with the Nationality and Heritage Room Committees and donors is deeply meaningful,” she said.

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Olivia Francis, a senior in Pitt’s University Honors College and Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, was awarded the African Heritage Room Committee Scholarship in honor of Betty J. Tilman. She will complete a five-week public health internship in Kisumu, Kenya, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focused on infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases.

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Francis, who’s majoring in psychology and minoring in Africana Studies, said she has both an academic and personal passion for addressing racial disparities in public health.

“Studying in Kenya with the CDC is a chance to gain direct hands-on experience. When I’m there, I hope to interact with people and help them in any way,” she said.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Francis added.


— Nichole Faina

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