Seven Awarded Class of 1938 Travel Scholarships

Seven Carolina students have received UNC Class of 1938 travel fellowships for research abroad this summer.

The students were chosen from 44 applicants proposing projects outside the U.S. Selection is based on the quality of the applicant’s proposal, seriousness of academic and personal purpose, financial need and the extent to which the student may make a contribution to the promotion of international peace and understanding.

The six winners of the 2010 Class of 1938 Summer Project Abroad Fellowships, chosen by committees that included Class of 1938 members and former fellows, are Elaina Giolando of Buffalo, N.Y.; Allison Howard of West Friendship, Md.; Noah Kittner of Raleigh; Hima Bindhu Pamarthi of Cary; Casey Siemasko of Apex; and Mary Carol Wood of Yadkinville. Each will receive $4,500 for travel and project expenses. Sarah Booker of Durham received the Class of 1938’s Charles H. and Margaret M. Witten Award of $4,000.

Every year since 1975, an endowment created by UNC’s Class of 1938 has funded independent projects abroad by UNC students. Class members, who lived through and lost friends to World War II, created the endowment to help foster international understanding and promote world peace.

Giolando, a junior international studies and Mandarin Chinese major, will travel to Cairo, Egypt, to intern for the Ashoka Foundation-Arab World. She also will study the Chinese communities in Cairo.

In her proposal, Giolando said that she plans to learn about nonprofit management, social entrepreneurship in the Arab world, social venture capital and international development.

Giolando is a founding partner of a UNC student organization that empowers women in Uganda; co-president of the Carolina Southeast Asia Interest Association and co-founder and treasurer of the Carolina Hunger Education and Advocacy Project. She also is on the public service and advocacy committee of Student Government. She coordinates UNC students teaching English to Burmese refugee families in Chapel Hill, coordinated N.C. Service Month for two years and gives educational presentations about countries she has visited at schools throughout North Carolina.

Howard, a sophomore economics and history major, will travel to Eastern Europe to the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Poland to research Eastern European film. She will study the juxtaposition between films made during state socialism and post-Communist cinema.

“This relationship and the research pertaining to it relates to my overall question of reclaiming and recovering culture and the power of film as a medium of both historical and current-day communication,” she wrote in her proposal.

At UNC, Howard is finance director and treasurer for the Campus Y, a student organization that advocates social justice, and the secretary of a musical outreach organization. Howard also teaches piano to low-income children.

Kittner, a junior environmental science major, will travel to Uganda to work with the Uganda Forestry Resources and Institutions Center at Makere University in Kampala. He will focus on community forest management.

“The research focuses on ways that government institutions affect forest outcomes, and the results are directly applied globally through the International Forestry Resources and Institutions to deforestation regimes everywhere,” Kittner wrote in his proposal.

Kittner is a Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence Connected Learning Program mentor and a board member for a student organization that brings together minority and cultural groups for outreach and community service at UNC. He wrote grants and invited a prestigious musician to play a concert at UNC. He also organized a campus effort to raise money for dictionaries and pencils for Lao children.

Pamarthi, a sophomore political science and peace, war and defense major, will travel to Andhra Pradesh, South India, and conduct interviews. “I will research knowledge and modern attitudes towards consanguinity,” or common ancestry, she wrote in her proposal.

Pamarthi is a UNC Leadership Institute Scholar, a member of an anti-genocide activist group and is volunteer for UNC BirthPartners, which is committed to helping laboring women have satisfying birth experiences. She is a member of an international service organization focused on promoting service, leadership and fellowship, a block leader with the town of Cary’s conservation program and has raised funds for Children’s Miracle Network and potable water in Malawi through Charity Water.

Siemasko, a junior Spanish and international studies major, will travel to Ecuador for an internship with Movilidad Humana, a nonprofit organization working with immigrants and refugees in Quito.

“My responsibilities will be to develop and implement educational workshops on Ecuadorian laws so these populations learn how to enroll children in school and about available social services,” she wrote in her proposal.

Siemasko is on track to graduate as a public service scholar, a distinction awarded to students with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 who have completed at least 300 hours of community service, a service-learning course and four skills-training workshops. She is an English-as-a-second-language tutor for Burmese refugees and was a disaster relief trip leader on a mission in New Orleans.

Wood, a junior Spanish and international studies major, will travel to Tamaula, Guanajuato and Veracruz in Mexico to research the effects of emigration on long-term development. “I hope to understand what one immigrant’s journey means for the long-term development prospects of his nation,” Wood wrote in her proposal.

Wood is an English-language tutor and a food bank volunteer. She also is part of Saludamos, in which she walks with women from the Latino Community on Saturday mornings.

Booker, a junior Spanish and comparative literature major, will travel to Otavalo, Ecuador, to study how Andean folk music inspires activism in Ecuador’s indigenous movement.

“My research compares Ecuador’s musicians’ influence on the indigenous movement with the way Argentine novelists and poets supported resistance to the military occupation of the 1970s in that country,” Booker said in her proposal.

Booker is a volunteer with LINC — Linking Immigrants to New Communities — and an English-as-a-second-language teacher. She has been involved with the Carolina Photography Association and Carolina Adventures leadership training.

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