Five New Scholarships Expand Access for a Wide Array of Students
By: Alison Rooney
First Published: June 30, 2021
Topics: STHM School
Since STHM’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) launched in 2020, one of its initiatives has been to establish a series of scholarships that serve to expand the diversity of the student body. These opportunities for funding make STHM degrees possible for an even wider array of students, and specifically those from historically underrepresented groups.
“We’ve long been committed to advancing at many levels the values of DEI within the industries we serve,” says ODEI Co-Director and Associate Professor Debra Blair. “This ranges from DEI related capacity-building trainings with industry leadership to creating unique learning opportunities for our diverse student groups. To demonstrate this at the level of student recruitment, we’ve devised scholarships to broaden opportunities for highly motivated individuals who will undoubtedly enrich our student body.”
Although the term “diversity” tends to bring to mind racial and ethnic diversity, these scholarships are intended to expand access to members of all groups who have not been fully represented in postsecondary education. This also includes first‐generation low-income (FGLI) students, community college students, students from households with lower socio-economic status, students with disabilities and students with marginalized identities (such as gender and sexual identity).
Recruiting students from underrepresented groups is a key initiative named in the school’s five-year strategic plan, which prioritizes an Inclusive Culture as one of its five pillars. “STHM has always thrived because of the wide array of backgrounds and experiences of our students,” says the school’s associate dean, Jeremy Jordan. “These scholarships will attract students whose inclusion makes our classrooms and other learning environments even more valuable for the entire STHM community.”
Five funds honor excellence as well as diversity
There are two scholarships available for (domestic) students who are applying as undergraduates to pursue a career in one of the school’s industries: the Diversity Advancement Scholarship (DAS), for first-year students from underrepresented groups, and the need-based Equitable Access Scholarship (EAS), for FGLI students.
In partnership with the department of Graduate Admissions, STHM is launching three additional scholarships that expand access to its four graduate programs. The need-based “Pathway to STHM” Scholarship (covering 75% of full graduate tuition) will go to an incoming student from an underrepresented population seeking one of the school’s three master’s degrees, in either sport business, travel and tourism or hospitality management.
STHM will also designate three admitted students as “Inclusive Excellence” Scholars for their ability to demonstrate leadership, a personal commitment to DEI issues and contributions to advancing DEI efforts within their respective industry.
For a manager (at the mid- to senior level, as the degree requires) applying to the Executive Master’s in Sport Business, the school will select a “Diversity in Leadership” Scholar. The recipient will have the opportunity to serve as a DEI champion within their cohort and play an essential role in educating their peers and advancing their industry on DEI issues. Both the Diversity in Leadership Scholar and the Inclusive Excellence Scholars will be invited to serve on the school’s DEI Committee.
“We’re proud and excited to prioritize these scholarships at this pivotal moment for STHM and higher education,” says Michelle Rosar ’13, senior associate director of graduate admissions, whose team was integral to developing the graduate opportunities. “While there is still much to be done, offering funding and pathways to graduate education helps to ease the financial burden for master’s-level applicants. This is a critical step increasing access to our graduate programs and helps STHM recruit and retain an even greater diversity of exceptional students.”
Looking ahead to an ever-increasing culture of inclusivity
In the coming years, ODEI will proudly report on all the many accomplishments of the distinguished students who earn these scholarships, just as it already has for the two current ODEI interns, in positions made possible through a generous grant from CIBER and industry partners. Kyle Chin ’21 is interning with the PA Recreation and Park Society Inc., and specifically on the many initiatives of their Inclusion Committee. Jessica Lachowicz ’21, is working with Tourism Diversity Matters, a new nonprofit designed to support tourism and hospitality industry needs related to DEI education, workforce development and research.
“We view these internships and scholarships as an essential part of how we train early career professionals to thrive in each of our industries,” says ODEI Co-Director Naima Hall, who is also Director of the Center for Student Professional Development. “We’re eager to improve the STHM experience and its scholarships in ways that benefit all students. It’s our responsibility to help each student emerge from our degree programs with the sophisticated training and cultural competency that employers demand in the modern workplace.”
The Office of ODEI invites current and prospective students to learn more about the scholarships and criteria through the individual applications.