Foundation announces inaugural Beatrice S. Demers Fellows
|Demers Fellows with Owen Heleen, vice president for grant programs at The Rhode Island Foundation (second from left), and Winifred E. Brownell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Rhode Island (far right). |
The Rhode Island Foundation has announced the inaugural class of Beatrice S. Demers fellows along with accompanying grant awards totaling $187,000. Miss Beatrice S. Demers spent her life teaching foreign languages, first to students in the Pawtucket public schools, then at the University of Rhode Island for the last 30 years of her career. She was fluent in French, German, and Spanish, and studied Chinese and Russian in her 70s. She passed away in 2007, and in accordance with her will, The Beatrice S. Demers Fund was established at The Rhode Island Foundation. The fund provides for fellowships for Rhode Island residents and anyone who is a student at a Rhode Island college or university who wishes to pursue foreign language study.
The Foundation received 164 applications and 19 fellows were chosen to receive awards ranging from $2,200 to $25,000. This is the first slate of fellowships awarded under the new endowment. The 2011 fellows will pursue studies in French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Xhosa (one of the official languages of South Africa.)
Awardees are Narvan R. Hilliard, Patrick T. Slavin, Hui R. Chen, Kaylen R. Duarte, Ryan Scullin, Tess Scavuzzo-Duggan, Cynthia A. Perez, Aylssa H. Zisk, Christine M. Ryan, Christopher Andraka, Daniel M. Belbey, Marjorie L. Johnson, Andy Rithiphong, Blaire O. Gagnon, Ethan T. Ash, Kayla A. Belanger, Megan E. Banner, Elizabeth A. Morais, and Silay Doak.
“As a community foundation, our work is built around the interests and passions of our donors. Beatrice Demers cared deeply about the power of learning other languages as a way of understanding the world. The pool of applicants to the Fellowship program demonstrated this same dedication and passion for learning other languages and cultures. The quality of their work is a very positive sign for Rhode Island’s future in a competitive world economy,” said Owen Heleen, vice president for grant programs at The Rhode Island Foundation.
“We are fortunate to see so many members of the URI academic community honored by The Rhode Island Foundation,” said Winifred E. Brownell, dean of URI’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Beatrice Demers had a love for and understood the transformative nature of foreign language study and global education, and we are proud to see today’s talented students and faculty members keeping her vision alive. The awards from The Rhode Island Foundation provide critical support for these honorees to continue their study of foreign languages as they prepare to contribute to the global community.”
Applicants were judged according to the following criteria: dedication to foreign language study; likelihood the proposed program of study will promote a high level of foreign language fluency; and promoting diversity of languages studied, program types and individuals receiving fellowships. Preference is given to applicants from the University of Rhode Island who meet the qualifications. Fellowships can cover the costs of tuition, fees, travel, housing, and living expenses.
Applications for 2012 Demers Fellowships will be available in December 2011 through the Foundation’s website. Learn more about the Beatrice S. Demers Fellowship program.