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Metcalf Fellowships enable students to pursue their dreams
By Chris Barnett / June 3, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...

Seven college students from Rhode Island will spend the summer traveling and learning thanks to more than $25,000 in fellowships through the Michael P. Metcalf Memorial Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation.

Metcalf was chairman and publisher of The Providence Journal at the time of his death in a 1987 bicycling accident. His widow Charlotte and the Journal company created the Metcalf Fund in his memory in 1989.

“I wanted to create an opportunity that was a departure from the usual scholarship. I thought of making wonderful experiences – transforming experiences – happen for others,” said Charlotte about the Metcalf Fund’s mission.

This year’s recipients are:

Susan Anderson of Providence, a junior at Rhode Island College, received $3,500 to travel to the province of Escobar in Argentina to volunteer at a nonprofit organization that serves children and families living in poverty.

Julia Brandenburg of Warwick, a junior at Mercer University majoring in violin performance, was awarded $2,425 to study and perform at the week-long Rome Chamber Music Festival in Italy.  

Rosa DaLomba of East Providence, a sophomore at the Community College of Rhode Island, received $5,000 to travel to four Cape Verdean islands to distribute food and clothing she has collected and to learn more about the cultures of the islands.

Olugbenga Joseph of Providence, a junior at Brown University, was awarded $1,900 to travel to Ecuador to work with needy children and families through The Working Boys’ Center.

Sandra Lopez-Naz of Cranston, a sophomore at the Rhode Island School of Design, received $2,475 to travel to Guatemala to learn more about her native culture, explore the way it affects her work as a Guatemalan-American and focus on the role of textiles in Guatemalan life.

Hannah Masse of Richmond, a junior at the University of Rhode Island, was awarded $2,300 to travel to Spain to volunteer on an organic farm through the nonprofit World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Her award was supplemented by the Christine T. Grinavic Adventurer’s Fund.

Charlie Santos of Wakefield, a sophomore at the University of Rhode Island, received $7,931 to attend events in Canada, Minnesota and Texas to refine his skills in the art of improvisational theater.

The fellowships enable recipients to broaden their perspectives and enhance personal growth. Permitted uses include travel in the United States and abroad as well as internships and public service programs. Grants cannot be used for standard semester-abroad programs or for post-graduate travel.

Over the years, the Metcalf Fund has enabled more than 100 students to pursue personal enrichment and public service in locations ranging from Appalachia to Zaire. Past recipients have visited landmarks of Western historical and political thought in Europe, done a medical internship in Tanzania and volunteered at a Costa Rican orphanage.

The Fellowships were open to freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Applicants did not have to attend a college in-state, but must have been legal residents of Rhode Island for at least five years at the time they applied.

Criteria for evaluating applications included clarity and thoughtfulness, creativity, motivation, evidence of self-direction and initiative and financial need. At the conclusion of their project, the recipients will submit a final report describing the value of their experience in furthering their long-term goals.

The Christine T. Grinavic Adventurer's Fund supplements the Metcalf awards. The fund honors the memory of Grinavic, a University of Rhode Island graduate and 2001 Metcalf Fellowship winner who was lost at sea in 2007.

The Foundation will begin taking applications for the next round of Metcalf Fellowships in November.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island.  In 2014, the Foundation awarded $34.8 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. 

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