Donor Support Expands Students' Worldviews

Summer is for new experiences

At the University of Arizona, some of the most rewarding learning experiences take students outside the classroom through internships, service or travel. Moving beyond the classroom helps students unearth deeper knowledge and explore how to make their own contributions  — how to give back and solve world problems. Grants and donor support make many of these opportunities possible.

Honors College Study Abroad Programs

Bryn Bowen is double majoring in law and political science, with a minor in environmental studies, but she also loves European art history. She was excited to travel to Italy thanks to a Garcia Family Foundation scholarship.

In addition to tuition assistance, Garcia scholars receive travel stipends for up to two international study abroad experiences, the first of which is timed between the student’s first and second year of college, so that students can develop together as a cohort with a global perspective. The scholarships are a partnership between the foundation, which focuses on supporting education and ending homelessness, and the University of Arizona Honors College.

In addition to trying new foods, such as savory, briny squid ink pasta and the Florentine favorite lampredotto, Bowen appreciated the sense of history that surrounded her throughout Italy. “So much is still standing from the Medieval and Renaissance eras,” she says. “It goes beyond just being beautiful — you can’t help but admire the technical skills and the architectural design.”

Regarding her study abroad experience, Bowen reflects, “It combines academic learning with the types of in-person experiences you wouldn’t get in a lecture. It inspired me to go abroad again and think about international education in my future.” In the meantime, in keeping with the Garcia family’s vision, Bowen has made lasting friendships with her study abroad cohort, who still meet up to make Italian dinners together.

Honors students have other study abroad opportunities thanks to funding from the Franke family, which focuses on leadership with a global lens, and the Stamps Scholars Program, which supports enrichment experiences for extraordinary students at partner schools including UArizona.

Cultural and Inclusive Learning

Beyond study abroad, the Cultural & Inclusive Experiential Learning Opportunities (CIELO) program under the Office of Diversity & Inclusion integrates travel, multicultural education and service learning to empower students with knowledge and skills as they develop new opportunities at UArizona and beyond.

One CIELO program, Feel Good Friday, engages students in volunteer work to learn about organizations in the Tucson area and to engage in positive social change and community building.

Another program offers alternative spring breaks in Hawai’i. That may sound cushy to some, but students in the program experience an intimate cross-cultural immersion to build social awareness and cultural understanding.

Summer Internship Stipends

In addition to service and volunteerism, internships are integral to the student experience. Statistics show that students who complete an internship are twice as likely to report full-time employment after graduation compared to students who don’t complete an internship.

At UArizona, Student Engagement and Career Development provides access to internships through initiatives like the Summer Internship Stipends. Eligible students can receive up to $2,500 to participate in summer career building experiences, including unpaid or underpaid internships, and a new grant from Strada Education Network will help amplify this effort.

Lyric Iyanna Reed, a psychology and political science major, put her fears aside when she headed to Washington, D.C., to intern for the Appellate Project, a nonprofit that empowers law students of color to excel in the appellate field.

Before the internship, Reed says, she stayed close to home, hesitant to intern in another state. The cost of taking on an internship also was a barrier, but the stipend covered her living costs for nearly two months. Today, “I encourage others to pursue their biggest aspirations and put themselves out there,” says Reed, who will graduate in May 2023.

“I am so grateful,” Reed continues, reflecting on her experience. “I gained confidence in myself and my intellectual abilities.” And she learned invaluable skills — collaboration, adaptability, organization — from her daily work and extra volunteer opportunities. She also learned about the legal field directly from lawyers and judges, she says. “I am certain it will aid in the achievement of future endeavors.”

For Jacob Sifuentes, a criminal justice major graduating in December, interning with Southern Arizona Legal Aid “was the best learning experience I have had so far.” With the support of a stipend, he says, he was able to focus on his internship and classes instead of worrying about how to pay for summer tuition.

Melissa Valenzuela, a government and public policy major who interned with the Santa Cruz County Justice Court, says, “My internship allowed me to come out of my comfort zone and build connections with professionals who became my mentors.”

KEYS Research Internship

The BIO5 Institute’s annual internship program has brought curious Arizona high school students to the University of Arizona campus since 2007. Its 576 alumni from across the state have made tangible contributions to science while preparing for a future in STEM.

In 2020 and 2021, KEYS moved to a virtual platform. This year, it will launch its first hybrid cohort. The dual track program will offer the training and skills development necessary for the interns to tackle real scientific inquiry for in-person lab research as well as online data science projects.

“KEYS was the start of a new me,” says Ivan Carrillo, who participated in KEYS first virtual program. “I know it sounds a little cliche, but I used to be the person who didn’t speak up during a debate or hid in the background.”

 Although his cohort was virtual, he says the adventure allowed him to discover his personality and confidence — “who I truly am,” as he puts it. Activities included a rigorous research presentation and virtual socials including sharing pets on Zoom.

“The entire experience enlightened me to the beauty of research, community and the University of Arizona. I found a new voice, and I am glad I finally met the real me.”

The success of the KEYS program relies on generous funding by UArizona alumni and donors. Alumni supporters including Tom Keating ’00, Sarah Smallhouse ’88 and the Thomas R. Brown Foundation, and Helen Wertheim have created endowments for KEYS that will allow the program to serve students into the future.

In 2022, Quidel Corp., a major provider of rapid diagnostic testing solutions, cellular-based virology assays and molecular diagnostic systems, committed $1 million for scholarships to support tomorrow’s scientists and health professionals.

Half of the scholarship fund will benefit the BIO5 Institute’s KEYS Research Internship program. The remainder will establish the Quidel Global Health Scholarships for students in the College of Medicine – Tucson, College of Medicine – Phoenix, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy, and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. The company also will make a $1 million investment in sponsored research projects.

Dorrance Scholars

Kyle Martin entered the University of Arizona as a STEM major, but — thanks to his experiences through the Dorrance Scholarship Program — his career path has completely changed.

“Originally, going into university, I saw myself pursuing a career path in medicine. However, I never really thought that was who I was, or whom I wanted to be,” Martin says. “DSP gave me the ability to explore different degree paths.”

The Dorrance Scholarship was established by Jacquie ’69 and Bennett Dorrance ’69 in 1999 and supports a cohort of 60 students per year across Arizona’s three public universities. Over the decades, the scholarship award has grown to include a summer bridge program, internship support, an innovation program and a semester-long study abroad experience.

“During our DSP Summer Humanities Program, I fell in love with the classics, not even knowing this was a possible degree path,” Martin says. Now, Martin is double-majoring in classics and psychology with a minor in English, and he plans to pursue a career in higher education.

“Without these opportunities and support given by Dorrance, I would not be in the place I am today, personally or academically,” he says.

Martin is abroad in Italy as part of DSP and describes it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience that has made him want to never stop traveling.

“Being able to experience different peoples and cultures changes who you are as a person as well as the way you think,” Martin explains. “It makes you more open-minded, ultimately making you a better person — one who is globally aware.”

“This is not just a scholarship, but a program and a family,” he says. “From the professional development of the DSP programs to the people I have met, this is one of the most life-changing experiences I have ever received.”