Thursday, April 30, 2015

Phil’s Day 2015 is a day to celebrate philanthropy and the impact it has on the University of Iowa. These are just a few of the many UI students who were able to study or conduct research abroad in the past year, gaining invaluable experiences and memories that enhanced their education and lives, thanks to the generosity of private donors. Read on to learn about their unique adventures and projects.


Mikkia Graves

"This trip gave me the encouragement I needed to keep pressing forward in my academic career. At times it's been difficult being a minority at a predominantly white institution where every day I’m the only black student in a classroom. And because of the major I’ve chosen, there have been times when I am also the only female. Being exposed to the Afro-Cuban culture and learning that many of the struggles blacks face in America are not unique, but are shared with my brothers and sisters in Cuba was life-changing." -Mikkia Graves

Mikkia Graves is a UI undergraduate from Chicago, IL, majoring in mathematics with a minor in statistics and a certificate in entrepreneurial management. This winter, Graves received a UI Diversity Ambassador Scholarship to study abroad in Havana, Cuba. In an open letter to students, Mikkia reflects on her study abroad experiences in both Cuba and India as a first-generation college student and an African American woman. 


Jade Manternach

Jade Manternach is a first-generation undergraduate student at the UI majoring in entrepreneurial management at the Tippie College of Business. Jade was determined to study abroad when she came to the University of Iowa, but being solely responsible for paying for her college education, she was nervous about the financial barriers. Jade applied to every scholarship she could and through these University of Iowa scholarships she was able to fund nearly 60% of her study abroad experience to Beijing and Shanghai where she studied entrepreneurship, business law, and foreign relations last summer. 


Eli Asikin-Garmager

"While I'd set out from Iowa motivated at least in part by collecting language data used to address theoretical issues in my field, I'd inadvertently tapped into something very powerful that afternoon, which is the intersection of language, culture and identity. The research trips that the Stanley-University of Iowa Support Organization funds through International Programs provide invaluable international experience to students, and in my case, fieldwork training that I could simply not have gotten here at home." -Eli Asikin-Garmager

Eli Asikin-Garmager is a PhD candidate student in linguistics at the UI. Thanks to a Stanley Graduate Award for International Research, Eli spent last summer living in a village in Indonesia researching sentence structure in the Kutó-Kuté dialect of the Sasak Language which is spoken by some 2.5 million people, but of which relatively little documentation exists. With the help of his host family’s connections to a storyteller, he produced a trilingual written record of the local folktale, ‘Cilinaya’ to be distributed free of charge to elementary schools, allowing children to learn the local dialect. 

Quinn Hejlik is a UI undergraduate from Omaha, NE, majoring in history and international studies. He received the Presidential Scholarship for Study Abroad through UI Study Abroad to study for a semester in Prague, Czech Republic. Quinn has studied Czech, Russian, and Spanish at the University of Iowa and was recently awarded a 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. student grant to teach English in Russia. 

Kelsey Frisk

Kelsey Frisk

"I’m very fortunate to have received the Stanley Grant, as it has allowed me to witness and be a part of what very few people have knowledge of, or get a chance to take part in. The Sámi’s connection to their reindeer, land, and family is inspirational, and only reiterates to me that even though we come from different backgrounds we still have the same worries, issues, and desires, though we may lead slightly different lifestyles." -Kelsey Frisk

Kelsey Frisk is a UI undergraduate from Magnolia, IA, majoring in interdepartmental studies with an emphasis in global health science. Kelsey's adventures in Sweden last year started with studying abroad and ended with researching reindeer herding communities courtesy of a Stanley Undergraduate Award for International Research. 


Allison Kindig

Allison Kindig is a senior from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, studying industrial engineering, global health studies and business administration at the University of Iowa. Two years ago, she was the recipient of a Stanley Undergraduate Award for International Research to travel to Cameroon. Since then, she addressed economical solar energy as a UI College of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholar. Additionally, she holds a title as the Iowa Trihawks Triathlon Club run captain and bike team co-captain and is building her own triathlon bike as part of the student-designed course she created called Bike Building and Business. This fall, Kindig was named the 2014 Iowa Homecoming Queen. Watch a video about Allison's experiences.