2019 SIS Scholarship Recipients


 Experiential Learning Scholarship Winners



Hunter Litke, a sophomore with a concentration in International Studies, has been selected to receive the Experiential Learning Scholarship. Hunter completed a study abroad program in 2015 and now plans to take another study abroad trip in the upcoming semesters. In 2015 she traveled to Luxembourg and Germany. She was exposed to the different culture and lifestyle and was able to distinguish the differences between the U.S. and the two countries. Hunter has also been accepted into a Direct Enrollment Program with the FU-Best European Studies program in Berlin, Germany for the Spring 2019 and Fall 2019 semester. Through this experience, it will allow her to dive into several completely different cultures within one city as Berlin has undergone several changes since the 1900s. “I believe that through exploring the world, learning the unfamiliar customs and cultures of others, and allowing for an optimistic mind; you are able to learn more about the world, strengthening your connection to the earth and to humankind”.



Sarah Wheedleton, a senior Environmental and Sustainability major with a concentration in Conservation and Sustainability, has also been selected to receive the Experiential Learning Scholarship. She is a former “Gifted” student and is a current honors student. Sara has gone on a study abroad program to the Wildlife and Conservation in Kenya. This experience took her from Kenya’s capital of Nairobi to remote wildlife refuges on the Serengeti to get an in-depth look at wildlife management and conservation in one of the most wild and unique ecosystems on the planet. The Wildlife and Conservation in Kenya study abroad program was the perfect chance to encapsulate her academic, professional, and personal aspirations. Her exposure to the ecological and cultural diversity of Kenya made her a more well-rounded conservation professional, ready to return to the United States and the SIS community a powerful force for the change that this planet so desperately needs. “To truly become a productive citizen of the modern world, I believe that I must explore it even further. Only through the challenge of facing ideas, perspectives, and lifestyles that are vastly different from my own can I avoid plateauing in my own journey to self-actualization.”


Lucas Leadership Scholarship Winner



Katherine Russell, a junior Environmental and Sustainability major with a concentration in Conservation and Sustainability, has been selected to receive the Lucas Leadership Scholarship award. Katherine demonstrates leadership and ethics in all areas of her academic and personal life by striving to make a positive impact in the lives of others and a positive impact for the planet. One instance in which she demonstrated leadership in both academic and her personal life was through an internship with George Mason University's (GMU) greenhouse and gardens in fall 2017. She was able to use this internship for course credit to make real change on GMU's campus and in the Fairfax community by collaborating with a student organization, the Roosevelt Institute (a policy-oriented student think tank). A second instance where she demonstrated leadership was through a summer 2018 internship in Homer, Alaska through the student service group, the Student Conservation Association. For three months she interned at the headquarters for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge as a member of AmeriCorps with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Here, she did over 500 hours of public service educating hundreds of people of all ages about the flora and fauna of southcentral Alaska and the wildlife refuge they were visiting. “Moments like these inspire me to be a successful leader in the environmental realm in my future where I will utilize experiences from jobs and internships in my personal life as well as experiences at George Mason.”



First Generation Scholarship Winner


Diana Fernandez, a senior with a concentration in Liberal Arts for the Teaching Profession, has been selected to receive the First-Generation Scholarship. Diana is a passionate individual who long to give the voice of those neglected and marginalized. Her journey with integrative studies made her embrace her status and where she came from. It made her realize that personal narratives do have power and that they do in fact matter. She has encountered several professors in the Integrative Studies Department that share this belief and have inspired her to continue to be open and willing to hear other’s perspectives. These professors have pushed her to be transparent of her status and her identity but also warned her of the danger of believing one single story. Each professor enforced her not to carry implicit bias based off one narrative. Each narrative has a different perspective and outcome. In return, this acceptance will help her with her own students in the long run. As a first-generation student, she is aware of how fortunate she is to be able to acquire higher education. She plans to continue to strive for the absolute best for she has made promises to her parents that she will make it to the finish line.