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Unstoppable scholars

Students and donors recognized at President’s Scholarship Luncheon.

February 27, 2018

On February 21, Mount Saint Mary’s hosted current scholarship recipients and donors for the University’s annual President’s Scholarship Luncheon. This year’s global theme highlighted how scholarship support from donors makes it possible for Mount students to graduate as globally educated, culturally fluent leaders equipped to understand, and positively change, the world around them.

Scholars and donors mingling at the President's Scholarship Luncheon.
Scholars and donors mingling at the President's Scholarship Luncheon.

During lunch, students had the chance to meet their scholarship donors, and exchange stories about their passions and career interests. Members of the Na Pua O Ka ‘Aina Hawaiian club performed one of their dances. And the University also honored a student and donor for their contributions to the Mount community.

"Unstoppable Scholar" awardee Alexandra Perez ’18 with donor Stephen Page.

Alexandra Perez ’18 was named the year’s “Unstoppable Scholar.” In her thank-you speech, she began this way: “My name is Alexandra Perez. I am senior, majoring in social work, and I stand before you today as a testament to the bravery of my parents, who left their lives in Mexico in pursuit of the American Dream and a brighter future for their daughters.”

She added that her ability to attend the Mount is due in part to her Michael and Carol Enright Endowed Scholarship. In her four years here, Perez said she became involved in a number of student organizations, including her service this year as president of Latinas Unidas and as public relations chair for the Sociology and Gerontology Association. “Through my time here, I began to see myself as something I never believed I had the strength to be,” Perez said. “As a leader. The Mount allowed me to develop friendships with strong women leaders who not only inspired me but also believed in me and encouraged me to do more.”

In 2017, she had the chance to travel to South Africa thanks to support from the Judy Kelly Page Global Fund. The experience reaffirmed her passion to help people who face injustices, and have motivated Perez to pursue policy and advocacy in order to make a difference. Her goal is to earn a master’s degree in social work and work with nonprofits to address issues affecting children.

President Ann McElaney-Johnson with
President Ann McElaney-Johnson with "Unstoppable Supporters" Katherine and Jeff Whitman.

Katherine and Jeff Whitman know all about the powerful, life-changing experiences that people can have when they travel beyond what they know. That’s why the couple created the Whitman Fund for Global Studies — so that more students can gain a global perspective to complement their on-campus studies. At the luncheon, the Whitmans were honored as Mount Saint Mary’s 2018 “Unstoppable Supporters.”

An alumna and a longtime associate professor of economics and international business at the University, Katherine Whitman — often in tandem with Jeff — has led more than 40 trips abroad with Mount Saint Mary’s students. In fact, two weeks from now, they will be with students and other faculty on a trip in Mexico City.

At the scholarship luncheon, they shared one of their favorite quotes, a proverb they live by: “The world is a book. Those who do not travel only read one page.”

Michella Mousaed '18 shares about her study abroad experience at the President's Scholarship Luncheon.
Michella Mousaed '18 shares about her study abroad experience at the President's Scholarship Luncheon.

Michella Mousaed ’18, recipient of the Suzannah and Marshall Sale Expendable Scholarship, served as the luncheon’s final speaker. She, too, shared about the value of her global experiences made possible through the Mount.

Mousaed spent a semester studying at a partner university in Barcelona, Spain, thanks to support from the Judy Kelly Page Global Fund. The time abroad not only broadened her perspective; it also led to new career aspirations in technology, as well as numerous opportunities upon her return home. Last year, Mousaed served as the Study in Spain ambassador the Spanish Embassy in Miami. This year, she is an alumni ambassador for the American Institute of Foreign Study — a position that will allow her to travel more after she graduates in May.

“Overseas, I learned new words in other languages, challenged my taste buds, and bonded with my international and American friends,” Mousaed said. “Best of all, exploring new places made me realize that every day is an adventure waiting to happen, and taking the new route to places may alter one’s life completely.”