NORTON, Mass. - Several Wheaton College student-athletes have earned fellowships this summer through the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services that will enrich their academic experiences.
The Davis International and Porter Cleveland fellowships are just a few examples of the Wheaton Edge – a promise that every single student will receive financial support for an internship, research position or other experiential learning opportunity by the time they graduate.
Throughout the summer, the athletics department will feature the student-athletes taking part in these fellowships, including a runner on the women's track & field team Gina Pardi '20.
A neuroscience major, Pardi, will intern with the Kenya Scholar-Athlete Project in Lisbon, Portugal.
Wheaton Athletics: Tell me a little bit about your fellowship.
Gina Pardi: I am volunteering as an instructor with the Kenya Scholar-Athlete Project in Thika, Kenya. The Kenya Scholar-Athlete Project, or KenSAP, helps financially needy, academically gifted Kenyan high school graduates gain admission to prestigious universities in the United States. As an instructor, I will help select the students that will be admitted into KenSAP. Once the group of students is selected, I will teach them and help them prepare to take the SATs in the fall, and help them become more acclimated to college life in America. I will also be helping the students become better at running by training with them.
WA: What interested you in the fellowship?
GP: I learned about KenSAP last fall, and I was immediately interested because the program has helped so many Kenyan students receive higher education, and it has afforded them so many incredible opportunities that they would not receive in Kenya. For the past 12 years, KenSAP has had a 100% success rate in placing Kenyan students at universities in the U.S. Additionally, Kenya is also considered the mecca of distance running, and as a long-distance runner, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit.
WA: What experiences are you hoping to gain from your fellowship?
GP: I hope to gain some valuable teaching experience, and consequently become a better leader and a more confident, capable person. I also hope that after this experience, I will be better at overcoming obstacles, such as cultural and language barriers, and working closely with others.
WA: What are your career aspirations and how will this help you achieve them?
GP: I am currently aspiring to become a physician's assistant. Being a healthcare provider, such as a physician's assistant, requires being an effective communicator and having the ability to interact with people from varying backgrounds. This experience will help me become better at both.
WA: How will this experience make you a better leader at Wheaton and on your team?
GP: After my experience in Kenya, I will become more confident in my leadership abilities, and I will be better at communicating with and relating to others. Both qualities will come in handy when interacting with others on my team and on the Wheaton campus.
WA: Finally, why do you think these opportunities are beneficial to Wheaton students?
GP: Through Wheaton's various summer stipends, students are able to explore and develop their passions and interests without financial constraint. These types of opportunities help Wheaton students become more experienced, well-rounded people and also help them better prepare for post-graduate life. There is only so much learning that can be done inside a classroom, and these opportunities permit students to gain real-world knowledge and experience that they can bring back to Wheaton.