Three UArizona students named to receive study abroad scholarship awards in 2021.
The Allison Feldman Memorial Endowed Scholarship pays tribute to the most transformative experience of Allison’s life by providing access to study abroad opportunities for University of Arizona students.
February 2021 marks six years without Allison, and the third year of the scholarship fund. Three current University of Arizona students will be awarded $1000 scholarships for Study Abroad programs this year.
Allison Feldman had a successful career in medical sales, had just bought her first home and had a loving network of family and friends. But on February 18, 2015, at the age of 31, the University of Arizona graduate was found murdered in her Scottsdale home.
The Allison Feldman Memorial Endowed Scholarship for study abroad was established in 2018 by her parents and close friends to keep Allison's legacy alive. Shortly after the launch of the scholarship, police arrested the suspected perpetrator.
Allison was a junior majoring in Communication and minoring in Spanish when she studied in Alcalá de Henares, Spain in the spring semester of 2004. As friends and family have often shared, Allison's study abroad experience made a big impact. She came back a fluent Spanish speaker, more independent, and as her father, Harley Feldman put it, “she was no longer a young lady, but a confident woman.”
It is notable in 2021, in the context of the worldwide health, safety, and travel challenges that the global pandemic created, to understand that Allison studied abroad in Spain during another challenging time, and that the challenges she faced helped to shape her experience. It is perhaps particularly fitting this year to award this scholarship in Allison’s name, and to recognize the impact that study abroad can have in teaching cultural competency, bridging our differences, and building connections, even at the most difficult of times.
Today, as a tribute to the most transformative experience of Allison’s life, the Allison Feldman Memorial Endowed Scholarship continues her legacy by providing opportunities for students to participate in University of Arizona Study Abroad programs.
2021 Scholarship Recipients
This year we have selected three students who will receive $1000 each for University of Arizona Study Abroad programs.
- Isaiah Kaitschuck, a sophomore in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, majoring in Communications, is planning to attend the UA Barcelona program in Spain.
- Sofia Garcia, a senior in Eller College of Management, majoring in Finance, MIS, Spanish and Thematic, is attending the UA Barcelona program in Spain.
- Ivana De La Rosa, a senior majoring in Spanish (College of Humanities) and Neuroscience & Cognitive Science (College of Science), is planning to attend the UA Roma program in Italy.
Past Scholarship Recipients
The 2020 Allison Feldman Memorial Endowed Scholarship was awarded to Carolina Polk, a current senior from Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico, majoring in Marketing with a minor in Global Business in the Eller College of Management. Polk traveled to Italy for a junior year semester program in Rome.
She had saved money from two part-time jobs to be able to pursue her dream of studying abroad, and when travel restrictions hit mid-program, Polk said that, “having the money from the scholarship made it possible for me to not worry in those stressful moments when I had to book last-minute flights home due to the pandemic. I am so grateful to have had the financial support from the Allison Feldman Memorial Endowed Scholarship!”
While studying abroad in 2020 had its challenges, Polk said she felt she still had a full and complete experience. “I was in Europe and able to travel around for two months, which is as long as a summer program, so I don’t feel like I missed anything. And when I had to travel home, I completed my classes online for full credit!”
Polk said her goals for the experience were met through her classes and her daily interactions. Her Italian improved by being able to speak with and listen to locals as she explored the city visiting architectural and historical monuments. She gained a greater understanding of the country’s history and culture through a “Food and Wine” themed Italian class.
Interesting for Polk’s Global Business minor, she said, “was a Microeconomics class in which the professor compared Italian and U.S. economies and spoke about global partnerships and the balance of trade. An International Marketing class added to my understanding about what a future career in global marketing may look like.”
The first scholarship award recipient was Taylor Lepird, then a junior at the University of Arizona. In the Spring of 2019, Lepird participated in the IDEAS Guatemala program. Like Allison, she went with the hope of becoming conversational in a new language, and earning a minor in Spanish. She was also focused on gaining intercultural competence. Lepird graduated in 2020 with a major in English and Global Studies, and plans to pursue a career in human rights.
“I knew about Allison’s story before I learned that I received the scholarship, so I was very emotional when I found out,” said Lepird. “Obviously, the money was amazing – but it meant so much more than that. It was about honoring Allison. The fact that so many people donated to this fund shows the power of travel and the transformative experience it offers.”
Keeping Allison's Memory Alive
Monica Brown and Rob Stirling, who participated with Allison in the 2004 Spain Study Abroad program, are now leading the fundraising effort with help from Allison's parents, Harley and Elayne Feldman, and the University of Arizona Foundation.
“We were so close as a study abroad group,” shared Brown. "Ali was so bubbly and funny. She had that ability to make you feel welcome.” Stirling added, “like Ali, my family encouraged me to study abroad. I was nervous about being on my own, but it ended up being one of the best times of my life. Ali’s father describes it as the same for her.”
“We are such big believers in the study abroad experience, and we truly wish all kids had the opportunity to do it,” said Allison’s father, Harley. “Allison always put everyone first, so we want to share that spirit with others.”
Since the day the scholarship was established, Allison’s friends have been turning their loss into something positive through their support. You can help make a difference, too.
About UArizona Study Abroad
UArizona Study Abroad inspires students to make learning their own adventure. Through immersive academic programs, students work, research and study abroad to gain intercultural awareness. UArizona Study Abroad offers more than a hundred programs that span one week to one year across nearly 60 countries. With each experience, students learn to identify global problems, make connections with their career goals, and act as global citizens. For more information, please visit http://global.arizona.edu/study-abroad/.