Grants Open New Doors for Susquehanna Students

Stephen Maganzini with children in Belize.

Stephen Maganzini ’11, a biology major from Wolfeboro Falls, N.H., clearly recalls Eric, the 11-year-old boy he met in a Belize medical clinic who’d cut his ankle with a machete. “By the time he came to us that day, his ankle had swollen to the size of a grapefruit,” Maganzini says.

Maganzini traveled to Belize as part of the summer SU CASA (Susquehanna University Central America Service Adventure) program under the direction of April Borry-Black, administrative director of Susquehanna’s Health Center.

Black gave the injured boy a high dose of antibiotics to fight the infection and bandages to keep the wound clean. Despite the injury, “Eric never stopped smiling,” Maganzini says.

The experience is one Maganzini will never forget, and he’s not alone. This summer students made memories and earned valuable experiences in locations across the country and around the world thanks to three donor-sponsored grants. These grants — the Gundaker and Summers Enrichment Fund Grants and the Kemper Experiential Learning Fund — provided students with small income-replacement stipends or helped cover their transportation and other expenses. In total, more than $54,000 was given to 22 students this summer.

Six of the eight students who traveled to Belize did so with support from the Gundaker Enrichment Fund, established in 2004 by Robert G. Gundaker ’64, and his wife, Isabelle. That same year, James W. Summers ’64 and his wife, Barbara Evans ’65 Summers, established the Summers Enrichment Fund to act in conjunction with the Gundaker grant.

“I’ve seen the difference it makes for students,” says Black. “It energizes them for volunteer opportunities on campus. The contribution it makes toward their education is outstanding.”

The combined funds also enabled Alicia Wyler ’10, a music education major from Pottstown, Pa., to study music in Vienna this summer. “I returned to Susquehanna with many more friends and a greater understanding of music and the world,” says Wyler. A new grant from the Kemper Foundation was also used this summer to create the Kemper Experiential Learning Fund, a $20,000 fund that provided liberal arts majors with the opportunity to gain work experience in business or public service.

“Students learn by doing, and getting students off campus and into the workplace provides them with valuable insights, skill development, and professional and personal growth,” says Edmond Clarke, director of foundation and government relations.

The Kemper grant allowed Justin Chambers ’09, a communications major from Freedom, Pa., to intern at WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh this summer. Chambers says the experience was invaluable because “books can only teach me so much.”

“Actually seeing what needs to be done and doing it will give me a competitive edge after graduation,” he says.

Maganzini had a similar take on the internships and service-learning experiences supported by the grants. His SU CASA trip helped him realize that “learning truly does go beyond the classroom.”

“At Susquehanna, there are so many great opportunities to grow not only as a student but as an individual,” he says. “It’s the right place to receive a rounded education. This holistic approach creates an environment where success is inevitable.”


The contributing writer for People & Places is Julie Buckingham '09.

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