Six high school graduates from Rhode Island will enter Roger Williams University this fall with Feinstein Leadership Scholarships, following in the footsteps of a recent RWU graduate who helped others by working in soup kitchens and rebuilding homes.
The six students – who come from Bristol, Central Falls, Cumberland, East Providence and Portsmouth – are Feinstein Junior Scholars, student leaders who pledge to do good deeds while in elementary and/or middle school.
Earlier this year, Rhode Island philanthropist Alan Shawn Feinstein committed $500,000 to help fund scholarships for more Feinstein Junior Scholars to attend RWU. The Feinstein Foundation is providing $50,000 per year for 10 successive years to help send those students to Roger Williams.
That generous gift built on Feinstein’s significant past contributions to RWU, including a previous gift to the Feinstein Leadership Scholarship Fund, which supported 11 RWU students during the 2016-2017 academic year.
This year, RWU will rename its day of service for all incoming freshman as Feinstein Community Connections Day. That event, set for Aug. 28, will recognize the multi-layered partnership that the University has built with the Feinstein Foundation over several decades.
“Our mission at RWU is ‘to strengthen society,’ and Mr. Feinstein’s most recent gift allows us to support an additional group of students with a demonstrated commitment to the public good,” RWU President Donald J. Farish said. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to expand our relationship with Mr. Feinstein and his philanthropic commitment to the people of Rhode Island.”
One Feinstein scholarship recipient, Hannah Augustyn, just graduated from RWU with a degree in architecture plus a double minor in construction management and art & architectural history.
Augustyn, who went to East Providence High School, became a Feinstein Junior Scholar in elementary school. Her pledge to do good deeds brought her to Philadelphia to serve hot meals in soup kitchens and to Colorado to rebuild a public playground. At RWU, she discovered the many service opportunities available to students, once foregoing a spring break vacation to join RWU Habitat for Humanity in rehabilitating a disadvantaged family’s home in West Virginia. Her commitment to community will continue in her new job in construction management at Shawmut Construction, where she’ll take part in regularly held employee service days in local communities. And as a woman working in a male-dominated field, she’ll inspire the young female generation to keep cracking the glass ceiling.
The six Feinstein Leadership Scholars following in Augustyn’s footsteps are:
- Maia Costa, of Bristol, who graduated from Mount Hope High School and became a Feinstein Junior Scholar at Colt Andrews Elementary School. She plans to study engineering at RWU. “From a young age, I have been taught that giving back to the community when possible is an important aspect of life,” she wrote in her scholarship essay. “I have chosen to instill this mindset in my life thus far by giving back to the community frequently and effectively.”
- Karissa Piros, of East Providence, who graduated from East Providence High School and was a Feinstein Junior Scholar at Waddington Elementary School and Riverside Middle School. She plans to study architecture at RWU. “During the past two years, I have had the opportunity to take care of an autistic boy,” she wrote. “Also, volunteering for the Special Olympics was a highlight…I enjoy giving back and will continue to do so.”
- Stephanie Aldana, of Central Falls, graduated from Central Falls High School and became a Feinstein Junior Scholar at the Alan Shawn Feinstein School. She plans to study biology. “My community service started when I was very young, seeing my mom give food to local kids in the summer and clothes to shelters in the winter,” she wrote. “I have taught science through a program called the Need Project at Calcutt Middle School…I later mentored and coached a youth track team called F.A.S.T. Track.”
- Haylee Pacheco, of Bristol, graduated from Mount Hope High School and became a Feinstein Junior Scholar at Colt Andrews Elementary School. She plans to study marketing at RWU. “When I became a (soccer) referee at 13, I realized that the reason why I fell in love with becoming a referee is because I wanted to give back,” she wrote. “I wanted to give back to the game that had given so much to me over the years. I wanted to give the coaches who volunteer their time a fair and honest game.”
- Jocelyn Nogueira, of Portsmouth, graduated from Portsmouth High School and was a Feinstein Junior Scholar at Elmhurst Elementary School and Portsmouth Middle School. She plans to study marketing at RWU. “I first volunteered at a soup kitchen at the Salvation Army near my home in 2016,” she wrote. “It was gratifying to know that I was helping a famished person have a wholesome home-cooked meal. As Mr. Feinstein stated, ‘Helping to better the lives of others is the greatest of all achievements.’ ”
- Brianna Valcourt, of Cumberland, graduated from Cumberland High School and became a Feinstein Junior Scholar at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Academy. She plans to study architecture. “It has always been instilled in me to reach out to help others and teach others the importance of caring,” she wrote. “Caring for others consists of compassion and brotherhood.”
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