Connecting cultures through higher education

Mount Holyoke College student Ana Maria Stan ’24 has been selected by Middlebury College as a recipient of the “Projects for Peace” grant program. Stan will work alongside Romanian educational non-profit Volo Studere to assist Ukrainian refugees.

Middlebury College has announced the recipients of the 2024 Projects for Peace, and Ana Maria Stan ’24 has been named one of those receiving funding for their work. Stan will be partnering with Volo Studere, a Romanian educational nonprofit that assists underprivileged students in accessing top universities worldwide. Her project is rightly named “Connecting cultures through Higher Education.”

Stan’s project aims to broaden educational opportunities for Ukrainian refugees in Romania. This will be done through a nine-week program that includes online workshops on topics ranging from résumé building to narrative writing, training for potential language exams and exploration of various universities. The online aspect will allow for a larger group of students from all walks of life.

“My goal is for around forty or fifty students to apply.” Stan said “For my project I want to have an online part and an in-person reunion. With the online portion, we can get students coming in from other parts of Romania and it will be easier. So, I expect more than fifty students online.”

The project will culminate with a two-day intensive in-person training session in Bucharest that’s designed to deeply review the covered materials and specifically prepare students for higher education in national and international contexts. Students of the project will have meals and transportation covered, as well as some housing and laptops for those who need them.

Associate Director of Fellowships Briana Chace ’17 says that Stan’s project represents so much of what Mount Holyoke stands for.

“Ana’s work this summer will be so impactful and exemplifies the bold leadership and global citizenship we strive for in a Mount Holyoke education,” she said. “I cannot wait to bear witness to the important endeavor she will embark upon this summer, and I am so proud of Ana and the work she did to get to this moment.”

At the culmination of the project, Stan has several measures of success for those involved. From the short term of ensuring the participants feel like they got something out of the project and seeing who applied to various colleges to the long term of seeing the effects the students have on society.

Projects for Peace is a global program that partners with educational institutions to identify and support young peacebuilders. Each year, more than one million dollars is given to one hundred and twenty-five student leaders who are developing innovative, community-centered and scalable responses to some of the world’s most pressing issues. More than two thousand projects have been funded since the beginning of this program in 2007.

You can follow Stan’s progress by following Volo Studere on Instagram.

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