Six educational equity scholarships established at the College of IST

October 05, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Six educational equity scholarships have recently been established to benefit students in the College of Information Sciences and Technology. Matched 1:1 by the University’s recently concluded Educational Equity Matching Program, the scholarship funds will support the financial needs of students whose gender, race, ethnic, cultural, and/or national background contribute to the diversity of the college and the Penn State community. The total impact of the gifts is $755,000.

“This support enhances the learning environment for everybody involved,” said Jason Gines, assistant dean of inclusion and diversity engagement at the College of IST. “It’s not just a benefit for the individual who is receiving funds to attend college; it also broadens and raises the opportunity for everyone to hear from different and diverse perspectives and to understand that there are broader ways to approach issues and problems.”

He added, “Ultimately, it gives us all a grander sense of our educational experience.”

The newly endowed scholarships include the:

  • Andrew and Beth Sears Educational Equity Scholarship in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, established by Andrew Sears, dean of the College of IST, and his wife, Beth.
  • Balog Family Educational Equity Scholarship in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, established by IST Dean’s Advisory Board member Doug Balog, who earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Penn State in 1983, and his family.
  • Catalano Family Educational Equity Scholarship in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, established by Ann Catalano, who earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Penn State in 1983, and her husband, John.
  • Murchison Family Educational Equity Scholarship in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, established by IST Dean’s Advisory Board member Rod Murchison, who earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Penn State in 1991, and his family.
  • Nick and Melinda Berardi Educational Equity Scholarship in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, established by 2003 IST alumnus Nick Berardi and his wife, Melinda.
  • Steve and Rita Pace Educational Equity Scholarship in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, established by IST Dean’s Advisory Board member Steve Pace, who earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Penn State in 1982, and his wife, Rita.

“We have observed the confidence of the matriculating students as they complete each year and recognize the marketable value of an IST degree,” said Pace. “We are grateful that we can contribute to the underrepresented students as they, in turn, will enrich the college with their thoughts and ideas.”

In addition to contributing to a more diverse, equitable and inclusive Penn State, the scholarships will help to advance diversity in the workforce.

“I’ve seen first-hand the urgent need companies have for critical IT skills around cybersecurity, data analytics, machine learning and AI, to name a few, which nicely align with the College of IST,” said Balog. “Additionally, companies need diversity in experiences, thoughts and perspectives to engage in these important IT topics and their debates by developing a richer set of underrepresented women and men to fully participate and bring their unique insights.”

He added, “Educational grants, along with corporate and university matching programs, provide a wonderful tool for bringing all these resources together in attracting and retaining this next generation of diverse talent.”   

To make a gift to scholarships supporting diversity, equity and inclusion at the College of IST, visit ist.psu.edu/alumni-donors/give or contact Mike Weyandt, director of development, at 814-863-0215 or mjw134@psu.edu.

These gifts will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hard-working students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

Last Updated October 06, 2020